Senscot Bulletin: 09.08.19

Dear members and friends,

My front room has shelving for around 1000 books – but I acquire books too casually – resulting in periodic clear-outs. Last weekend, I handled all of 1200 books – recycled 200 – the four boxes of discards reflecting my shifting interests. Neuroscientists say that we are conscious of only about five percent of our cognitive activity – most decisions, then, are dependent on brain activity we are unaware of. I long ago decided that my ‘unconscious’ has a better grasp of my inner workings than I have. I defer to it as my ‘knowing’ self – and I’m very comfortable when it seems to be calling the shots – as with snap decisions about 200 books. Interesting though, that this clear-out purged all my travel books.

This implicit decision, that my travel days are done – I don’t consider a ‘diminishment’; old age, naturally draws me closer to the philosophy of the Tao: ‘where daily you get smaller and smaller, till you arrive at not doing’. Travel has become physically taxing; airports and flights feel ‘abusive’; it’s something I no longer need. I explain this decision to a good friend, who knows me well – but she disagrees; reminds me that I always return from trips ‘energised’ – with fresh ideas; do I really want to lose this. Her words cause me to wonder if I’ve settled too easily for the ‘knacker’s yard’; I’ve even asked my wise, ‘knowing’ self to ‘review; this decision – but I’m not hopeful. Anyway, the books are all away.


I don’t know anyone who believes Boris Johnson will negotiate a deal to leave the EU in an orderly fashion; the indications are that he has no such intention – but is preparing for a general election. Although a ‘crash out’ is too high a price to pay for anything – a general election will at last empower UK citizens to determine our country’s future. In this article, Yanis Varoufakis sets out his version of the two unequivocal alternatives presented by Johnson and Corbyn. For some, it may come down to a choice between being an influential part of Europe – or becoming a vassal state of a Trumpian United States.



It emerged this week that we are paying over £1m a month to some private consortium for the new Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh – which is unsafe to occupy! I get really discouraged about the calibre of our politicians and public officials who let large contracts. There’s a backlog of replacement ferries required for the ageing CalMac fleet; Scotland has famous shipyards and engineers, but judging by the failing contract at Fergusons, no one seems able to join up the dots. Same with wind turbines and Bi Fab etc etc. What’s the SNP’s take on the respective roles of the state and private business? The BBC’s Douglas Fraser discusses.



From something that Scotland fluffs regularly (major capital contracts) to an exceptional achievement – successfully tackling knife crime. Trying to explain the success of our Violence Reduction Unit is like putting a jigsaw together – you don’t get the big picture till all the pieces are in place. This longer article from the Sunday Times Mag – includes enough of the key pieces to convey the essence.



Although it’s too high a price to pay for anything – the latest multiple shootings in the USA have drawn attention to Trump’s racist rhetoric – his disgraceful alignment with white supremacists. Through social media, readers, this week, persuaded the New York Times to make its headline more critical of Trump. Will the very violence he incites, turn public opinion against this sinister President?



Some hard words from Gerry Hassan about the SNP’s 12-year governance of Scotland; bits are overstated; the style sometimes unnecessarily provocative; but much of it needs saying.



The great Toni Morrison, who chronicled the African/American experience in fiction, died on Monday aged 88. Her novel, Beloved, about a 19th century slave who kills her own baby, is an ‘impossible’ achievement.


“White people believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood. In a way, he thought, they were right. . . But it wasn’t the jungle blacks brought with them to this place from the other (livable) place. It was the jungle white folks planted in them. And it grew. It spread. In, through and after life, it spread, until it invaded the whites who had made it. Touched them every one. Changed and altered them. Made them bloody, silly, worse than even they wanted to be, so scared were they of the jungle they had made. The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin; the red gums were their own.”

While drug legislation remains reserved to Westminster, Scotland’s ability to adopt a more ‘radical’ approach to tackling substance abuse remains hamstrung. We do have the power, however, to influence the way in which vital public health services are delivered in Scotland’s communities. Read our blog – citing the work of SEN members CFINE, Crisis Counselling, Street Fit Scotland and Thriving Survivors – that demonstrates how widening access to local public health services to social enterprises, can significantly help reduce the harm substance abuse inflicts on our communities. To further highlight the work of SEN members in this area, we invite any SEN members whose activities are related to substance abuse to get in touch. To do so, contact

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.

Following last week’s story on Social Enterprise Week in Glasgow (2nd – 8th Sept), news of another important event that same week with the launch of Glasgow’s SE Strategy Action Plan on Friday 6th Sept – see link for details. The event will take the form of an SE Summit – and will provide an opportunity for local social enterprises, and other key contributors, to network, influence and contribute to the work of the SE Board in delivering the Strategy and Action Plan for Glasgow. All welcome. Other important events taking place the same week include, CEIS’ annual SE Policy and Practice Conference (4th Sept); and the 5th John Pearce Memorial Lecture at Glasgow Caley (3rd Sept). Again – see links for further details.



DTA Scotland (DTAS) has its annual Conference coming up om 1st-2nd Sept 2019. See full conference details. The Conference also marks the end of Wendy Reid’s time at DTAS. Wendy has been DTAS stalwart from its very early days, back in 2003. Although she’ll be a huge loss, the good news is that Wendy will remain part of the development trust movement – taking up the post of Development Manager on the community-owned island of Ulva. We wish Wendy the very best of luck in her new adventure.



Frontline News: SEN members preparing an application for Big Issue Invest’s Power Up Programme can take advantage of an information session on 15 August, where you’ll have the opportunity to introduce yourself to the programme’s panel of judges. Great to see Culture SEN member Heavy Sound CIC getting some recognition for an initiative which has seen an old First Bus coach transformed into a mobile community centre! Read BBC’s feature here. Also, check out the shortlist for the 2019 Scottish SE Awards –good to see a number of SEN members prominent among this year’s finalists. Winners announced 12th Nov.



Reminder: Community Enterprise is hosting an event in Edinburgh on 26th August to debate and review the concept of their SE Map – which charts Scotland’s social enterprise support eco-system. The event is free to attend. See full details and booking form.


This week’s bulletin provides our 900th ‘profile’ – highlighting a social enterprise, based in Clydebank, that provides affordable mobility equipment as well as a repair and maintenance service. Recycle Mobility Centre (RMC) aims to help individuals with mobility issues to carry out day-to-day activities, getting access to their local community – resulting in reducing isolation and loneliness. RMC began trading in 2014 and provides its service mainly across central Scotland – but also to other parts of the country and elsewhere in the UK. A long-term goal for RMC is to provide jobs, volunteering opportunities and training to those furthest from the job market. RMC is a member of the Community Re-Use Network Scotland (CRNS) and was the recipient of CRNS’ Innovation Award in 2016.