Senscot Bulletin: 09.09.11

Dear members and friends,

My dad has started visiting my dreams again, so I`ve been sifting through old papers; I note that this month marks 100 years since he was born – 29th September 1911 – in the remote village of Picinisco – high in the Abruzzi Mountains between Roma and Napoli.  When our family migrated to Edinburgh, ‘Tony’ was just 10; there’s a scene in Godfather 2 (young Vito quarantined on Ellis Island with no English) which I find particularly poignant.  In September 1937, he married Giovanna (Jannie) Di Ciacca; my sister was born 1938 – myself in 1940.  That year he was interned in Canada as an ‘enemy alien’ – but was released before the war ended because his wife was very ill.  Jannie died of TB in 1945. When he was carted off they had been married less than 3 years.
 My dad ran a successful fish restaurant – hard work but he provided well for us.  He also gave me a love of golf, of Hibs and most enduringly, of books.  When he was 50, he sold up and returned to Picinisco, where he married a local woman; thereafter we saw much less of each other.  His health deteriorated (strokes) but he enjoyed being back in what he called ‘the valley of my fathers’.  He died there on 29th December 1990 in his 80th year; I went over to see him interred in the cemetery across the road from the house where he was born.  Looking back, I can better appreciate my dad’s many qualities – intelligence, generosity, humour and, I believe, courage.  If I could do it all again, I’d try harder to get closer to him – but sadly, we only get one chance at this life. 

In England, the debate about what should be considered a social enterprise is drifting away from front line practitioners; I sense the initiative passing to politicians and bankers.  The English govt – in its rush to shrink the state – favours a vague generic understanding of social enterprise.  Bankers, like Ronald Cohen, are trying to invent profit making mechanisms to attract private capital.  Neither can really comprehend a world not driven by private wealth.  It may even be too late in England, but in Scotland our sector still controls this discussion – but for how long.  Here are two sides of the argument for a clear definition of social enterprise.  See,

I’m a great fan of the Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) annual conference – a sell out this year at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld.  It’s the high proportion of front line practioners that does it for me – all the different stories give me a lift.  Here’s a list of the Trusts which attended – it’s growing all the time,

One of the speakers at the DTA event was Peter Holbrook – formerly CEO of Sunlight – one of the most impressive Development Trusts in the UK.  Peter now leads the English Social Enterprise Coalition (recent name change to SE UK) – and announced that next year Voice (the English sector’s annual jamboree) will be joining forces with our own S2S to run a joint event – `Social Enterprise 2012` – to be held at the SECC in Glasgow in March 2012.  I have mixed views about this.  Both in price and style, Voice panders too much to the private sector for my liking.  There is also the danger that Scottishness gets submerged.  We have our own very different regime for social enterprise; it is devolved and sophisticated.  English ministerial announcements have little relevance.

The Govan Folk University (GFU) is an ad hoc partnership of the Centre for Human Ecology, Fablevision, The Galgael Trust, Govan and Linthouse Parish Churches and The Pearce Institute.  This is a mighty impressive coalition which includes several renowned Scottish social entrepreneurs and visionaries; we’ll watch with interest its progress.  From 21-23 October, the GFU partnership is mounting an international conference inspired by the work of the late Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky.  The event is called Kandinsky in Govan; art, spirituality and the future.  Harry Burns is a keynote speaker.

You may be aware that the regulation of social housing in Scotland will in future be directed by an independent board – which had now released a consultation document on its thinking.  They propose to allow the board members of registered social landlords (RSLs) to be paid – but that they should be compulsorily retired after 6 years (exceptionally 9).  I believe that these proposals should be strenuously resisted by Community Owned Housing Associations – because they would undermine the authority of voluntary local people and further the professionalisation of one of the most effective grass roots movements Scotland has known. Made in Glasgow – from girders!

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Nourish Scotland; Cupar Old Parish Church; Edinburgh Young Carers Project; Life Link; Refugee Survival Trust; Cumnock & Doon Valley Credit Union; Broxburn United Sports Club (BUSC)
EVENTS: Oral Histories, 8 Sep; Moray SEN Annual Conference 9 Sep; Free Ayrshire Sustainable Food event including Local Lunch 9 Sep; Glasgow in the Making: Women’s West End Walk and Talk, 16 Sep;
TENDERS: Tree and Woodland Contract; The Provision of Catering Services for Jewel and Esk College; Scoping of education and training for bereavement care; Environmental improvement works; Energy Efficiency Works

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: On Wednesday, we attended CEiS`s annual Social Enterprise Conference in Glasgow. Over 200 delegates attended – including a good number of SEN members – to hear discussions/ presentations on a number of the challenges and opportunities for our social enterprise community in Scotland. The event kicked off with the launch of the Social Enterprise Strategy for Greater Glasgow produced by Glasgow SEN. One of its goals is to establish Glasgow as the City Of Social Enterprise as well as outlining actions that will build a vibrant and sustainable local social enterprise movement. To download the Strategy in full, see
For more Networks News, see

Senscot`s seminar on 30th September is full up and a standby list is in operation (email  The link will take you to the register of confirmed attendees – please let us know if you are unable to use your place so we can re-allocate it.  See, . Following the seminar, Senscot will be holding its AGM from 3-4pm in the same location. Our accounts for 2010/11 are now available on the website

The 7th Social Enterprise Ceilidh will be held at New Lanark on 17th/18th November 2011. Bookings are now open. We’ve had a number of recent enquiries and have decided to take bookings earlier than usual. We will have the draft (and refreshed) programme ready in the week or two. A significant change from previous years is that we will be charging £30pp for SEN members (£150pp for Intermediaries/Agencies etc) – includes evening meal and B&B. To book your place, see

I’m excited by the idea of crowdfunding – wouldn`t it be marvellous if it works – donating directly online to the ventures we want to support. Checkout the website of SoLoCo, a new Scottish social enterprise; the UK`s first crowdfunding website for the third sector. Very impressive. I’m going to the launch on 19th Sept – to wish them luck.

A reminder to all those planning to apply to the Growth Fund. Initial Enquiry Forms were available from last Friday and, from last Tuesday (5th Sept), you were be able to submit your completed Initial Enquiry Forms. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on 19th Sept. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Tayport that held its official opening last week. The Harbour Café, run by DTA Scotland member the Tayport Community Trust, opened its doors in March of this year and employs two people full time as well as being supported by an army of volunteers. In addition to serving food, the Café is also available as a community space and will double up as a small art gallery. See,

Margo by Raymond Carver.

“His name was Tug.  Hers, Margo.  Until people, seeing what was happening began calling her Cargo.  Tug and Cargo.  He had drive, they said.  Lots of hair on his face and arms.  A big guy.  Commanding voice.  She was more laid-back.  A blond.  Dreamy.  (Sweet and dreamy).  She broke loose, finally.  Sailed away under her own power.  Went to places pictured in books, and some not in any book, or even on the map.  Places she, being a girl, and cargo, never dreamed of getting to.  Not on her own, anyway.

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail

Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210