Dear members and friends,
Somewhere on my spine, a nerve is being compressed (painfully); to locate the problem, they did a MRI scan on Monday, which I had been dreading. There’s no physical pain involved – but for half an hour you’re enclosed in a narrow, coffin-like tube – bombarded by loud hammering noises. Without a ‘calmative’ I’d have lost my nerve. In the waiting area, I find myself near a big, cheery woman with crutches telling the friend who chummed her how lucky we are for the NHS – how the cost of a scan would be beyond her means. She is full of appreciation – I feel only dread. I recall the old maxim. "Two folk look through prison bars – one sees mud, and one sees stars."
I get to wondering, again, what it is that shapes our different views of the world. Some of it will be genetic – but the latest brain science emphasises the impact of our earliest experiences – the first weeks and months of life. That if an infant’s needs for comfort and security are met – it develops a positive expectation of good things. But a neglected infant will develop negative expectations. It sounds obvious. This ingrained optimism is captured in Czeslaw Milosz’s lovely poem, A Mistake, about a paralysed man, full of the wonder of life: "…… a paraplegic in my street whom they move – together with his chair – from shade into sunlight, sunlight into shade – looks at a cat, a leaf, the steel chrome of a car – and mumbles to himself ‘beau temps, beau temps’. It’s true – we have a beautiful time – as long as time is time at all". https://senscot.net/?viewid=11966
Capita plc is the largest outsourcing company in the UK – with roughly half its turnover from the public sector (Private Eye calls it Crapita plc). The English Govt’s drive to privatise public services, will in future consider ‘social value’ as a factor in awarding contracts. So Capita, and its like, are now looking to form ‘strategic partnerships’ with social enterprises – to dress their tenders with an element of ‘social benefit’. The attachment is an invitation to ‘Capita’s National Conference on Commissioning Social Enterprise’. (I’m not having a joke). This illustrates the English Govt’s attitude – that SE is just private business with a makeover. SEs which participate in this charade – devalue our brand. See,
As a direct response to this private encroachment – the Scottish SE Community has set down the values and behaviours by which we recognise each other; businesses can decide for themselves whether they are part of our community. We call this our ‘Voluntary code of practice’ or simply the Code; a kind of benchmark to deter insincere imitators. See Draft 4, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11965
This well researched piece by Vibeka Mair reports on the continuing arm-wrestling in England – over whether SE is part of the Third or Private Sector. See,
The recent Govt emphasis on ‘preventative’ social services is welcome – and takes us ‘upstream’ – to focus on the needs of our very youngest children. Until recently, Scotland had a highly regarded training course for child psychotherapists – developed by the Notre Dame Centre in Glasgow and based around play therapy. Some former graduates of the Notre Dame course are trying to get in going again and are currently testing the market. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11967
Foster Evans, who has been Director of EVH for 20 years – announced this week that he is to retire – aged 57. Since joining the Senscot Board in 2007, he has become a close friend and colleague – but as he says in the attachment – he wants to spend more time at home with the grandweans. Foster and Isobel will no doubt indulge their love of travel – but my instinct is that we have not heard the last of him. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11969
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: Healthy Valleys, Midlothian Voluntary Action, Almond Enterprises Ltd, Ladywood Leisure Centre, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, Stirling District Citizens Advice Bureau Limited, Action for Children
EVENTS: LGBT Open Day, 18 Feb; Community Sport Thriving in the 21st Century, 23 Feb; Out Of The Blue Flea Market, 25 Feb; Creating Enterprise to enable Social Benefit, 29 Feb; Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty Glasgow, 15/16 March; Changing Scotland Ullapool, 25/26 March;
TENDERS: Construction of Tranent Care Home (Community Benefits will be sought in this tender), Building demolition, wrecking and earthmoving work , PAT for Falkirk Council, Provision of Business Gateway Services to East, For info, see http://readyforbusiness.org/index.php.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Many SEN members have engaged with Community Jobs Scotland (CJS), which is creating 2,000 work opportunities for unemployed individuals within third sector orgs across Scotland. Yesterday in Parliament, Youth Jobs Minister, Angela Constance announced CJS is to be extended, receiving a further £6m to create a 1000 more jobs. Also, a new £2.5 challenge fund will be set up to support the third sector to work with employers – delivering 800 opportunities for young people. This follow-on programme will target 16 to 19 year olds and will again be run, in partnership, by Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) and SCVO. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11973
For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=228
Only three weeks left for annual subscriptions to Senscot – which are a bit down on last year. If, like me, you find online payments a hassle – we can send you an invoice. Don’t forget to stipulate the amount – to email@example.com. Online payments here http://www.senscot.net/donate.php
The ‘Developing New Markets’ (DNM) Programme is beginning to gather pace after its launch at the end of last month. A series of local events will be organised over the coming months. For news on this and other developments, see www.readyforbusiness.org . One element within the DNM Programme will be the promotion of Community Benefit Clauses (CBC) in Public Sector contracts. Last week, Alex Neil (Cabinet Secretary) re-affirmed Scottish Govt’s commitment to this when they introduce their Sustainable Procurement Bill. Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) has also issued its own press release on this topic. See,
Edinburgh’s Bongo Club is under threat of closure. The successful social enterprise has been given notice to quit by the University. This decision will have a major impact on sister enterprises, Out of the Blue and the City. The Save the Bongo Club Campaign is already underway. To sign up, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=11972
The Social Enterprise Academy is on the lookout for Gaelic speakers with a background in entrepreneurship, social enterprise or leadership to join their network of tutors. With such a strong presence in the Highlands and Islands – their programmes have been delivered on 15 islands – the Academy is committed to offering learning opportunities to Gaelic speakers in their own medium. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11957
This week’s bulletin profiles VoiceOver Interpreting, a social enterprise established by Govan & Craigton Integration Network (GCIN) in Glasgow. VoiceOver was set up to provide quality, affordable interpreting services. Their interpreters are qualified and experienced, offering competitive rates, from just £27.50 per hour. All income generated by VoiceOver is re-invested into operating CGIN’s other community services. These include community drop-ins, arts projects, advice services, English classes, a destitute food project, cross-cultural community events. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=11961
Simon Callow on Charles Dickens.
"A tear sprang to my eyes when I read the great closing words of the Pickwick Papers: ‘Some men, like bats or owls, have better eyes for the darkness than for the light. We, who have no such optical powers, are better pleased to take our last parting look at the visionary companions of many solitary hours, when the brief sunshine of the world is blazing full upon them……’ The reason I love Dickens so deeply is that, having experienced the lower depths, he never ceased, till the day he died, to commit himself, both in his work and in his life, to trying to right the wrongs inflicted by society, above all, perhaps by giving the dispossessed a voice. From the moment he started to write, he spoke for the people, and the people loved him for it, as do I."
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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