Senscot Bulletin: 10-06-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


Lots of interest in last week’s piece about the sinking of the Arandora Star off the Mull of Kintyre in 1940.  My grandfather, who drowned, was a Sergeant Major in the 1st world war – described in his CO’s journal as: ‘Severe eyes – smiling mouth – of few words – a gem of a man’. Been told Nonno Lorenzo was a mediator of disputes – dispensing wisdom from the room behind his café.  He and a few others – unable to swim – were saying the rosary as the ship sank. The grandfather I never knew.

            One of the emails this week was from Kevin Byrne from Colonsay: ‘You may know that the remains of a number of victims of the Arandora Star were recovered here on the island – and the tragedy has never been forgotten locally.  For some time we have been intending to erect a permanent (if modest) memorial to all the victims, which might be of help for the relatives of those whose last resting place is unknown.  By chance, everything seems to have come together at last and I attach details of the brief dedication planned for noon on July 2nd’. 

I intend to be on Colonsay on July 2 – to attend the dedication of this ‘modest’ monument in ‘a particularly beautiful part of the island.’  I’m going firstly to thank the islanders for this act of kindness and reconciliation.  These must be good people.  I’ll think about Nonno Lorenzo – about what happened – and what might have happened if we’d known each other – a kind of closure.   



There was a brief period a couple of years ago when I felt really optimistic about the open way the civil servants in the Executive welcomed debate about how to regenerate our ailing communities.  For whatever reason (I blame political paranoia) we have returned to regeneration by stealth.  There must be thinking and discussion going on somewhere.  Why can’t philosophy be publicly aired.  We must surmise that the strategy is to destroy the underclass which undermines community life.  The carrot is employment, training, education, childcare etc.  The stick is sentencing policy and stopping welfare abuse.  So why aren’t we having an adult debate.  We all have views about this but no – ‘not in front of the children’. The proposed Social Economy Advisory Group must open things up.



In CEiS’s new operating plan, Alistair Grimes writes, ‘The announcement of Futurebuilders Scotland was long heralded, and it has been interesting to see what form it has taken. In practice, Futurebuilders Scotland has not turned out to be an investment fund with some clear sense of what the investment of £16 million of public funds is meant to produce and who in the social economy might deliver this. It has become, almost by default, yet another time-limited grant scheme that will no doubt support some interesting organisations and activities, but will not shift either the social economy or the public sector very far towards embracing a culture of investment instead of dependency.’  If I understand him correctly, Alistair argues that a raft of ‘winners’, selected on track record, would be a better investment. On this one I go with the Executive – open competition – give everyone a chance – fair and transparent. But the point is, Alistair has a contrary view – which he’s willing to express. There’s not enough debate.



Last call for Senscot’s AGM – which is next Friday. Around 30 of us will conduct the formal business and then hear from Mark Ballard, the Green MSP who has emerged as a supporter of our work in social enterprise. Mark will talk on how Parliamentarians see our sector and how we can have a greater impact on them. Andy Wightman, the land reform campaigner, is also attending and will also be speaking. Assemble for a light lunch at 1pm  



Cracking good piece by Polly Toynbee in Wednesday’s Guardian. ‘There is no climate of shame about fabulously undeserved wealth and income. The language of responsibilities applies to the poor – not the rich’ I’ve cut it out – have a look.   



YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 41 vacancies, incl. posts with: Volunteer Centre Edinburgh, BabyGroe, Senscot, Social firms Scotland, Watch us Grow, Scottish Borders Housing Association.


EVENTS: Arts Market,  Leith, 11 June;  Edinburgh Treefest and Woodmarket, 11-12 June 2005; Scottish Institute for Enterprise, Social Enterprise conference aimed at new graduates, Edinburgh 22 June; Centre for Confidence and Well-being – network event, Edinburgh, 23 June; ‘Going beyond Green: Sustainable development for sustainable communities’, Edinburgh 28 June.



Senscot’s Directory is now receiving 300 hits per week. If you’d like to be included, contact  



Out of the Blue, one of the country’s most dynamic social enterprises, is hosting an Arts Market this Saturday (11th June) in conjunction with the Leith Festival. This is the second year running that Out of the Blue has hosted the event with more than 600 people attending last year. Around 40 local artists and designers will be showcasing their work. If you’re in the area, try and get along. Further info:  



This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social firm located in Aberdeen. Green Tracks aims to provide an environmental service for local communities within Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, as well as training and supported employment opportunities for those recovering from mental ill health. Over the years, Green Tracks has worked hard to develop a good reputation in the ‘not for profit’ market, and prides itself, by working in partnership with professional and private customers alike, to provide a positive experience for all. Work involves developing wildlife gardens for eco-schools and local communities, path, fence and planter construction, tree planting, landscaping etc. More:   



I know that it raises awareness and raises money – but it feels wrong that efforts to help starving children are turned into such a circus. Nelson Mandela – speaking in Trafalgar Square this year said: ‘like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural, it is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by human actions. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.’



Senscot has been invited to facilitate the setting up of a new thematic Social Enterprise Network. The network will be for social enterprises operating in the Sports, Leisure and Recreation field. Anyone interested in participating should contact This will bring the number of Local Social Enterprise Networks to 8 across the country. Senscot will be hosting a national gathering for all the networks in November. We’ll keep you posted as details emerge.



Most of my life I’ve felt an outsider – it’s as though in the beginning I felt shut out – so I learned to play alone.  For whatever reason I feel more connected to the losers than the winners – and this has shaped my world. Czeslaw Milosz says it in his poem ‘Not Mine’.

‘All my life to pretend this world of theirs is mine and to know such pretending is disgraceful.  But what can I do?  Suppose I suddenly screamed and started to prophesy.  No one would hear me.  Their screens and microphones are not for that.  Others like me wander the streets and talk to themselves.  Sleep on benches in parks, or on pavements in alleys.  For there aren’t enough prisons to lock up all the poor. I smile and keep quiet.  They won’t get me now.  To feast with the chosen – that I do well.’


That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.


Best wishes,



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