Dear members and friends,
Around 6 o’clock on Monday – a spectacular thunderstorm knocks out the electricity in the remote clachan where I live. ‘Darkness covers the face of the earth’ – then a rainstorm such as I’ve only ever seen abroad. I light the dozen candles which line my mantelpiece – and the woodstove for cheer; watch through the window, in awe of the deluge – biblical. The candles remind me of high mass – of being a chorister at school; find myself in reverential mode – humming snatches of forgotten liturgy.
As suddenly as it starts – the rain stops; on impulse I slip on my wellies and saunter into the dripping woods. Following the storm, in here among the trees, there’s a vast calm – which enters into me; for a few moments everything in the world is just as it should be – peace and harmony reign. With absolute clarity I can see that my inner state of habitual conflict is self imposed – that non-resistance opens us to a consciousness infinitely greater than the human mind. Then the moment passes – cold and damp – I return home.
Around 9 o’clock the power comes back on; blow out the candles – switch on the telly for the final of the men’s 400 metres. Things resume pretty much as there were before. Albert Einstein said, we can choose to live as if nothing is a miracle – or as if everything is.
‘The Spirit Level’ – by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett – is an important book – a compelling; thesis – across the world the most unequal societies are the most troubled. "Just as tobacco is a physiological poison – Britain’s high levels of inequality are a social poison – that increases the risk of a wide range of social ills". Their short piece in the Guardian – appearing one year after the riots – asks us to look at the ’causes of the causes’ of the breakdown of social order. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12618
I enjoyed the reflections of scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern (62) in this week’s Observer Mag; from a large Liverpudlian Irish family – he tells the story of working class people with honesty and conviction. "It’s easy to have integrity when you have money," he says, " but when you’re skint – with a wife and kids to feed – you will do things you’re not that proud of – that you would never tell anybody". See,
The National Citizens Service (NCS) is part of the PM’s vision for the ‘Big Society’; it’s a non-military version of national service for youngsters aged 16 and over. Because of the way procurement is organised – the third sector organisations currently running NCS pilots – simply don’t have the resources to bid for the expansion of the service nationally. Serco, the giant private contractor, is in line to win a multi-million pound contract. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12619
Leopold Kohr – the Austrian political economist (1909-1994) – was one of Schumacher’s main inspirations. Kohr’s key message is simple – whenever something is wrong – something is too big; society’s problems are not caused by particular forms of social or economic organisations – but by their size. Problems arise, he argued, when human scale is lost: the scale at which people can play a part in the systems that govern their lives. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12615
Anger at the withdrawal of the Lords Reform Bill, prompted me to join the Electoral Reform Society this week. Check out its history and governance. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12616 Also this blog from CEO Katie Ghose, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12617 If Parliament can’t be trusted with this – citizens need to start thinking about direct action.
Date for the diary: Senscot Seminar and AGM will be held on Friday 5th October at City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow (10.30 – 2.30pm). Topic of this year’s Seminar will be ‘A Scottish Community Bank’. The event is free to company members with £20 charge for non-members. To book your place, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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: Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project, SURF, Ochil Leisure Enterprises, Highland Birchwoods, Scotland Untld, Firstport, Impact Arts, Paths for All, Oatridge College, The Place2Be
EVENTS: Miss.Fit Sisters Vintage Circus, 11 Aug; Strengthening your Social Enterprise, 21 Aug; Getting to Grips with Social Accounting & Audit and Social Capital (Dundee), 30 Aug
TENDERS: ITT Violence Against Women Service in East Lothian, Print Services for Tayside Procurement Consortium, Mobile Unit for Occupational Health Service and Sale of Textiles, Books & Bric-a-Brac – Collection & Treatment. For more details, see www.readyforbusiness.org.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: In recent years, Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) has hosted a series of policy events across the country. These events provide an opportunity for social enterprises and supporters to get together and discuss a range of policy issues. This year, we’re delighted that SES has chosen, where possible, to organise these via local SENs – with Fife, Moray, Argyll and Bute and Dumfries and Galloway all participating. The first event is in Fife on 23rd Aug. at the Ore Valley Business Centre in Lochgelly. All the events are free. If you’d like to attend, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=12614. For more Networks News, see http://se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=254
The CEiS September Conference is one the main events in the SE calendar in Scotland. It has run each year following on from the SE World Forum in Edinburgh in 2008. This year’s themes will include discussion on the role for social enterprise in the delivery of public services; youth employment; social investment; and the Commonwealth Games Legacy Programme. Senscot has reserved 20 ‘early bird’ places for SEN members (£95 + VAT). A few places still available. If you’re interested, contact email@example.com . See programme, www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=729
By trying to connect social enterprise to the money markets – Big Society Capital is promoting a strategy which could damage the third sector; but this does not mean that all ‘front-funding’ from non-governmental sources is unacceptable. Scottish Govt. is hosting a session at Victoria Quay on 19th September to discuss ongoing work on a ‘Scottish Charitable Bond’. See, http://www.senscot.net/docs/CharitableBondSession.doc
A well known Edinburgh restaurant is becoming a social firm. Iglu, in Edinburgh’s new town, has won numerous awards – including gastro pub of year. The owner, Charlie Cornelius, wants to provide employment for people recovering mental ill health. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12613
This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Edinburgh that provides skills training for employment, access to technology (and related services) including low-cost PCs; and community-based projects and training for individuals. Digital Skills for Scotland (DS4S) works in partnership with a variety of organisations, including Dunedin Canmore HA, to deliver programmes for vulnerable groups of people such as the elderly, disabled and long-term unemployed. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=12612
"But every year, without fail, the London media colony sets off for the Scottish capital to watch a gang of wackos and wannabes making a bit for fame and glory. This is my tenth visit – and here are my tips for maximising the fun" Enjoyed this piece by Lloyd Evans, the Spectator theatre critic – captures the ramshackle vibe of the Edinburgh Festival. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12621
I’m revisiting Richard Holloway’s autobiography, ‘Leaving Alexandria’ – going to hear him at the Book Festival on Wednesday. I identify very strongly with Richard’s personal journey. This is from Mary Warnock’s review of the book.
"Holloway believes that the Church fails to understand the nature of myth – that this failure has a profound effect on religion; the tension between pretending to believe a narrative to be factually true – and understanding the meaning of that narrative, the truth that it contains, without denying that it is the product of imagination. It is Holloway’s insistence that Christianity is a great work of the human imagination that makes his memoir so compelling and so intense. What he loves about the narrative is it central figure, who possesses endless pity for him a beings and is endlessly subversive, in preferring compassion to rules. What he came to hate about the church is its insistence on rules, which turns it to cruelty, not pity." Here’s Mary Warnock’s full review, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12622
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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