Senscot Bulletin: 10-12-2004



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


Dear members and friends,


I can still remember my ID number from Boarding school: 1161 – stamped on everything. Now I have so many numbers and passwords that I can’t remember any. Usually phone my bank from home, with all ID to hand, but recently had to call from outside. Get my name, postcode and password right – then freeze. Can’t remember my ‘memorable place’. ‘Can you tell me your memorable date then?’ – blank. Feel stupid – an impostor, when woman says ‘Do you know Benny Demarco from Cowdenbeath – you sound just like him.’ ‘Yeah – Benny’s some guy,’ I laugh. Don’t want to go there – cos I’ve never heard of Benny Demarco. But she stands for it.

            It’s possible that these proposed National ID cards would make identification easier – but I’m voting against – too much state power. It comes down to whether you consider the state to be benign or malign. My position has shifted since the Iraq mess – I don’t trust them anymore.

A.J.P.Taylor once wrote, ‘Until August 1914 a sensible law-abiding British citizen could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission.’ The new legislation would require that we inform the state when we move house – No thanks.



We can confirm that Futurebuilders Scotland will begin on Monday 13th December. Application forms for all three funds are ready – that is, the Seedcorn Fund, the Learning Fund, and the main Investment Fund. Malcolm Chisholm will do a wee speech on Monday – and off we go. One quiet, but significant change – there will no longer be a panel of ‘experts’ from the sector to approve the awards. The executive has decided to make the decisions in-house. I commented ‘That makes it easier – we know who to blame’ – they replied ‘We would get the blame anyway!!’ – fair enough. It bodes well that they’ve nailed their colours to the mast.

            An unremarked bit of the Futurebuilders document sets out that there should be local Social Economy Partnerships (LSEPs) to cover all local authority areas in Scotland. In some places these LSEPs already exist or are being set up. Where they do not exist Communities Scotland has a role to work with partners to help establish them. The basic idea is to coordinate the activity of the various agencies – so that social economy organisations can find the right support. More info on LSEPs: You will be able to download application forms from Monday. Futurebuilders site: click here



Opening a bank account is still a problem for millions in the UK and a new report by Money Advice Scotland is highly critical of the reluctance of Scottish Banks to meet their responsibilities.  Without a basic bank account it’s increasingly difficult for poor people to get by – even for a job, or a place to live.  The National Consumer Council has called for a name and shame policy so that low income consumers can know which banks don’t want them.   



Most politicians and think tanks make the assumption that progress is to be pursued by economic growth.  But minority voices are starting to ask whether true ‘well being’ isn’t something entirely different. For example – are we better to have a highly paid job – or one we find enjoyable/fulfilling?  The New Economics Foundation has drafted a ‘Well Being Manifesto’ suggesting eight areas where the government could act to promote well being 



To make houses more affordable, some of us have been discussing for years the combining of a land trust with a mutual ownership co-operative.  If the land can be held on behalf of the community, outside the market, and the cost of the house is shared by the individual and the co-operative – good homes come into financial reach. Well it seems that an agency called CDS Cooperatives is doing just this in London and Ken Livingston has bought into the idea.  If the pilot works there are plans for 1000 homes over four years. 



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: 47 vacancies, incl. posts with: Positive Steps, Woodcraft Folk, Tollcross Housing Association, Four Square (Scotland), Watch Us Grow, Volunteer Development Scotland, Spruce Carpets, SCVO, Connector, Northwest Economic Network.


EVENTS: Homing In On… Community Development: are social enterprises and development trusts the answer? Edinburgh, 15 Dec; Finding Out About Energy’, Dundee, 15 Jan 2005, Strategic campaigning training for individuals, Edinburgh, 17-18 Jan 2005.


Reader Alan Caldwell has recently completed a publication for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Re:sourcebook is a practical guide for communities planning regeneration and economic development. The publication is available at



Do you know that if you are a charity – any advertising you do, for recruitment for instance, is zero VAT rated.  Do you know that your heating and power costs qualify for a reduced rate from 17 ½ % to 5%.  Find out more 



Check out the ‘Legal’ page on our ‘Tools and Templates’ website section, which has now been updated.  Many thanks to Stephen Phillips, Burness and Fiona Selalmas, Winning Edge for their contributions.  Your feedback is welcome on these items and look out for more updates appearing under other sections.



Not everyone knows that crofting communities in Scotland have special rights to force Lairds to sell their land – and that is exactly what is happening at this time in the remote community of Pairc in South Lewis.  The current Laird from Warwickshire doesn’t want to sell but following a ballot 87% of the community voted for a takeover and now it’s up to ministers to decide on Scotland’s first hostile buy out.  Land reform gathers momentum. 



A new coalition of Scotland’s leading development, human rights and environmental groups (CORE Scotland) wants to see an economy in which all companies and public authorities can be held responsible for the social and environmental impact of their operations in Scotland and overseas. 



The Social Enterprise Academy delivered its first programme this week – a 2-day Learning Journey hosted by Forth Sector. 10 people from across the country, including Orkney, Aberdeenshire and Glasgow, took part. Further ‘Journeys’ are scheduled for next year as well as a series of ‘Praxis’ programmes. In January, the Academy runs a 1-day workshop, ‘Be a Learning Champion’ at RAMH in Paisley: Further info’ on Academy Programmes:  



This week’s bulletin profiles ILM Highland, a large social enterprise based in Alness, Ross & Cromarty. ILM Highland was set up 10 years ago by the local Council to address long term unemployment by delivering environmental improvement projects in the area. The company has grown to the point where it now operates six separate divisions that include recycling, insulation, training and home repairs. ILM Highland has plans emerge as a major recycling centre for the Highlands over the next decade. For further info’, see (project profiles) 



Czeslaw Milosz in this poem called ‘Love’ says that ego distorts our relationship with the world. ‘Love means to learn to look at yourself the way one looks at distant things for you are only one thing among many.  And whoever sees that way heals his heart, without knowing it, from various ills – a bird and a tree say to him: Friend.  Then he wants to use himself and things so that they stand in the glow of ripeness.  It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves: Who serves best doesn’t always understand!’


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

Best wishes,



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