Senscot Bulletin: 11-01-08

Dear members and friends,

Did you know that the engine patented by Rudolf Diesel in 1893 ran off peanut oil? Did you know that last year the UK Government removed tax on biodiesel – up to 50 litres per person per week. Over the holiday, I purchased a new Fiat Panda Diesel – can see it now from my window – light blue, basic, functional, but a cheeky wee thing – it cheers me up.
 One of the reasons I got wheels again is that I’ve been spending too much time home alone – getting a bit depressed. There’s a part of me which enjoys solitude and I’ve been letting it lead me where it will. ‘What core self remains,’ I wondered ‘away from people and the parts we all play?’ I have learnt that my solitary self is prone to melancholy and to dark imaginings – that it makes dodgy decisions and can be rubbish company. I need people more than I realised.
 I don’t follow football much these days – not enough to be aware of the career of Phil O’Donnell, the captain of Motherwell FC who collapsed and died last week during a game. The death of any young husband and father of 4 wee ones is a great tragedy – but the immense reaction to Phil’s death – all the tributes – speak of a person who drew extraordinary respect and affection from all who knew him – very moving. Over the years, I have visited hundreds of books in search of the `meaning of life`. I suspect that knowing people like Phil O` Donnell would have taught me more.
Some readers aren`t always interested in the whole bulletin – but please read this appeal for donations.

The Third Sector Division in the Scottish Government has restructured internally. When we all went on holiday, there were two teams – third sector and social enterprise – well, no more. We attach a note from Tracey Slaven, who heads the Third Sector Division – along with her chart of the four new themes and teams. It will take a while to absorb and debate the implications of this new structure but it seems to come out of a view that many of the issues faced by social enterprises and voluntary organisations, are shared.
 I must say that my initial reaction is positive – mainly because of the fourth theme which they call `supporting localism`. This has the potential to create for the first time within Scottish Government a focus for the development of what we know as the community sector – where campaigns (like Local People Leading) can take the whole community empowerment debate. It’s early days yet but this new structure feels better thought through.

I’m kicking myself for missing the Third Sector Summit, last Monday, convened by Jim Mather – the minister for Enterprise, Energy & Tourism. Mather personally facilitated proceedings throughout using some computer gizmo and was apparently very impressive. I can’t remember this level of interest and understanding from politicians about the Third Sector – I keep looking for the catch! The seminar identified some of the key issues inhibiting the growth of our sector and a note is being prepared which we’ll circulate next week.

Every year at this time we invite readers to send a voluntary donation in support of Senscot`s work. This year, the Senscot Bulletin has no funding, and anything you send will be applied to production costs. Donations from both individuals and organisations vary from £10 to £100. If you are a public body or a national organisation with multiple recipients – you may consider a larger donation. This is the list of last year’s contributors – . Individual donors are offered the option of becoming a member of Senscot Ltd – with the opportunity to attend company events, including our AGM in June. The future editorial independence of this bulletin could depend on the financial support of our readers. Please send a cheque, endorsed to Senscot, 54 Manor Place Edinburgh EH3 7EH. You can also donate online –

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: 15 vacancies, incl. posts with: Pilotlight Scotland, Big Lottery Fund, Project Ability, Nisus Scotland, Space Unlimited, The Big Issue Cymru
EVENTS: 12 events, incl Getting down to business, 7 Feb, Edinburgh; Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid, 21 Feb, Fife; Mental Health Awareness, 15 Mar, Kirkcaldy; More than Recycling 08, 11 Mar, Perth

Building stronger links with the private sector will be an important step in the development of social enterprise in Scotland. In an effort to build such links, Local Social Enterprise Networks (LSENs) in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh will be holding joint information-sharing events with their respective Chambers of Commerce. Dates have been set – (Edinburgh, 5th Feb.), (Aberdeen, 19th Feb.)  (Glasgow, 26th Feb.). Congrats to Antonia and the Coalition for initiating this idea. For more info` on the Networks, see

Some of our older readers will remember Reg Bolton – founder of Edinburgh`s Theatre Workshop – who suffered a fatal heart attack, aged 60, at his home in Australia in 2006. Reg`s vision was to bring performing arts to the most deprived areas. I can recall how his theatre and circus work in Craigmillar during the 1970s, showed us all the way to go. As a memorial to Reg, Andrew Crummy and friends organised last year a `Craigmillar World Community Arts Day` which was such a success that the 2008 event on 17th February is already flooded with interest from around the world. Read this happy story – and maybe join the fun.

In October, Senscot hosted the first of three planned events for `Intrapreneurs`, supported by NESTA and the Scottish Government`s Delivery Dept. Over 20 people attended the first event, held in Edinburgh. See note of meeting . The next two events are scheduled for February and March – the first being Glasgow on 12th February in the Trades Hall. If you`re interested in attending or would like more info, contact

The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, supporter of many initiatives in Scotland including Senscot, is launching a new approach to its grant funding that will distribute an estimated £60m over the next three years. For more info`, see

This week`s bulletin profiles an enterprise in Edinburgh that has been set up as a free community resource providing a range of services to the people, organisations and businesses of Craigmillar. The HayWired IT Centre comprises a 10 seater, fully equipped IT training suite, a fully manned reception and an internet cafe style front of house for drop-in use. The Centre is in the process of developing their services and growing the commercial aspect of their activities. For more, see

The Sun – by Mary Oliver

‘Have you seen anything in your life more wonderful that the way the sun, every evening relaxed and easy floats towards the horizon and into the clouds or the hills, or the rumpled sea, and is gone – and how it slides again out of the blackness, every morning on the other side of the world, like a red flower streaming upward on its heavenly oils, say, on a morning in early summer, at its perfect imperial distance – and have you ever felt for anything such wild love – do you think there is anywhere, in any language, a word billowing enough for the pleasure that fills you, as the sun reaches out, as it warms you as stand there, empty-handed – or have you too turned from this world – or have you too gone crazy for power, for things?’

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

Best wishes,

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