Senscot Bulletin: 11-04-08

Dear members and friends,

When I first visited Andalusia in 1972 I felt I’d arrived home – and though it has changed over the years (as I have), I always come back to this place of so many happy memories. I remember whole days spent in beach bars where fishermen walked up from the sea with the menu – beads of cool on pitchers of wine – and later we would drink Fundador brandy into dusk – and the saucers would pile up, and ‘la cuenta’ was calculated with chalk on the table top in pesetas – and we pretended every day was a fiesta. And I especially remember the golf. We loved golf and we loved Andalusia and we came at all times of the year – groups of 4, 8, 12 sometimes 16. Sotogrande – the flying fish in the lake – the grand villas bordering the course. Fine holes cut through olive and almond groves at Aloha and Las Brisas – sunlight filtering through eucalyptus trees. Great imagined contests of skill and nerve – ‘mano a mano’ in the sunshine – evenings of camaraderie – discovering new places to eat and drink – the fellowship of the grape. And I remember the high hills and mountains behind the coast – the forests of pine and sweet chestnuts and cork oaks – the steep slopes of the Genal valley around Ronda where eagles and falcons ride the thermals and where the Moors built clinging white villages which now slumber in a past age. And there’s much more I’d like to share about this region that I love very much if I could find the words to tell it. But sometimes if you can see it clear and as a whole, then any part you tell will represent the whole – if it’s told truly.
(200 of these intros can be browsed here –

Years ago I was directly involved in the creation of the Edinburgh Community Newspaper Trust (ECNT) which is effectively a coalition of the Edinburgh Community Newspapers which serve disadvantaged areas. Last month, Edinburgh Council gave ECNT one week’s notice that it intended to withdraw the £127k annual subsidy to the 5 papers and, in spite of vigorous objections, funding ended on 13th March, placing the future of these 5 titles in serious jeopardy. Any healthy democracy needs to find a way to stimulate grassroots activity – including dissent. We need to find a way to achieve a genuinely independent community press and to protect it from the spiteful vagaries of party politics. Edinburgh Council has a justifiable reputation for arrogant and insulting behaviour towards community groups. Community newspapers have a right to say this without getting shut down. Here’s a link to the front page of the West Edinburgh Times.

England’s Communities Department (DCLG) appears to be deeply divided – between those who would empower communities and those who believe that empowering councils is local enough. The proposed ‘community anchors’ programme is already stalled in dispute and this week’s last minute cancellation of the ‘strategic partners’ programme is another indication of guddle. Gordon Brown doesn’t really ‘get’ the community empowerment thing and the big push from No. 10 is to co-opt the third sector into the worklessness agenda. But some people have enduring problems that may prevent them from ever becoming tax paying citizens – but this doesn’t mean they have nothing to contribute. Who’ll speak for them?

The restructuring of Highland and Island Enterprise (HIE) seems to have happened more smoothly than Scottish Enterprise which still stutters on with the usual lack of transparency. It was good to hear CEO Sandy Cumming say this week that culture and heritage would still be at the core of HIE activities and that they would continue to help communities take control of local assets, like land, to stimulate economic activities. 
Ethical Corporation Magazine published an excellent article on how large corporations are engaging with social business. Worth a look.
A reminder that the closing date for our part-time Office Administrator post is Friday 18th April. If you’re interested, send a CV and covering letter to .
Here are the details, 

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: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Senscot, The Melting Pot Edinburgh, Routes to Work South, Blake Stevenson, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Community One Stop Shop, Re-union Canal Boats
EVENTS: 14 events, Advanced presentation skills workshop, 16 Apr, Glasgow; S2S Third Annual Social Enterprise Trade Fair, 23 Apr, Dundee; Southside Festival, 28 Jun, Glasgow

As agreed at the last Networks` Rep meeting, Senscot have booked a Stand at S2S to give Social Enterprise Networks, who aren’t able to get one of their own, a presence at Scotland’s biggest social enterprise trade fair. We expect there will be space for around 5 different SENs to share the Stand. There may be an opportunity for those on the Stand to access reduce delegate fees, so if you haven’t booked already let us know. Any Social Enterprise Network who would like to take advantage of the Networks 1st Stand should contact . For more, see

The new round of European funding (2007-13) for Lowland Scotland was announced this week. £158m is being doled out to a range of projects that include, amongst other things, improving business innovation, access to finance, improving workforce skills, access to learning as well as regeneration projects. The figure is a 50% reduction on what was available before. There was a minimum project threshold of £200k altho` this will not apply in Highlands and Islands. There’ll be another round later this year. Here’s a list of who got what.

This week’s bulletin profiles Mimac-Rushes CIC who were one of the award winners last month in Fife Council’s Social Enterprise competition. Mimac-Rushes is a community interest film, video and media access company, providing a range of services that offer support and mentoring for independent filmmaking, emerging talent and enables public access to moving image resources. Much of their work takes place within schools and the community sector. In addition, they run monthly screenings and an annual film festival where they mentor and promote the work of the independent film sector in Scotland. For more, see

Reading the Journals of Philip Toynbee (Polly’s Dad). This is an entry made on 2nd June 1981 from hospital where they discovered he had inoperable cancer. He died two weeks later on 15th June.
 ‘The old man in the next bed has a visitor. ‘I haven’t given up hope,’ says his dear wife, ‘and you mustn’t give up hope. If we both pull together we’ll be all right, the way we always have been.’ ‘No, I haven’t been watching the telly. We neither of us ever did, did we, when the other one wasn’t there? We only like to watch the telly together, Tom.’ No self pity. No falsity. The quietness of love. Everything she says is perfect: the holy common sense of long, long married love. And as she was leaving she smiled down at me and tickled my bare toes!
I cannot get over the wry, comical, good face of that old lady, as she looked at my face to see whether tickling my toes would be all right. How delighted I am that she instantly saw that it would be!’

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

Best wishes,

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