Senscot Bulletin 11-07-2003

186, FRIDAY 11th JULY 2003


Dear Members and friends,


Thursday morning I wake at 5.30am, anxious. – Today I’m to
learn about my spondylitic neck – I’m frightened.  Our wee balcony is flooded with sunlight – I stand for a while
breathing morning air.  When I open my
eyes – a fully grown fox is standing eight yards away, sniffing the
buckets.  He looks up – beautiful,
cruel, golden eyes.  Head held high –
trots off quickly.

            11am the
surgeon explains that one of the vertebrae in my neck is so worn that it’s
almost ‘unattached’.  She wants to
replace it with a porcelain thing shaped like a polo mint.  From the X-rays I try to make a joke,
“There’s not much holding my head up” – but she doesn’t smile, “If you had a
whiplash injury…….” she shrugs.  I get
the message.  Then I withdraw my attention
– that’s how I cope with the big bad stuff. 
Come to it in my own time.  I
stroll slowly from the hospital into town – pass into a gallery – wander round
a photography exhibition – the café is one of those self-service/share a table
places but very good food.  I’m joined
by a couple with a young girl called Claire who has cerebral palsy.  Their company, Claire smiling, brings me
back from self absorption to reality – I feel ashamed.

            Now it is
10.30pm – getting dark on our wee balcony. 
For the past hour it’s been warm but cloudy – now after some gentle rain
a fresh silence falls outside.  I wonder
if that fox is on the move.



“Summertime and the living is easy.”  The stream of e-mails has slowed – even traffic
on the roads is easier this week with the holidays.  But pockets of activity are still discernable.  The Executive’s consultation around
developing the support infrastructure for the Social Economy in Scotland
continues.  You may recall that there are
seven themes (
 The one Senscot is helping with is
‘Social Entrepreneurs’ and when we get a note of the meeting of June 16th we’ll
post it.  In the meantime from feedback
chatting to members we’ve made a shopping list of ten Action Points which we
feel would benefit the work of social entrepreneurs and their enterprises all
across Scotland.  If you feel something
is missing from the Senscot list please get in touch. (



Simon Clark wrote in his appraisal of Senscot, “If members
are to become more proactive Senscot will need to fashion some roles they can
play, in order to entice more self-generated activity.”  (see:
Member Peter Koenig responds, “I do not see the role of a good network as
necessarily to ‘entice self-generated activity’ but to inform and connect
members.  Senscot fills this role very
well, I think.  If members are active
people the activity will naturally flow out of this without having to be
‘produced’”.  I thought Simon had made a
good point – but I’ve changed my mind – I think Peter’s right – it’s not
Senscot’s role to hassle people.

Tannerhill’s call for the launch of a national social enterprise caused a wee
flurry of interest, so we have created a discussion group to invite ideas.  It will be interesting to see if ‘activity
naturally flows’.  If you want to enlist
in this discussion contact



The social enterprises unit at the DTI in London has
published on a ‘consultation basis’, the draft of their ‘procurement
toolkit’.  We’ve posted this at, and as you will see it
is designed to help social enterprises prepare themselves to bid for local
government contracts and the like.  It’s
a bit long but if this is your kind of ‘thing’ please e-mail comments to Kevin
Robbie who is co-ordinating responses.
 We must now hope that the Scottish
Executive will follow quickly with a Scottish version of the toolkit.



For the past six weeks, for no clear reason, visits to the
Senscot website have increased markedly. 
From a plateau of 1400 they have risen to 2005-2146-2454-2543 and last
week 2505. This is most encouraging for all of us at mission control, and a wee
reminder to you that our ‘Yellow Pages’ is a free service to any social
enterprise.  We welcome notices of your
jobs – events – courses – publications – offers and requests for help etc.  We’re considering how to handle adverts for
products – consultants services etc. 
(An average of seven and a half people a day read our consultants list.)



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items and we’ll post it on our
site (Send in your items to
This week:


Jobs: 44 vacancies, including posts at Project Ability,
Friends of the Earth Scotland, Edinburgh Mediabase, Re:Solution, and Big Issue
Scotland International.


Reports: DTI ‘Procurement Toolkit’, to help social
enterprises prepare themselves to bid for local government contracts etc.


Events:  SEDI
‘Introduction To Social Enterprise’ training course, 22 Sept 2003; Engender
training for women Sept & Oct 2003; Community Recycling Network for
Scotland Event, 21-22 Aug 2003.


For details on these and more:



There is a great wee story in Regeneration mag (
 about a handyman service, devised by a
local group, being rolled out across York by the city council. Senscot was
contacted this week by a Stirling group who want to learn from any local
landscaping / maintenance enterprises which have matured from grants to a
contract basis for trading. E-mail


We also heard from Dumfries and Galloway Organic Network,
which aims to help organic producers/processors in the area communicate, trade
and promote themselves. Their website is well worth a look
( The network’s Lara Porter tells us, “We would like there
to be a national coordinator for all the regional networks, to help and assist
them, and the whole organic food chain.” Anyone any ideas for funding for a
national co-ordinator?  E-mail  


This week’s bulletin profiles the Lochaber Environmental
Group (LEG) based in Inverlochy near Fort William.  Set up in 1998 the project initially offered cut-price compost
bins for sale.  Encouraged by the
interest from the local communities the project has been able to expand its
remit and has diversified its services through funding from a number of donors.  LEG now tackles the collection and re-distribution
of furniture and electrical goods, provides a community compost site and
co-ordinates recycling initiatives in the area.  The project combines social objectives with environmental goals
aiding the diversion of tonnage from landfill, assisting people with limited
resources to set up home, promoting environmental issues and encouraging
community action.  For further
(‘Project Profiles’)



One of Senscot’s founding principles is that our service
should be open and available to anyone who wants it – hence our commitment to
the free flow of information. Longer term readers who use the bulletin in their
work and who wish to contribute to its costs from time to time, may like to
know that from next week a payment facility will be installed on our website.
We have calculated that last year the bulletin cost 78p per person per week to
prepare and send. This year, as numbers increase, we hope to get this down to
50p. A list of Senscot subscribers is posted on our site at the new ‘Donations’
menu button (where the pay page will be):



The fact that certain individuals are able to bully us says
as much about us as them.  Some part of
our unconscious allows (perhaps invites?) abuse.  We feel powerless.  After
nearly fourteen years I ‘stood up to’ a certain individual last week.  “I don’t want you to ever speak to me like
that again,” I said.  I was stuttering
with rage. I’m proud of my outburst – it was cathartic – but it has left me
feeling fear – that I have been bad – must be punished.  So from my bookcase, for courage, I’ve
selected one of the best ‘defiant’ quotes I know – Fritz Perl’s ‘Gestalt

“I do my thing and you do you thing – I am not in the world
to live up to your expectations – and you are not in the world to live up to
mine – you are you and I am I – and if by chance we find each other, it’s
beautiful – if not it can’t be helped.”


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

Best wishes,



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