Senscot Bulletin: 11-08-2006

Dear members and friends,

Scotland needs a Tommy Sheridan. It’s not that I yearn for state socialism – its endless committees of mediocrity – but nor do I want to live in a Scotland dominated by bankers and commercial buccaneers, loyal only to what they own. The poorest people in our country die ten years younger than the wealthiest. This is wrong. Our government lacks conviction. A champion of the poor emerged, a passionate orator willing to go to prison for his beliefs. At the last election I voted for Tommy Sheridan, along with seventy thousand of my fellow citizens.
 Last week when the jury found against Murdoch’s scummy press, I joined in the general delight. But in spite of myself I felt an unease – that there may be an issue about how Tommy handles being famous. There’s nothing wrong with celebrity in itself – as with Nelson Mandela, a charismatic individual can galvanise a whole movement. But it’s a dangerous game. Some leaders come to believe they really are the messiah.  On telly Mrs Sheridan told how when she first held him as a baby she knew Tommy was destined for greatness. I suppose if you’ve been listening to that all your life you might come to believe you can walk on water. I hope he can find his way back to dry land. Scotland needs a Tommy Sheridan.

Scotland’s social enterprise strategy will close for consultation on the 8th September when the social economy team who drafted the document will sift the submissions and prepare a summary for the minister’s advisory board – due to meet on 3rd October. The amended strategy will then go to Scottish ministers for scrutiny and hopefully approval, but I would doubt that it would resurface before the new year break. With an election in early May, government will become becalmed for most of March and April, so my guess would be a February launch – hopefully with some new money to back new initiatives. It will be interesting to see if the Third Sector attracts any electioneering energy. The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition is currently preparing its manifesto for the political parties.

EAGA is a social enterprise owned by its 1600 staff which was set up in 1990 specifically to provide insulation and energy-efficient central-heating too the over-60s. It was a major shock last week when Communities Scotland dropped EAGA in favour of Scottish Gas as preferred bidder for its massive Warm Deal programme. I hope an accurate appraisal has been made of which contractor will really deliver best value for our money. The procurement process must be transparent.  

The Big Lottery Fund in Scotland is planning a new dedicated investment theme to help realise and grow innovation and enterprise in the third sector. This will include support for local leaders, social entrepreneurs and ‘community catalysts.’  BLF Scotland seem themselves willing to innovate. Here’s a bit of background on their thinking:  

We’re sorry to hear that John Findlay has stepped down from the bridge at One Plus, the leading lone parent organisation covering west and central Scotland. During his 17 years at the helm, John oversaw an organisation that grew to over 600 employees with a turnover of around £12m. John has been a good friend to Senscot and we hope this relationship will continue in the years ahead. We also hear that his replacement will be David Coyne, once of the Castlemilk Economic Development Agency. We wish both the very best in their new endeavours.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs ( or events ( and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 23 vacancies, incl. posts with: Beulah Scotland, The Community Orchard Ltd, Ark Trust, Friends of the Award, Volunteer Development Scotland, Scottish Community Foundation, Move On.

EVENTS: FATE (Fife Artists Together Enterprises) Exhibition, now-30 Aug; CRNS Carpet Recycling Rollout, 23 Aug, Dundee; What’s Faith Got to Do with It?, 5 Sep, Glasgow; GCVS, ‘The Business of Social Enterprise’, 11 Sep, Glasgow; Voluntary Action Fund – ‘Delivering Change’ Symposium, 13 Sep, Edinburgh; Intro to Social Accounting & Social Audit, 19 Sep, Glasgow CHE, ‘Ethical Enterprise’, 5 Oct; Glasgow;

The recent McGregor Report on Business Gateway’s social enterprise activity concluded that social enterprises’ main requirement from Business Gateway was business advice. In part in response to this, the Business Gateway website is undergoing a major development in order to offer additional  ‘self-service’ business advice. The service will be available from 9th August and will include a Start Up Action Plan. For info’, see Scottish Enterprise also provides us with an update on their activity across lowland Scotland with social enterprises during 2005/06. Social enterprise support will be an integral part of the re-tendering process for Business Gateway services for 2007/08. See

Martin Meteyard informs us of the recent launch of the Lorna Young Foundation, set up in memory of a young social entrepreneur who sadly died in 1996. Lorna was a member of the Equal Exchange fair trade co-operative in Edinburgh and was responsible for getting the first supermarket listings for Cafédirect – a crucial step in taking fair trade into the mainstream. The aim of the Foundation is to assist producer groups to develop local marketing skills and capability. For info’,

Last week we reported Cyrenians are looking for Community Shareholders for their organic farm in West Lothian. More on the story in this Scotsman article:

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in the Scottish Borders that specialises in music and arts projects. This work includes facilitating workshops and performing at events. . Based in the Borders since 1994, their work has seen them cover most of Scotland, the North of England, parts of Europe and as far as Israel. TRASH promotes innovative music making activities for young people and adults, including those with special needs, excluded or hard to engage, by creating percussive music using large plastic barrels, tuned plastic pipe bat-phones, scaffolding metal-phones, wheel-cones and scrap-wood xylophones. For further info, see  

C G Jung argued that modern life must be enriched by an awareness of dreams, an appreciation of myth, and a sense of mystery:

‘We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend… But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the ‘discontents’ of civilization. Unfortunately, the mythic side of humankind is given short shrift nowadays. We can no longer create fables. As a result, a great deal escapes us; for it is important and salutary to speak also of incomprehensible things. The more critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes; but the more of the unconscious, the more of myth we are capable of making conscious, the more of life we integrate.’

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

Best wishes,

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