Senscot Bulletin: 11.10.19

Dear members and friends,

The weekend newspapers included items from Billy Connelly and Clive James; the connection in my mind is that they both announced to the world, some time ago, that they were soon to die.  Wealthy enough to live permanently in temperate sunshine – surrounded by the best healthcare in the world – it’s no great surprise that they have both, now, revised their leaving dates.

Although the boys are a bit embarrassed, to still be with us, I compare their end of life thoughts to my own: from balmy Florida, the ‘Big Yin’ misses the curry of Glasgow’s amazing Indian restaurants.  More literate, James extolls the poetry of Philip Larkin and other favourites writers.  I would choose fish and chips as a lifelong favourite – and, for a treat, Frank Sinatra singing with full orchestra.

I’m roughly the same age as James and Connelly – and believe that by 80 years we should be fairly philosophical about our ending – perhaps even relieved; and I will definitely withdraw from public gaze to get it done.  As someone who enjoyed writing a blog for 20 years, I may leave a letter of farewell to the world; it would include humour – try to sound unafraid – but even this feels too public.  I’ll thank a few individuals who shared my life with kindness – but my departure will be strictly private – perhaps by my own arrangement.  In the hour I die, so will 6316 others (on average) – it’s not a big deal.  The poet Larkin saw that it’s only by our love that we will be remembered.


In my younger ‘action man’ days, I was instinctively anti-establishment – my ‘natural’ position was to challenge convention; our present PM – and his ‘mentor’ Trump – have changed this; I see now that ‘disruption’ can be as much about ego and personal ambition.  This extraordinary article in the New York Times, argues that, the innately conservative financial industry of the City of London – is coming to regard Corbyn’s Labour Party as a more stable custodian of Britain’s economic future that Johnson’s recklessness: the generational damage that would be caused by a no deal Brexit.  Article’s a well-argued anticipation of the forthcoming election.


In 2012, with 800 others, I attended the initial conference from which the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) emerged; a coming-together of independence and left-wing politics (including the Greens). This year’s RIC Conference is on 26th October in Glasgow with an impressive line-up of speakers.


The attendance at last Saturday’s march for independence in Edinburgh – All Under One Banner (AUOB) – was important – to signify the momentum of the campaign – but it was difficult to get a number; estimates vary according to the politics of the estimator. This two-minute video captures the general scale.


I trust the journalism of Irish Times columnist, Fintan O’Toole; in this Guardian article he references the deep history that led to the border in Ireland and the living memory of the Troubles. He calls his piece, “The Irish border is a matter of life and death, not technology”.


With all its irritations, I watched Darren McGarvey’s ‘Alternative Tour of Scotland’ on Tuesdays; he got ‘closer’ to people in crisis – on the edge – than other TV presenters. But as a ‘state socialist’, McGarvey doesn’t really ‘get’ our third sector or community infrastructure: This blog, on the ‘Rethinking Poverty’ site – argues that it’s time to recognise the power of communities.


From a long interview with Billy Connolly in Sunday’s Observer – the master of ‘disruptive humour’.

“There’s a family rule to WhatsApp each other pictures of dinner if they are in a restaurant”. Beyond those pictures, Connolly’s relationship with social media is “deliberately sparse”. He has a phone and he can do email. He doesn’t know what Facebook does. He went on Twitter once to promote a show. It was like the whole world turned into the Scottish tabloid press. “Straight away, people just started attacking me, challenging me to a fight. Guys I’d never set eyes on saying they would beat the shit out of me. I thought ‘F##k this’. It was like being in jail.” He erased it sharpish.

Last year, Senscot and Glasgow SEN ran a Pockets & Prospects Programme (P&P) – bringing social enterprise activities and services into the heart of communities in the city to help tackle loneliness and social isolation. The Senscot/Glasgow SEN Programme saw seven local social enterprises link up with six community-based anchor organisations to provide services and activities to over 350 individuals. On the back of the success of last year’s programme, our 2019 Programme – on the same theme – is looking to build on the links established last year – and develop further the ties between local SEs and community anchor organisations in addressing the problems of loneliness and social isolation in communities across the city. A session showcasing the Senscot/Glasgow SEN Programme and other P&P Programmes will be part of our SE Conference on 25th/26th November at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld. If you’d like to join us, please see Draft Programme and Registration Form.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.

With our Conference this year focusing on Community Wealth Building, this week’s Scottish Community Alliance Briefings draws our attention to PB Scotland’s International Conference on 23rd October. Interest in participatory budgeting (PB) is reflected in the fact that the Conference is already sold out – but you can sign up for a waiting list. Delegates will hear about examples in Scotland – but also from many other countries where PB is viewed as widely accepted approach and has been mainstreamed for years


As part of the Just Enterprise programme, the Social Enterprise Academy will be running a new, accredited Chief Executive Leadership programme. Leading any organisation can be a tough and, at times, lonely role. This programme will look to support organisation leaders in our sector to build a strong and supportive peer learning community – providing an opportunity for participants to take time out and focus on their own leadership.  As the attached flyer states – ‘the single most important determinant of the success of any organisation is the quality of its leadership’. See full details.


On the back of the launch of Glasgow’s own SE Action Plan, Glasgow SEN is hosting an event later this month – 31st October at the Pearce Institute – which will see the launch of its Social Enterprise in Glasgow 2019 Report. Drawn from the national SE Census 2019, the Report shows a 10% growth in the numbers of social enterprises since 2017 – as well as providing a comprehensive insight into the Glasgow SE landscape and its economic impact in the city. See full details.


Frontline News: Nice tribute by West Lothian Council for Fiona Pearson on her retirement from West Lothian SEN (WLSEN). During her six years at WLSEN, Fiona helped build a network of 66 local SEs that, between them, provide 265 f/t jobs; 250 p/t jobs, and support over 1200 volunteers. Best wishes to Fiona:

Good story in the National highlighting the wide-ranging aspects to the work of  Glasgow Wood Recycling;  Deadline for LaunchMe Programme is fast approaching – noon on Monday 21st October;

CCI Scotland, last year’s Scottish SE of the Year, has produced this excellent video showcasing their work with the Clydesdale Food Growing Network.


This week’s bulletin profiles a CIC, based in Haddington, East Lothian, that specialises in teaching valuable transferable skills in repair, re-designing and upcycling of furniture to vulnerable adults and young people within its community. Wee Red Upcycles CIC aims to build confidence, self-esteem and break down barriers to support people to reach their full potential through a creative process. In doing so, they look to reduce social isolation, mental health issues and, at the same time, improve individuals’ employability skills. All items used are diverted from landfill and they deliver workshops and training courses to vulnerable groups and the wider community – as well as to schools, third sector and private organisations. 100% of any profit is re-invested into Wee Red Upcycles and the work it does.