Senscot Bulletin 11.11.11

Dear members and friends,

A photo hangs in my front room – of myself and Marilyn Munroe – in a night club in Las Vegas – watching Frank Sinatra perform; we both look about 40.  It’s a fake of course – my face has been expertly lit – substituted for that of Dean Martin; it was made in 1980 – but it looks real.  My strong attraction to MM was not, I believe, only about glamour – I identified with her vulnerability – her porosity.  She famously remarked that in a roomful of people, she could quickly identify those who – like herself – had been fostered – the ‘looked after’ kids.
 I was reminded of Marilyn this week – reading the reviews of Jeanette Winterson’s latest volume of memoirs; ‘Why be Happy when you could be Normal?’  Winterson’s birth mother gave her up for adoption – her adoptive parents were a disaster.  She writes; "Adoption drops you into the story after it has started.  You have to invent parts of the narrative – of yourself.  The feeling that something is missing, never, ever leaves you – and it can’t and it shouldn’t, because something really is missing."  The reviews say that the book is harrowing – but that it is brave and beautiful. 
 Visitors are impressed with my Marilyn photo – "Gosh – did you know MM?", when I tell them it’s a fake they seem disappointed – want it to be true.  Norma Jean herself was fond of saying "It’s all make believe, isn’t it?", perhaps ‘looked after’ children find it harder than most to distinguish the ‘real’ bits. Spot the phony,

When we first heard about the proposed development of a ‘sustainable village’ of 1,500 homes near Aberdeen, we were frankly sceptical. Kincluny is to be built on ‘social enterprise principles’ – with a fully integrated Development Trust from the outset – carbon neutral targets – building social capital….’Hold on’, I thought – this is the well researched, window dressing of a private developer – going for a major planning consent. But the more enquiries we’ve made, the more authentic this project seems. The key individuals – developers and trust members (some known to us) – are sincere in their intention. If Kincluny happens – it could well become an international model for an eco-social living environment. See,

Some readers may remember Alan Sinclair as the founder of the Wise Group – as one of Scotland’s leading social entrepreneurs. He is now one of our leading social policy thinkers – notably on early years policy and practice. Here he turns his attention to the challenges of our aging population – how the state could respond. One of the most sensible pieces I’ve read on the subject. See,

Great result last week for Sports SEN member Ochil Leisure Enterprises (OLE) who got agreement from Clackmannanshire Council to sell them Alva Swimming Pool for the sum of £1.  Over recent months, OLE  has campaigned tirelessly, getting local people, businesses and councillors onside. In addition to the sale, Clackmannanshire Council is also giving OLE a ‘sum of not less than £100,000’ (i.e. the sum identified for demolition costs) to kick start its operation as a community facility for the benefit of the local community. See more,
A new report from the University of the Highlands and Islands – claims that Scotland’s flagship Land Reform Act (2003) has failed to spark the intended shake up of land ownership. Andy Wightman, who campaigned for the Act, says the process is too bureaucratic. Rosanna Cunningham, the Environment Minister, has agreed that relevant areas of the Act need immediate reform. See,
For the past decade, I’ve subscribed to Resurgence Magazine – a well presented forum for discussing environmental and social issues. Some of the content is too arty/spiritual/trendy for me – but I’m glad this virtual community exists – where Ghandi meets St Francis – meets Schumacher etc. Since 1975, the curator of this ‘space’ has been social entrepreneur Satish Kumar – who will be visiting Scotland on10th December – guest of Neil Walker’s excellent ‘Edinburgh International Centre of Spirituality and Peace’. See details,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Scottish Parliament, Social Enterprise Academy, Equal Futures, Volunteer Centre East Dunbartonshire, PlanB Money & Debt Advice Support Services, Royal Caledonian Curling Club, Quarriers
EVENTS: Crafting the Arts: Going for Gold Conference, 19 Nov; Adding Value: Creativity Applied, 21 Nov; Educational Entrepreneurship, 24 Nov, Social Care Ideas Factory Meet Up, 1 Dec; A WinterLight, 3 Dec; Consensus Decision Making, 26 Jan;
TENDERS: Sub-Contractor and Supplier Packages for Refurbishment of Braidwood House, Murray Royal Hospital, NHS Tayside – General Patient Furniture, Work Development Network Coordinator and Money and Welfare Advisory Services.

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This time next week the Ceilidh will be done for another year. We’re delighted that all rooms are now fully booked. The programme has been refreshed a bit and we hope that it will give folk a good balance between making new connections, learning about what’s happening in other areas and, of course, having a bit of fun. In addition to the usual cash prizes at the Dragons’ Den, there will also be prizes offer by Rocket Science, the Social Enterprise Academy and Senscot Legal. SoLoCo has been organising crowd-funding but we’ll also be doing a ‘whip-round’ on the day – so make sure you some ‘folding stuff’ handy – we want to beat last year’s £700 total. See flyer and delegate list  For more Networks News, see

Firstport has announced that Karen McGregor will be taking on the role of Interim Director following last week’s announcement that Naomi Johnston is moving on from the organisation at the end of November.  See Firstport statement,

On November 8, the UK Parliament approved changes to the Credit Union Act 1979, which will free up the sector to compete on a more level playing field with banks and other lenders.  The growth of the credit union movement in the UK – has, until now, been hampered by outdated restrictions.

More good news for a couple of SEN members – this time in Aberdeen. The Foyer and CFINE have won the contract to providing the on-site catering at the new £48m Robert Gordon University in the city. The contract has been awarded by Miller Construction and is expected to last around 100 weeks. Throughout the contract, there will be around 250 personnel on site each day – all on the look out for some breakfast, lunch or even an afternoon snack. Congratulations to both the Foyer and CFINE. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise, based in Dunfermline, that is driven by a passion for history, walking, education and drama. Forth Pilgrim offers educational tours for primary and secondary schools and wider community groups which recreate the life of a pilgrim through storytelling and drama, learning about how our ancestors survived during medieval days. Forth Pilgrim is an approved Outdoor Education provider for Fife Council’s Education Department. For more, see

Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy – is a Scot – and is the first woman to hold this position.  I love this poem, ‘Water’ – which acknowledges three generations of her family needing each other – in ordinary ways.
 "Your last word was water, which I poured in a hospice plastic cup, held to your lips – your small sip, half-smile, sigh – then, in the chair beside you, fell asleep.  Fell asleep for three hours, only to waken, thirsty, hear then see a magpie warn in a bush outside – dawn so soon – and swallow from your still-full cup.  Water.  The times I’d call as a child for a drink, till you’d come, sit on the edge of the bed in the dark, holding my hand, just as we held hands now and you died.  A good last word.  Nights since I’ve cried, but gone to my own child’s side with a drink, watched her gulp it down then sleep.  Water.  What a mother brings through darkness still to her parched daughter."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail

Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210