Senscot Bulletin: 11-11-2005


Dear members and friends,

It’s been a tense and tetchy few days.  On Wednesday I awoke 3am from a terrible nightmare – the bad men had come for me.  When this happens I put the light on and read.  Philip Marlowe always calms me ‘cos he’s not scared of the bad guys.  Then yesterday on the train to Glasgow I suddenly felt very ill.  Dizzy, sweating, nausea.  ‘This is it!’ I thought. Terror. It passed over – within an hour I was eating a bacon roll – but I was left with this thought; that the biggest difference between people is not wealth or social class or education; it’s between the sick and healthy.
 I always assumed that the passing years would bring hard-won peace and calm.  T’aint necessarily so.  The moods which sweep me up and bite me are as violent as ever.  When the bad moods come; fear; anger; foreboding; I try not to act on them – wait them out.  Perhaps all progress is the overcoming of fear. But there are good moods too – loving moods which bring joy and tenderness.  I find it amazing that I can be 65 and know so little about myself; about the churning of all these feelings; like someone we meet on a ship – get to know well – but don’t really know at all.  T.S Eliot wrote ‘Do not let me hear of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly.  The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility; humility is endless.’  This feels right; humility as wisdom.

England’s Social Economy strategy has been in place since 2002.  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is now in the process of reviewing and updating it through monthly meetings of a Review Working Group.  This link ( will take you to the membership of the group where you will see that it comprises 8 representatives from government departments and 13 representatives from the social enterprise sector.  It is interesting to contrast this with the Scottish arrangements.  Thanks to effective lobbying by our own Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC), Scotland is to get a Social Enterprise Strategy by next June. (4 years after England).  Our working group comprises representatives of 5 Executive departments with no representation from our sector.  They intend to ‘link closely’ with the Social Economy Advisory Board – but no-one knows when this will come into being.  What a ‘cowed hodden doon’ people we are.  Why do we accept this disrespect?

The advance of Social Enterprise in Scotland is inhibited by the general public unawareness of what we do.  This ignorance is particularly telling in the fields of journalism and private business.  For this reason, the arrival of Antonia Swinson at the SSEC is an inspired appointment.  Antonia is a successful journalist with extensive private sector contacts who is passionate about social enterprise.  Exactly the ambassador our movement needs at this time.  In the coming years there will be increased opportunities for commercial collaborations between social enterprise and mainstream business.  The Community Action Network has produced a guide called ‘Match Winners’ which give examples of such successful joint ventures.

One of Senscot’s earliest profiles was on Theatre Nemo (, a campaigning Theatre Company set up to give a voice to social issues with a special focus on mental health. Isabel McCue writes to tell us of a pioneering piece of work they are involved with in Barlinnie Prison. Following a successful pilot last year, they have now just started on a new three-year programme. See the pilot report:

Last week we introduced a new look to the Senscot website homepage. We’ve now included a location map for organisations listed on the Directory. This can be done for any organisation listed on the site along as they provide us with their postcode.

NOTICES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 103 vacancies, incl. posts with: Scottish Business in the Community, DSL Ltd, Open Door Fife, Cross Reach, Enable, Children 1st, CrossReach, Reeltime Music, Quarriers, Fresh Start, Gift

EVENTS: Edinburgh Local Social Economy partnership,  Launch of ‘A New Way of Doing Business’, 17 Nov; Social Enterprise Academy, ‘Are we there yet?’, 23 Nov; SCA Scotland, 3rd Annual Scottish Lecture, 23 Nov; VSO, Eight Ways to Change the World, 26 Nov.


SPECIAL OFFER: Interested in being part of an incubator in Edinburgh for progressive initiatives, offering flexible work and meeting space to agents of social change? Visit

Senscot’s Czech Fan Nadia Johanisova has a book reviewed in this month’s Resurgence magazine. ‘Living in the Cracks’ is a quest for economic alternatives to both communism and capitalism. The review, which I really enjoyed, is by Molly Scott Cato, a lecturer in social economy and the Green Party Speaker on Economics. The book is available from Amazon.

This week’s announcements from the Scottish Land Fund included the first ever purchase of an estate by an existing community initiative. In 2003, the North Harris Trust purchased the North Harris Estate. This development sees the Trust purchase the Loch Seaforth Estate that had been part of the same estate up until 1994.See

Interesting news item on Italian footballer Damiano Tomassi, who has asked his club, Roma, to pay him the minimum wage – about £1013 per month. After a year out injured, he said that the salary is enough for his needs and he was still earning more than many ordinary Italians. Last week he returned to the Roma midfield alongside Francesco Totti. Totti earns £8m a year.

This week’s bulletin profiles an organisation in Aberdeen that has won a unique contract with 5 Housing Associations in Grampian to supply furniture for their tenants. Since 1984, Instant Neighbour has been providing an invaluable range of services of practical help, advice and support to some of the poorest and vulnerable people in Aberdeen. Over the last couple of years, Instant Neighbour has been actively seeking to move onto a more commercial and independent footing. This new contract provides them with an opportunity to do so. For info’, see

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers gave the commencement address at Stanford University’s graduation last June.  I found the text on the Authentic Business website – found it most inspiring.  Here’s a sample:
‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.  And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.  So keep looking until you find it.  Don’t settle.  Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.’  You can read the whole speech here. It’s uplifting.

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

Best wishes,

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