Senscot Bulletin: 12.04.13

Dear members and friends,

 I get on well with my neighbours Brian and Janis – we keep out of each other’s houses, but talk frequently about gardens and practical tasks; ideal really.  Looking for my hand axe on Wednesday, I remember – with some irritation – that Brian hasn’t returned it from ages ago.  I ring his bell and ask for it – it comes out more grumpy than I intended; he looks at me hard for a bit – says he’ll bring it over.
 When he enters my workshop, I pause sawing wood; he places the axe on the bench – crosses and lifts the grass rake from a wall hook – picks up the coarse riddle – asks me to hand him the brad awl – leaves without comment. Left alone – I admit to myself that I had forgotten borrowing these items – that Brian is justifiably angry with me – that I need to apologise.  In his hut he is still glowering – gathering bits and pieces which could have been mine; I tell him I’m sorry – that I want to remain friends – that I want to go back to borrowing things and forgetting – without anyone getting grumpy; we make steady eye contract – then he smiles.
 This human tendency to ‘forget’ our borrowings can cause difficulties.  Visiting an old friend recently I spot a fond remembered book of mine on her shelf – but she swears it’s hers; well it is now.  Anatole France said "Never lend books – no-one returns them; most of the books in my library were borrowed."

We still have copies of ‘Kindness’ – Laurence’s latest selection of bulletin intros (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see

During Margaret Thatcher’s reign (1979-1990) I was a front line community worker – she came to represent everything we were fighting against.  With open disdain for the public realm – she championed marketplace success as the basis of the good society – the ‘winner takes all’ ideology which endures today.  The left wing Compass online is surprisingly generous this week about what the Left can learn from her achievements.  Thatcher is credited with liberating Britain from many economic ills – not least undemocratic union power.  But as Germany and the Nordic countries have shown – this did not necessitate the disastrous squandering of social cohesion.  She was, by instinct and inclination, combative – often to the extent of vindictiveness.  Her legacy is of public division – private selfishness and the cult of greed; as Monday’s Guardian leader says – together, these shackle more of the human spirit than they free.  See,

The Scottish Community Alliance brings together 17 of our leading community based networks; through its fortnightly briefings – ‘Local People Leading’ – it is the main focus and campaigning body for Scotland’s community sector.  On the 26th April, representatives from all these networks are gathering in the Scottish Parliament’s main chamber and committee rooms to host a major event called ‘The Future is Local’.  Capacity is limited to 300 – tickets are all gone (a reserve list is open). The programme of workshops is called ‘The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas’.  See,

Big Society Capital (BSC) is trying to stretch the meaning of Social Investment to include private companies – under a variety of guises.  Some commentators (including the piece linked) support the BSC line – call for ‘the more the merrier’ – regardless of values.  Senscot lines up with those who believe, that allowing a broad and vague definition of SE, might admit those who would damage our sector.  The football authorities have a good phrase: ‘Bringing the game into disrepute.’  See,

Reading a good book by Susan Cain called ‘Quiet: The Power of the Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’.  Depending on which research you read – between a third and a half of us are introverts.  Western culture – particularly the USA – is dominated by the extrovert ideal.  This, impressively researched, book legitimises and celebrates those people who are naturally quiet, serious, sensitive.  Here’s a liberating TED talk from the author – 20 minutes.  See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Edinburgh University Students Association, Partners in Advocacy, Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, LEAP, Peebles CAN, Foundation Scotland, Living Streets, Firstport, One World Shop, UK Green Investment Bank
EVENTS: Making Your Asset More Sustainable, 11 Apr; Youth Enterprise Nation, 16 Apr; Legal Structures, 17 Apr; Out of the Blue Arts Market, 20 Apr; Build your social enterprise in a day, 24 Apr;
TENDERS: Provision of Training to Fife Council, Other Public and Third Sector Officers on Welfare Reform and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Skills Partnership – Stakeholder Engagement. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) is open again for another round of applications from third sector employers. Last year, a good number of SEN members were able to access the programme, providing job opportunities for many young people in their respective communities. This year, CJS aims to create 1,000 jobs for young people between the ages of 16-24 again through third sector employers. The opportunities will be available between May 2013 – March 2014 – with host organisations receiving circa £5k per vacancy. Deadline for applications is Tuesday 30 April 2013. For more, see  For more Networks News, see

The Young Foundation is running a new programme, funded by the BIG Lottery, to deliver ‘design-led’ change for 15 third sector organisations (including SEs) in Scotland. It involves support to organisations in planning and organising people, infrastructure, communication and components of a service to improve and make it more driven by the needs of its beneficiaries. Eligible organisations need to have a turnover of between £350k and £5m. For more, see

We mentioned a few weeks back that Barry Ayre will be stepping down as chair of Firstport in the summer –  after 6 years at the helm. Firstport is now beginning the search for a new chair to lead the organisation into its next stage of development – closing date for applications is 30th April. If you’re interested or know someone who could fit the bill, see . Firstport has also been shortlisted for the RBS Inspire Enterprise initiative, which funds organisations working with young people to explore enterprise, develop their skills and start up in business. The final cut will be down to a public vote – which takes place between Monday 15th April and Tuesday 23rd April. Cast your vote for Firstport here,

Another first for our pals at KibbleWorks who, last week, announced their plans to open Scotland’s first electric Go-Kart arena. The new venture will create 30 new jobs for local youngsters as well as providing up to 50 training opportunities at any one time. All being well, the Centre will be up and running by October 2013. For more, see

Scottish Council for Single Homeless has been on the go for almost 40 years. They are re-launching as Homeless Action Scotland and are hosting a conference at the Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh on 18th April. For more, see

This week’s bulletin profiles Scotland first reuse and recycling project for building materials. The Yooz project started in the summer of 2009 and has, during its first couple of years, diverted almost 2,000 tonnes from landfill. It has also evolved into an exciting social enterprise that focuses on the environment, education and increasing people’s employability – with all profits being channelled into parent charity, Active4All. Yooz provides a collection service for construction companies, businesses, SEs and charities, schools, councils etc. right across the central belt. For more, see

The Herald Magazine at the weekend carried an interview with William McIlvanney which I enjoyed.  Hugh MacDonald took him to a Glasgow Italian restaurant. 

 "…One of my reasons for wanting a parliament is that Scotland voted Labour for generations but still got a Tory government.  I want the socialist dimension of this country to have more power but there isn’t a Labour Party anymore.  The NHS, along with the emancipation of women, was one of the greatest acts of the 20th century yet there is now a process to dismantle it.  In Scotland there survives some amount of mutual concern which I think is the key to a healthy society.  There is also a refusal to be dazzled by money and status.  I believe in people.  My heroes are the people and I still believe the sort of values that I talk about in Docherty survive, maybe in a piecemeal way.  These involve a compassion that understands and celebrates that interdependence of people while emphasising the need for the individual to discover then walk a true path." See full interview,

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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