Dear members and friends,
Watching cities burn this week – the ferocity of youngsters on the streets – I was reminded of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’; A group of ordinary English schoolboys is marooned on a tropical island; without adult supervision – without discipline, love, and social structure – they quickly degenerate into a tribe of murderous savages.
Golding is making the point that civilization is only a veneer – that under the surface of human nature is a self-centred and highly dangerous animal – capable of killing its own kind, for trivial reasons. He is not referring to some remote ‘them’ – an angry, disconnected ‘underclass’ running riot on the streets – he’s talking about you and me – every one of us. I find this perspective too pessimistic – humankind is also capable of unselfishness – of great dignity and compassion; but the events of this week serve to remind us how fragile the whole thing is.
When ‘Lord of the Flies’ came to be filmed in 1963, director Peter Brook thought he would have a hard time coaxing his boy actors to abandon their civility – forget their table manners – behave as savages. He needn’t have worried – they needed very little encouragement – this is what he later wrote about it: ”My experience showed me that the only falsification in Golding’s fable is the length of time the descent to savagery takes…. the complete catastrophe could occur within a long weekend”.
It is increasingly clear that the Westminster Govt. has the conscious intention of relaxing the meaning of social enterprise so as to include all manner of private sector businesses – a confused ‘guddle’ of hybrid models. If our movement at this time fails to challenge this fundamental debasement of our brand, we run the risk of becoming a subset of the private sector. The Morning Star carried a good piece last week about the major private heath care provider ‘Circle’; by virtue of being 49% owned by its employees it calls itself a ‘social enterprise’. But Circle is 51% owned by some very profit hungry private investors – just one subsidiary in a complex corporate structure that spans the Virgin Isles and Jersey. Senscot will host a seminar on 30th September to look at how we can defend the boundary between real and bogus social enterprises. https://senscot.net/seminar.php
Scottish Govt has promised a ‘Community Empowerment and Renewal bill’ during this parliament – and civil servant Alasdair McKinley is doing the rounds collecting ideas. This is a great opportunity to re-vitalise Scottish local democracy. The attachment is a press release from the Third Sector Research Centre – outlining recent work called ‘Mapping the Big Society’. Interesting concept of the ‘civic core’ – that minority of activists/ volunteers who contribute extensively in any community. The research shows that, in England and Wales, these are largely middle class folk. Similar mapping in Scotland is to follow. I sense that pattern is different. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11358
The English company Social Finance Ltd (SF) is well connected – has received an incredible £11.5m from the Lottery to develop Social Impact Bonds. It’s interesting that SF is established as a private limited company – 3 founder shareholders. Private sector company – almost entirely grant funded – interesting model?
CBS Network and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are putting together an archive – The Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland), to be housed at the GCU Library. This week, they received a special collection from John Pearce including archive papers and documents on Community Development, Community and Social Enterprise and Social Accounting/Audit, assembled throughout John’s working life. They are keen to attract further papers and documents that will contribute to this becoming the leading reference point for the history and future development of policy and practice in social enterprise in Scotland and beyond. They are looking to raise £30k for an archivist to ‘jump start’ this work. See more, http://senscot.org/docs/pressrelease-090811.pdf
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: Social Firms Scotland; Garvald Edinburgh; Social Investment Scotland; Edinburgh Young Carers Project; Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre; Edinburgh Cyrenians; St Pauls & St Georges Church
EVENTS: Mainstreaming Service User Involvement, 30 Aug, Tools, Tips & Techniques for Involvement, 31 Aug, CEiS Annual Conference, 7 Sep, Measuring Social Impact, 21 Sep, Facilitation Training, 22 Sep
TENDERS: Supply of Fresh Fruit / Vegetables to Fife Council, Care and Repair/Handyperson Service for North Lanarkshire Council, Proposed Re-Roofing of Primary School in Kilwinning and Energy Efficiency Improvement Works in Fife.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Over the month of August, staff/ from the ‘Just Enterprise’ consortium will attending up to 8 different SEN meetings. The consortium supports the enterprising third sector in Scotland. Supported by the Scottish Government, it offers bespoke services in business support, start-up, procurement and learning with a particular focus on social enterprises who show the greatest potential to grow and develop sustainably – this could be in terms of income, employment or contracts secured. The consortium partners include CEiS, HISEZ, Firstport, the Social Enterprise Academy, Forth Sector Development, Community Enterprise Ltd, CEMVO Scotland, Lanarkshire Enterprise Services, ReadyforBusiness and Inspiralba. For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=203
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is launching a new Coalfield Community Challenge Programme to support people with imaginative and innovative ideas that create jobs and respond to worklessness in Scotland’s coalfield areas. They are looking for 10 would be entrepreneurs, living and working in former coal mining areas, who want to launch their own new social enterprise. See further details, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11353
The additional £3m made available by Scottish Govt to SIS (Social Investment Scotland) is now in place and applications are invited from next week from social enterprises looking to expand. See
‘Your Call’ is a free telephone counselling service for disabled people – where all the trained counsellors are themselves disabled. It’s the first such service and it’s available all across the country. See more,
The Scottish Community Alliance (www.scottishcommunityalliance.org.uk) this week announced that Lyn Ewing is to be its first chairperson. Lyn is currently chair of Govanhill Community Development Trust and, in June, was awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to the success of Glasgow’s community-controlled housing movement. Looks like a great appointment for the Alliance. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11363
If, like me, you’re interested in community-owned shops, you’ll want to know about the seminar Tor Justad is hosting in Inverness on 8th Sept. He’s got Peter Couchman, CEO of sector leaders, the Plunkett Foundation; and Helge Schei – the sector leader in Norway. The seminar is timed to facilitate travel to and from Inverness. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11357
This week’s bulletin profiles Hillcrest Enterprises (HE) in Dundee – the social enterprises arm of the Hillcrest Group. HE provides a wide range of services to the community that includes community based training facilities for apprentices and the long term unemployed; a maintenance service for housing repairs and improvements; agency services to other third sector organisations; and social advice in conjunction with local government and other organizations. For more, see
The Westminster Govt is right to prioritise restoring order to our streets – but they mustn’t put the lid back on and just walk away. Camila Batmanghelidjh – founder of the Kids Company wrote in the Independent on Monday, ” I want to start by saying that violence and looting can never be justified – but those of us working at street level are not surprised by these events.” I have visited Kids Company – seen their work – Camila knows these youngsters. Her piece warns that many of them feel cut adrift from society.
”It’s not one occasional attack on dignity, it’s a repeated humiliation, being continuously dispossessed in a society rich with possessions. Young, intelligent citizens of the ghetto seek an explanation for why they are at the receiving end of bleak Britain, condemned to a darkness where their humanity is not even valued enough to be helped. Savagery is a possibility within us all. Some of us have been lucky enough not to have to call upon it for survival; others, exhausted from failure, can justify resorting to it.”
See full article, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11360
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210