Senscot Bulletin: 12.10.12

Dear members and friends,


            At a recent meeting – half of the folk present – were fiddling with smart phones the whole time. A few years ago this would have been considered impolite (surely it still is) but it is a sign of the times; from being attentive to those in the room – folk want to stay connected to what’s happening everywhere. We assume that the increasing volume of texting, tweeting etc. – signifies improved communication between people – but what if the opposite is the case.
            So much of what humans convey in conversation depends on tone of voice – facial expression – body language etc; this is how we form impressions of people – invest trust – negotiate relationship. Kids, who mostly interact in the cyber world, may fail to develop these critical ‘social cognition’ skills. In an interesting article (linked) – young people explain that the main attraction of texting – is the control it gives them; they say (quite rightly) that a telephone conversation demands a whole different level of psychological energy. Phone calls are now in decline – increasingly considered ‘intrusive’. The aim seems to be – connection without engagement.
            The article references a cartoon; two balding men sitting in a bar – the caption reads: “I used to phone people – then I got into emailing – then texting; now I just ignore everyone”. It made me smile – but what if it’s true; that this non-stop barrage of technological stimulation presages social isolation. A stream of connectedness, a mile wide – but only an inch deep. See,


Carnegie UK Trust has published a report, ‘Future Directions for Rural Development’ by Prof Mark Shucksmith. The short section on Scotland borrows heavily from the work of Fiona Mackenzie on North Harris; her radical paper , ‘The Land Is Ours’ argues that community buy-outs introduce a whole new paradigm of land ownership – a local and collective ethic – rather than corporate and private. See, Shucksmith concludes that our Govt’s Land Reform Review Group – needs to decide whether its options are confined within the dominant discourse of neo-liberalism – or whether it is open to radical new possibilities, asserting alternative values and ethical principles. This is a big one for the SNP – whether in the ‘New Scotland’ the interests of the people who live on the land – will outweigh those of sporty landowners and remote conservation groups. See,


For many of us, Grameen Bank – founded by Muhammed Yunus – has been an inspirational benchmark of social enterprise. You may be aware that (from what looks like envy) the Bangladesh Govt has moved to take control of Grameen. You may wish to add your name to a petition being organised by AVAAZ, a global campaigning organisation with 16 million members in 194 countries. See,


Philip Blond, founder of the Respublica Thinktank, is credited with being the main influence behind David Cameron’s Big Society vision. Blond has now distanced himself from Cameron – saying that the PM has lost his chance to redefine the Tories. See,


Last Friday around 60 folk attended the Senscot Seminar on – a Scottish Community Bank. Some highlights of the discussions that took place included: Charity Bank re-affirming their commitment to work with us to establish a new financial institution in Scotland that would be ‘by and for the sector’; The principle of such an institution has strong support; The precise structure and/or model has to be explored further. Further research into the most appropriate model and the level of demand should be carried out over the coming months; and an understanding that this is a long term venture. See summary of main discussion points. See


This year’s Bill Speirs Annual Memorial Lecture will be delivered by David Hayman on Thu 29 Nov at Glasgow Caley. If you fancy going along, see


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Workingrite, Glasgow Social Enterprise Network, Timespan, Ochil Leisure Enterprises, Stanley Development Trust, Wasps Artists’ Studios, The Development Trusts Association Scotland
EVENTS: Bruncheon! featuring The Sound of Muesli, 13 Oct; Space for Song: Peace Women, 20 Oct; Developing Places and Spaces, 24 Oct; Advancing your Social Enterprise, 30 Oct;
TENDERS: Glasgow Addiction Services Employability Project, Feasibility and Business Appraisal for Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Garden Assistance Scheme in North Lanarkshire. For more details, see


NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Next week, a delegation of SEN members and intermediaries travel over to Northern Ireland to share our expertise and experiences around the development of social enterprise and social enterprise networks. Senscot has been invited (along with Social Enterprise Academy) to act as ‘mentors’ for the establishment of a new umbrella body in Northern Ireland – Social Enterprise Northern Ireland (SENI). As well as visits to local social enterprises, we will participate in a seminar and roundtable discussion at the NI Parliament Building at Stormont – involving government officials and elected representatives. As part of the exchange, our friends from NI will be over here in November to visit SEs in the Edinburgh area and, of course, to join us at our SE Conference and Ceilidh at New Lanark. Places are still available for this year’s Ceilidh. For more info’ on the Ceilidh and more Networks News, see


Senscot’s networks and contacts report an increasing interest around the country in people growing their own food. With thousands of acres of public land lying underused or empty, Scottish Govt is being urged to support self-sufficiency and cutting food miles by backing public orchards by making land available. See Jon Hancox’s article in this week’s Guardian,


A couple of weeks back, the bulletin remarked on the urgent need for ‘lower end’ loan finance within the social enterprise community. Resilient Scotland has been in touch with regard to their new ‘Start & Grow’ Programme – which provides grant and loan packages of up to £60,000 to support development and growth to enterprising community organisations. The ‘Start & Grow’ Programme focuses on 13 specific local authority areas. Funds can be used to help finance capital or revenue costs, including fixed asset purchases, wages, refurbishment, set up and running costs. For more, see


Share issues are very important option for communities which aspire to own their own pub, shop, football club, wind turbine etc. The English govt. has supported a partnership of locality and cooperatives UK to launch a new Community Shares Unit Our own govt. should move quickly to match this service in Scotland.


This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise now in its 25th year and celebrated in style last night with a Ceilidh at Oran Mor in Glasgow’s west end. Community Enterprise Ltd is one of Scotland’s best known social enterprises, providing a personalised support to individuals and groups to build skills and organisational capacity, and nurture development opportunities. Over the years, Douglas and his team have built a reputation of going that ‘extra mile’ to help support the social enterprise community. More recently, they have been developing new services such as Fresh Focus Marketing and now ‘Run Native’ – a new online, e-commerce platform for social enterprises. For more, see


I never found anyone in my life who I wanted to live with – and who wanted to live with me. This was how philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer described humanity’s uneasy balancing act between being together and being apart.
“On a cold winter’s day, a group of porcupines huddled together to stay warm and keep from freezing. But, soon, they felt one another’s quills and moved apart. When the need for warmth brought them closer together again, their quills again forced them apart. They were driven back and forth at the mercy of their discomfort until they found the distance from one another that provided both a maximum of warmth and a minimum of pain.”


That’s all for this week.


Good luck with your adventures


Best wishes,




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