Senscot Bulletin 13-02-2004



Dear members and friends,


I hear of the death aged 77 of the Trombonist Milton
Bernhart.  If you love the music of
Frank Sinatra, as I do, you’ll know his work with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra –
their 1976 recording of Cole Porter’s, ‘I’ve got you under my skin’.  In this arrangement, Riddle creates an
instrumental interlude which raises in steps to a trombone solo, which blasts
the song onto another level.  When I
first heard these sounds they blew me away. 
I was 18 years old  – an
unsettled student for the priesthood. 
It was a life moment of clarity. 
Milt Bernhart’s trombone blew open a door – showing the way I had to go.

            The boss of
the seminary was a wise old priest (called Clement Tigar).  Unsurprised by my decision – no attempted
persuasion – he told me kindly but firmly to tell no one – no goodbyes – to
leave next morning while the community were in chapel.  He also said that students frequently asked
to return.  That if I wrote such a
letter – he would not respond.  I took
all of five days to conclude that the ways of the world were too ‘bare knuckle’
for me – that I wanted back to cloisters – compline – community life.  I wrote a long pleading letter – and got no

            I was
always too much ‘of this world’ to take final vows as a priest – but the first
time I realised this was Milt Bernhart’s solo. 
“My heart in hiding startled by the music.  The achieve of, the mastery of it.”



As promised a gushing letter has emerged from the DTI and
the Junior Minister, Nigel Griffiths, in support of social enterprise.  It’s worth a quick read. (
Let’s not kid ourselves: our sector in Scotland doesn’t enjoy the same support
– which doesn’t mean to say that we don’t still lead the field.  Social enterprise is deeply engrained in our
Scottish culture – it’s only our politicians – a rump of Labour municipalists
which is both hostile and condescending to our work. SCVO, Senscot and several
other organisations have sent a letter to Margaret Curran expressing concern
about the continuing delay of the Social Economy Action Plan.  (



Mel Young and Tricia Hughes founded the Big Issue in
Scotland in 1993 – among other things they were instrumental in the launch of
Senscot.  Attended the party last week
to celebrate Tricia’s work – she’s decided to move on to new things.  It was a moving occasion – particularly the
tributes from vendors who have themselves moved on.  Mel has chaired Senscot since the beginning – now he himself
wants to focus his work – so Senscot is looking for a new Chair – we’ve drafted
a rough person specification – interested parties are invited to contact Aidan
for a chat.  (



Senscot is frequently asked why Local Enterprise Companies don’t
treat social enterprises on a level par with conventional businesses.  This week Senscot has received a query about
a project on the island of Lismore.  Can
anyone offer a reason? (



Payment is not a condition of receiving the Senscot Network
Bulletin – but in 2003 it cost approximately £22 per person to produce 50
weekly editions and maintain our website. We invite donations for 2004 from
individuals of £10, £25 or £50 – and from organisations of £50 or £100.  Money collected is ring fenced for new
Senscot projects. Please send a cheque payable to Senscot, 54 Manor Place,
Edinburgh, EH3 7EH or use a credit card at our donations page. This week 13
people have donated £517.00.  If you need an invoice contact (



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 40 vacancies including Positive Action in Housing,
Roxburgh Association of Voluntary Service, Glasgow Braendam Link, CHAI,
Edinburgh Cyrenians, Midlothian Healthy Living Centre


EVENTS: Training for Transformation workshops, Fife,
Feb-March; ‘Testing your idea: developing a social enterprise in the catering
field’, Edinburgh, 26 Feb; Galgael Event, Celtic Fringe Festival, Govan, 26
Feb; ‘Social Economy – Why Do We Need It?’ seminar/surgery, Edinburgh, 26 Feb;
SURF seminar on Leadership and Regeneration, Edinburgh, Feb 26; Earthship
seminars in Spain, April.


For details on these and more:


NEWS: For the latest social enterprise news stories, see



Good interest in the CRNS event on 7th April in
Stirling which Senscot is co-hosting. Further details will be available
shortly.  If you’re interested contact



This week, the bulletin profiles a community-driven project
on the Isle of Bute – the Bute Outdoor Centre. The Centre will be the first
purpose-built, fully accessible activities holiday facility of its size and
scope to be built in Scotland, and the first in the UK outside of Northern
Ireland to be a community enterprise. The Centre will provide an accessible
holiday centre that focuses on people with disabilities, their families and
carers, and will be run on the principle of integration. The Centre will also
provide a facility and resource for the local community. The Centre will be
located on the site of the former Craig Bhiorach farm that has been made
available to the project by Bute Estates. For further info’, see (project profiles).



Gerry Hassan writes, ‘You might want to mention the ongoing
Demos Scotland 2020 programme.  The
programme which is addressing what kind of future Scotland we want, aims to
hold a variety of events and discussions this year with the aim of a big
conversation.  In this spirit we are
very open to suggestions from people involved in Senscot and the social economy
who can contact me at:



Kenneth Roy is the guiding spirit behind the Institute of
Contemporary Scotland which has just published ‘State of Scotland’ the first of
what is promised to be an annual series of essays that, “holds a mirror to the
condition of modern Scotland.”  Michael
Russell reviews this collection in The Herald – bemoans a lack of new
vision.  (



Found this inspirational quote from Vaclav Havel, the poet
and President of the Czech Republic: “Either we have hope within us or we
don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, and it’s not dependent on some
observation of the world. Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation
of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is
anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. Hope in this deep and powerful sense,
is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in
enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to
work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to
succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the
conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something
makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is Hope, above all, which gives
the strength to live and continually try new things.”


That’s all for this week – the network is growing.

Best wishes,



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