Senscot Bulletin: 13-04-2007

Dear members and friends,

Some Hibs players have told the chairman Rod Petrie that they are unhappy with their manager John Collins’ style because he shouted at them after Saturday’s game at Dunfermline. Now I want to shout at them too. Can you imagine how Alex Ferguson would respond to this nonsense? My intolerance surprises me because I myself have been a rebel all my days; school – the family business – the church – not for me – move on. Even after I found my niche as a community worker, I sailed mostly as a privateer against the tide. Over the years occasional events predicted a successful career – but I always managed to head them off. In the 1970s for instance, I was appointed to a Government Committee – but in the end refused to sign the final report – back to row Z. No complaints from me. I’ve enjoyed doing what I wanted to do – some bonny fechts.
 At a recent gathering I noted that some of my former warrior comrades are now citizens of substance – I felt envy. Compared to poor people I realise how privileged my own life is, but some things wouldn’t feel comfortable. A true rebel can’t retire – it’s a basic attitude. To go for wealth – a gong – rank etc would be to dishonour years of lost causes – or is this just sour grapes?  Often wonder what makes some people ‘outsiders’. Is it simply a life which starts badly – and never recovers?

Muhammad Yunus is probably the most successful social business entrepreneur in the world but what makes him truly unique is that he is also a brilliant theoretical economist who has a vision of a world economy which includes a social stock market; global capitalism working for good. If you have not yet read his paper ‘social business entrepreneurs are the solution’ I would recommend you take 10 minutes – and get inspired:

The issue of how to get serious investment into social enterprises is beginning to bear fruit. A report produced jointly by NEF (New Economics Foundation) and CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) called  ‘ Developing a social equity capital market’ is the best I’ve read on this subject and moves significantly towards Yunus’ vision of  a market mechanism. I particularly like the dozen clear ‘next steps’.

Recently our trade press has carried articles about the emergence of new social venture intermediaries on the ground – BIGInvest has lent to 10 social businesses. CAN and Permira’s Breakthrough pilot has taken on 5. In Scotland, Senscot has been talking with other intermediaries about a pilot that would select and help 4-6 businesses with potential. The Big Lottery Scotland has also declared an interest in entering this market and there are some signs of private sector interest from venture philanthropists. The more the merrier. I presume that the Venture Funds which pick winners will flourish. The ones which pick duds will disappear. It’s a market.

The Skoll Foundation has awarded 1 million dollars to each of 10 social entrepreneurs to allow their enterprises to expand their reach and address social needs around the world. Here is their press release with outline of the winners.

Numbers for this month’s S2S ( 26th April at the Perth Concert Hall) are growing by the day. Almost 500 have signed up for the biggest gathering in our sector’s calendar. If you want to go, get in quick to avoid disappointment.

The SNP Manifesto ‘Let Scotland Flourish’ published this week contains the following statement on page 19, ‘Make better use of annual underspends in order to set up a Scottish Investment Fund. This would allow us to invest £24 – £30 million per annum in key priorities including helping business start-ups, University research and support for social enterprises.’  – next week, we’ll post Jon Molyneux’s ‘digest’ on the various manifestos.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 

JOBS: 26 vacancies, incl. posts with: Wood RecyclAbility Ltd, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland, Glasgow Furniture Initiative, YWCA Glasgow, North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, Theatre Nemo, Snowsport Scotland, DTA Scotland.

EVENTS: 10 events, incl. Doing What You Do – Only Better: using the arts to help in evaluation process, Coalsnaughton, 27 April; Growing with Compost Training Event, CRNS & CCN, Edinburgh, 1 May, Beulah Scotland/Lanarkshire Furniture, Launch of new Rutherglen premises and retail outlet, 7/8 May;

I’ve got a copy of the new Spring issue of Good Company magazine – v.impressive. The editorial team is to be congratulated on a quality product. It deserves to sit at the heart of the Scottish Social Enterprise Sector. To check out contents and subscribe, see

An English social enterprise called SMART ( Socially minded and Responsible Trading) has been granted planning consent from Salford Council to develop an Approved Treatment Centre for End-of –Life Vehicles (ELV). This is the first such ‘scrap yard’ in the UK run by a ‘not for profit’ and it will focus on disposing of the vehicles and their products responsibly to protect the environment. SMART has received start up funding from Central and Local government and the Big Lottery Fund. Let’s get one of these in Scotland!

A former book warehouse on the outskirts of Dumfries, valued at £600k, is to be transferred to community ownership for £1. The community owned social enterprise will develop lettable workshops to boost business and employment in the area. See 

This week’s bulletin profiles an employee owned company that is now the largest independent provider of personal health care at home services in Dumfries & Galloway. Stewartry Care was established in 1993 with the aim of enabling people to continue living in their own homes and maintain their chosen lifestyle for as long as they wish, regardless of any illness. In 2004, Stewartry Care became employee owned and is now the largest employee owned company in the south of Scotland. The co-operative approach yielded immediate dividends with significant increases in turnover and profitability within the first 12 months. For more info’, see 

I’m new to the poetry of Marianne Moore (1887 – 1972) – I enjoyed this one called Silence.

My father used to say, ‘Superior people never make long visits, have to be shown Longfellow’s grave or the glass flowers at Harvard. Self-reliant like the cat – that takes its prey to privacy, the mouse’s limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth – they sometimes enjoy solitude, and can be robbed of speech by speech which has delighted them. The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence; not in silence, but in restraint.’ Nor was he insincere in saying, ‘Make my house your inn.’ Inns are not residences.

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

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Laurence’s book, ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ is available See: