Senscot Bulletin 13-06-2003

JUNE 2003


Dear Members and friends,


In 1963 I was fortunate to meet Fr Mario Borelli, an Italian
Priest who pioneered ‘detached’ youthwork – living incognito with the
‘Scunizzi’ – delinquent Neapolitan street gangs. “As a priest,” I asked – “Is
your aim to bring those young men to the faith?” He looked at me irritably: “To
people, on the edge, struggling to survive – our faith does not seem important.”
I was shocked.

Some years later I was myself a freelance youth worker on
streets of North Edinburgh – the same streets which Irvine Welsh described – to
this day I can’t read his stuff  – too
real – bleak. Our freewheeling band could muster a passable football team – I
was goalie and sort-of manager.  I
recall a fixture against trainee priests at Drygrange Seminary. Our lads assume
the priests will be ‘jessies’ but they play hard and we’re trailing 2-0 at half
time. Their midfield ‘playmaker’ – young Franciscan friar – once had trials
with Partick. Our weakest player’s a wee guy (call him Begbie) – invited
himself on the trip – everyone’s scared of him – “He’ll wait for you in the
dark and hit you with an iron bar”. Halftime moans – “Begbie’s F***ing hopeless
– take him off Laurence.  “Okay” I say
“someone tell him”.   He stays on.  Problem resolves when the friar puts him ‘up
in the air’ in a tackle. Begbie limps off, spends rest of game hobbling around
the grounds – presumably looking for an iron bar. Lost 3-1 but game was a
success – good banter in the showers and over tea. Very old, stooped priest,
chats with me – “They’re a lively lot,” then with twinkle in his eye, “Do they
practise the faith?” “No, father, “ I smile, “Not the faith you mean.”



I don’t agree with all the fuss about the cost of the
Holyrood building – I am convinced that the quality of buildings which ‘a
people’ produces says something fundamental about its vision and self-belief.
The building will soon be a source of great pride and much needed confidence to
our parliament. Of course there’s no way the £400 million could have been
committed openly. Research in a book called ‘Megaprojects and Risk’ shows that
dozens of vast construction sites all over the world are running many times
over budget. Lying, they conclude, is the only way to get anything spectacular
built – which every successful entrepreneur already knows.



Charles Middleton, M. D. of Triodos Bank welcomed last week
the recent Bank of England report on ‘Financing of Social Enterprises’ – but
warned that ‘consistent support’ will be necessary if the sector is to develop
over time. “Practically speaking, social entrepreneurs have the best chance of
success when they are served by financial institutions that are similarly
motivated by social aims.” Triodos, for 20 years Europe’s leading ethical bank,
is itself a social enterprise, and for this reason Sencot is transferring both
its loan and current accounts to it. we have also switched our phone services
to the phone co-op on the basis that if we believe in our sector we should use



The Social Enterprise Coalition (English) published a report
last week by Professor Peter Lloyd which hailed the positive attempts made
recently by Regional development agencies to support social enterprise. The
RDAs are equivalent to our own LECs and apparently the past year has made a
huge difference to their understanding and engagement with our sector.
Senscot’s view that Scotland lags behind in these matters is confirmed in the
report: “in Scotland, whilst the social economy is already in place within the
institutional architecture – the Executive, Communities Scotland, Scottish
Enterprise – the resources to develop it are yet to develop commensurate with
the rôle.”  The 3 pages posted on our
website (of a 50 page document) are worth a quick scan as they express Professor
Lloyd’s understanding of the Scottish Executive’s position in comparison to the
other UK countries:


This afternoon (Friday) we’re all at the Senscot AGM but if
you haven’t managed to make it we’ve posted our operational review and
abbreviated accounts:  If Lord David Puttnam leaves a copy of his
speech we’ll post it next week.



Space constraints mean that the bulletin can’t carry every notice
you send. But please send in any relevant notice (, and we’ll post it at
give a brief digest of new notices here each week and a link to a ‘Yellow Front
This week:


Upcoming events are the hugely successful Edinburgh
Treefest (this weekend, 14th 15th June), ‘GM Nation: A
National Debate On GM Crops And GM Foods’ (Wednesday 18th,
Edinburgh), and ‘Refugee Week And Edinburgh One World Festival’, a
multi-cultural programme of drama, dance, music, food and party. On Sunday 22nd
there is another ‘Theatre Nemo Presents…’ night of entertainment in Paisley,
and the Craigencault Midsummer Festival in Kinghorn, Fife.


15 jobs are on our site, including: FEAT in Fife is
recruiting a new Chief Executive – application deadline Wed 18th and
SEAD is starting up again – 2 posts.  


There are six new publications of interest, including
‘New Deal for Unemployed people in Scotland’ and ‘Guide for Community Groups to
Local Action on sustainable Development’.



This week’s project profile represents a slight divergence
from usual in focussing on a commercial barter company located in Keith in
Moray. Farexchange is uniquely placed to bring the benefits of commercial
barter to community organisations throughout Scotland. Farexchange trades in
everything from cameras to paint brushes and property to jewellery and it all
began because it couldn’t sell golf bags. A small Keith golf bag manufacturer
has been transformed into an international trading company – using the oldest
method of business known to man. From making one product, the company
transformed itself into a barter conglomerate that today trades worldwide in
everything from real estate and rum to furniture and toilet rolls. Farexchange has
already provided manufactured products into a number of LETS group has been
trading extensively with New Moray LETS. For further info, see: 



Stewart Murdoch, an acting director of Dundee City Council,
has e-mailed us disagreeing with our recent piece criticising SIPs. Stuart says
that in Dundee the SIP programme “has empowered community leadership”. His
response is at
Meanwhile, we’ve come across a copy of the Rocket Science evaluation of the
Glasgow Alliance – but it’s only really of interest to those directly involved.



What heavy weather the Scottish Executive is making of the
reform of our charities law. The real problem, of course, is that most Scottish
MSPs (especially Labour) think that our sector is a bit of a joke – unshaven
men with earrings – and they don’t give it much priority. We asked last week if
SCVO, the sector’s ‘official’ representative body, will now support Jackie
Baillie’s ‘rebel’ bill – the answer is yes! Senscot has signed up as a
supporter on SCVO’s website, as can you at:



Recently attended the launch of the Coalfields Regeneration
Trust’s programme for young people in Coalfield’s areas. The Guest speaker was
Brian Tannerhill from McSensce, himself a former miner. He told a story about a
recent event he attended at a miners’ welfare when a young woman stood up and
said, “I’m eighteen years old and I’ve lived here all my life. In my lifetime
there has never been a working pit and I’ve never known any miners – yet every
time I come here you folk go on about the wonderful traditions of our mining
community. Is it not time to move on?” Brian said that far from taking offence
– the gathering applauded her.


“It is not the strongest species that survive – nor the most
intelligent – but the one that proves itself most responsive to change” –
Charles Darwin.


“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless
core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who
you are, what you are about and what you value.” – Stephen Covey.


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

Best wishes,



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