Senscot bulletin 13-08-2004



Dear members and friends,


From 7pm on Tuesday ‘til 3pm on Wednesday I was sick 14 times.  I ate tinned anchovies which had been in the fridge for a while – sure that’s what did for me.  Staring down a toilet pan – gasping for breath – as you try to empty your stomach – is one of life’s primal experiences – we’ve all been there – great leveller.  This time – after my first few visits – was no big deal.  But it caused me to appreciate normal life – without nausea.  And to savour the delicious taste of water.  Dehydrated with terrible thirst –  I had to drink – but within half an hour my stomach fired it back.  That water was the bestest sweetest drink I ever drank.  Better than those pints of lager after football training – better than those bottles of chilled white wine under the Spanish sun.  Those legendary Sunday morning Bloody Mary’s made by Yatz in ‘the Baillie’ – this water was better.

            But it’s Thursday now and the water stays down and just tastes like water – I’ve even kept down some toast.  This incident has left me feeling a bit giddy – irresponsible.  I’m reminded of the mood of Jenny Joseph’s poem, ‘Warning.’ “When I’m an old woman I shall wear purple…. and spend my pension on brandy…. sit down on the pavement when I’m tired…. run my stick along public railings… pick the flowers from peoples gardens….learn how to spit.”  It’s as though my head down the toilet pan has made my life feel suddenly ‘closeted’ – now I want to do daft things.  Long may this last – as the poet Yeats said, “Why should not old men be mad.”  (



Margaret Curran appeared on Newsnight on 22nd July and told us that the social economy action plan would be published in “four weeks.”  That means by next Thursday, the 19th August – unless of course there is to be further delay which certainly wouldn’t surprise anyone.  Senscot phoned the Executive press office and we were told that whilst no date was yet in the diary that the release was imminent.



We recently ran a piece on the payment of expenses to community activists.  Interesting reply from Andrew Wilson, “I know what made the difference to my efforts for the community where I live, was getting a RIAS award to produce a Village Design Plan, simply because it paid for the stationary, postage, materials, and gave professional advice/guidance which was indispensable especially for running public meetings.  It did not, nor do I think it could pay for my time.  That should be freely given because it is a cause you believe in; but knowing that basic admin things will be covered, and that someone who has experience will keep you on the right tracks, makes success far more likely.”  (Link to Steve Hartley’s original piece, ‘Thanks but no thanks’:



Things are moving quickly for the Social Enterprise Academy: founding members Senscot, Scotland UnLtd & CEiS have been joined by Pauline Hinchion (FEAT Enterprises), Adrian Kitchen (SQA) and Jim Carruth (Communities Scotland) to form a board of directors, and an administrator, Jayne Rowe, has been appointed.  Director Jackie Scutt has been out and about talking to social entrepreneurs and designing the blueprints for the programmes to be launched, following some piloting, in the spring.  Programmes will be delivered through a network of local partner organisations, associate tutors and mentors – all drawn from the social enterprise sector across Scotland.  SSEA also now has a website,; (   



For this piece we are grateful to a reader in Dunbartonshire who sent it. For all who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on…. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.” In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following ten characteristics. I found this hilarious (



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: 66 vacancies, incl: CRNS, Muirhouse Youth Development Group, GATE, Phace Scotland, Fair Deal for 1 in 100, Perth Association for Mental Health, Scottish Refugee Council, D&G Council.


EVENTS: DTA Scotland 1st Annual Conference, Inverness, 30 Aug; StartOver Re-Orientation Workshop, Forres, 11 Sept; Greenspace…The Common Denominator, Greenspace Scotland Conference, Edinburgh, 22 Sept; Strategic Campaigning course, Edinburgh, 12-13 Oct; Wilderness Ecotherapy Course, Knoydart, 10-16 Oct; The John Muir Trust Conference, Pitlochry, 21-23 Oct; 2nd Annual Edinburgh Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh, 24 Feb–6 March 2005.


Neil Lovelock, Development Officer for Transforming Waste Scotland, has put together two very useful information documents for all potential applicants to the Transforming Waste Scotland fund (


CAN YOU HELP? Re-Union has launched a new website, and seeks volunteers:


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:   



This months inaugural DTA Scotland Conference in Inverness has already attracted over 100 bookings so if you’re wanting to attend you had better get your name down quickly.  For information on how to do so, contact There is also news of another DTA event – this time the National Conference. This year, it is being held in Chester and, again, demand for places is high.  If you’d like to attend, check out the following link: (



A new guide on how to use the media, which aims to overcome the problems of voluntary groups being overlooked at the newsdesk, is out now. ‘Mediaguide’ is available as a booklet, CD Rom and web site, with input from CSV Media, Media Trust Scotland, SCVO, the Scottish Museums Council, Volunteer Development Scotland, Young Scot and BBC Scotland. See


The consultation document on proposed charities Monitoring Programme of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has been issued.  See  for summary and full version, both in Word format. Deadline for responses is 2nd November.



This week’s bulletin looks at Infusion Co-operative, a recently established national social firm that provides a range of development and research services.  They aim to promote social justice and the rights and influence of service users and carers through their work they do and in the way they do it.  They use a variety of participative and creative approaches and focus particularly on communication.  Infusion was established in August 2003 and has already been involved in a number of partnership projects in the field of social and health care. They also provide development support and customised training for organisations in all sectors.  A key component of Infusion’s methodology is working in mixed teams involving people who use services and offering paid and unpaid work and learning opportunities.  For further info, see (project profiles)



For we ‘searchers after meaning’ – any new book by Richard Holloway is a must – so I went straight out and bought, “Looking in the Distance.”  He takes the title from a quote by Vasilii Rozanov, “All religions will pass, but this will remain: simply sitting in a chair and looking in the distance.”  Holloway’s preface says, “There is a rich and diverse range of human spiritualities in the world, and countless people follow them without reference to religion or any necessary sense of God.  I have written this book for that great company, because I now find myself within it……Reading it over I can see that this is a very personal book.  For better or for worse, it is one man’s account of what he had seen after a lifetime spent looking in the distance.”  Richard Holloway’s journey has much to teach us – personally I’m grateful for this account.  Review by Brian Morton.  (


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

Best wishes,



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