Dear members and friends,
When Richard Holloway and Desmond Tutu were Anglican bishops together – Holloway asked him which single word best describes Nelson Mandela; Tutu considered – then said ‘noble’. He was not referring to bloodlines or silly titles; “the man o’ independent mind he looks and laughs at a’ that”. True nobility conjures words like honour, dignity, courage, grace. The only person I know who actually chatted with Nelson Mandela – speaks of his ordinariness. For me, a condition of true greatness is to be unaffected by it; his charisma was powered by an innate humility – irresistible. One has the sense of a whole person – who experienced keenly all aspects of human being.
Reflecting on his legacy must have brought Mandela sadness; the ANC, his life project, became mired in allegations of compromise and corruption. He once said “if the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you – you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid govt”. Is this not the recognition that the struggle for justice and human rights is constant and for ever. We can shape institutions according to our convictions – but newcomers will come along and change them; we are constantly thrown back on ourselves – our own inner resilience; imagine 27 years in prison.
Kofi Annan has said: “People often ask me what difference one person can make in the face of injustice, conflict, human rights violations, mass poverty and disease. I answer by citing the courage, tenacity, dignity and magnanimity of Nelson Mandela”. Noble is as noble does.
We still have copies of Kindness – Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage; or 2 for £20 – postage paid. Christmas pressies? See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
It is most welcome, that in the new financial year, there is to be tax relief on investment in social enterprises; this will make it easier to raise the kind of ‘patient’ investment which our sector needs. We’ve been waiting to hear how the UK Govt will define eligibility for this relief i.e. what is a social enterprise? Their decision, announced this week, seems a sensible one; organisations will require to be regulated for social purpose – charities, CICs, community benefit societies etc. bizarrely, SEUK wants eligibility to be widened to non-regulated companies which claim some social benefit. Senscot agrees with the Govt – that such an arrangement would be wide open to abuse. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16404
Big Society Capital is heading north – to create the North East Social Investment Fund – in partnership with Northern Rock Foundation (good partner), see https://senscot.net/?viewid=16405. This move begs the question – whom are they lining up as their Scottish partner – and what will be on offer. Meanwhile, the Scottish Community Banking Trust (SCBT) will publish in the New Year its prospectus; a national initiative to harness the financial clout of the Scottish third sector; action by the sector – for the sector.
I was a great fan of the Wire – the black communities of Baltimore – disconnected from the official economy – getting by as best they can – dealing drugs. David Simon, who wrote the series, has recently delivered an uncompromising speech about how capitalism in America has lost its way. He argues that a stable society requires the market economy to operate alongside socialised universal services – like healthcare; in abandoning a social compact with the people – capitalism in America is dividing the country into rich and poor. He says that corporate business has effectively purchased his Govt so that popular will can no longer influence legislation. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16406
The mainstream media rarely visit our third sector – but the Panorama programme on Tuesday identified genuine concerns. Of course Comic Relief should not be investing its reserves in tobacco companies. Of course Save the Children should not be ‘bought off’ by sponsorship from the greedy energy cartel. But the sponsorship issue does not only apply to the big charities – we all have decisions to make about whom we partner. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16414
For reasons I can’t fathom – the British Council has produced a dreary story about how SE will work in Europe in 2020. In summary – the efficiency of large scale private companies will push us to the margins. The whole concoction is contingent on social impact being able to be measured and predicted to the satisfaction of commercial investors. Anyone near the sharp end of service delivery knows that this is extremely unlikely. Valueless propaganda – this paper must have been commissioned by bankers. See,
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Covesea Lighthouse Community Company Ltd, Borders Environmental Education Services, Re-Union Canal Boats, The Village Storytelling Centre, Evolution Skate Park Scotland Ltd
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Xmas Arts Market & Bruncheon, 14 Dec; Christmas Victorian Style, 15 Dec; Trainspotting, 16 Dec; Out of the Blue Xmas Arts Market & Open Studios, 19 Dec;
TENDERS: Grounds Maintenance and refuse collection/disposal – Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, Construction of Aberfoyle Bike Park (Re-Tender) – Bike Trossachs and Framework Agreement for the Provision of Landscaping, Paving & Associated Services – Strathclyde Partnership for Transport http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=917
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: We have mentioned that the ReadyforBusiness (RfB) consortium has won the recent tender to run Scottish Govt’s ‘Developing New Markets’ Programme. As part of this work, the consortium is looking to highlight the success of the Third Sector in winning contracts from the public sector – sharing examples of good practice in the way that the public sector is effectively commissioning and procuring services and products from our sector. RfB has produced a short survey that they would be grateful if you could take the time to complete – see https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ThirdSectorContracts. For further details, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=16407
For more on The SENs, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=326.
Community food network, Nourish Scotland, has now published the report from its September Conference, “Feeding the Five Million”. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16413
Senscot attended this week’s Scottish Community Alliance (SCA) session with COSLA. The gist of the meeting was to discuss SCA’s response to COSLA’s Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy. It was encouraging to hear that COSLA – traditionally seen as a bastion of municipalism in Scotland – recognises that devolution does not stop at Holyrood or with Councils. The challenge for us all is how to ensure that this devolution goes beyond Councils to communities so that they have a genuine say in how services are designed and delivered locally. See SCA’s Briefing Paper,
Senscot started banking with Triodos in 2004. Our contact was David Cousland, their new man in Scotland at the time. David has now chosen to move on for ‘new adventures’. Over the last 10 years, David has overseen an increase in Triodos` loan book in Scotland from £5m to over £60m. We wish him well.
This week’s bulletin re-visits a Community Food SEN member in Glasgow. Locavore – first profiled last year – writes to inform us that their recent initiative of buying in bulk has allowed them to significantly reduce costs. In addition, it has also allowed them begin supplying organisations working in low-income communities across Glasgow with organic local produce at a much cheaper rate. Organisations being supplied include North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, Drumchapel Life and Galgael. Locavore is keen to grow further and would encourage any organisations interested to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=12850
On Sunday Morning With… Richard Holloway interviewed American writer Marilynne Robinson; new to me – but inspirational. At the end, he asks her to summarise – a lesson from life (she’s 70).
“People have to find and accept their own singularity. We should try to find what we love – and let ourselves love it in a way that’s deep and formative for us. We have to tolerate the practical demands of life – but they are never more than secondary claims on us. We have to be responsive to this most radical claim”.
That’s all for this week.
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