Senscot Bulletin: 14-03-08

Dear members and friends,

A friend has commented that my new Fiat Panda will be on the road longer than me – didn’t like hearing this – but it’s true of course. I’m in my seventh decade (68 in May) – time to be heading back to harbour. The first half of life is about making a name for ourselves `out there`; but the endgame is about coming to terms with mortality; the need to ask what kind of voyage we’ve had. I can look back on good times with gladness – seasons in the sun. I can recall battles with self-respect – like any warrior. But there is also cringe stuff back there – blunders – trust betrayed; not so much from malice, but from my own chaos. Should the old let go of shame?
 I find the notion of the Tao comforting – to empty oneself of judgement and desire – live in harmony with the flow, the irreducible essence of the universe. With the blessing of good health I could enjoy another decade of mellow fruitfulness. I imagine for myself days like this one captured in Czeslaw Milosz`s poem The Gift. ‘A day so happy. Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden. Humming birds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers. There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess. I knew no-one worth my envying him. Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot. To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me. In my body, I felt no pain. When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and the sails.’
(200 of these intros can be browsed here –

Last week, Scottish Government allocated £30m – half of its 3 year budget for the Third Sector. Nearly all of it – £27m – went to the traditional voluntary sector infrastructure of SCVO, the CVS network, Volunteer Centres etc. I have expressed the personal view that as a Government flagship policy, this package is respectful to the worthy history of our sector but lacks a vision for the future. Reader Carole Patrick of Fife CVS writes to point out that, in much of Scotland, the social economy is largely inseparable from the traditional voluntary sector and investing in the capacity of CVS is an effective way of supporting front line activity. She makes the case well.  By my calculation the Government Third Sector team still has £30m in its kitty (Not counting the Scottish Investment Fund) It will be interesting to see if the second allocation is shaped around any new vision.

The Social Enterprise Coalitions – both in Scotland and England – have been a major influence in raising the profile of our sector – particularly in Government circles. The new chair of the English Coalition, Clair Dove, wants the sector to toughen up our business attitudes: ‘We’re still seen as too woolly and too nice’. . The chair of the Scottish Coalition is Laurie Russell – CEO of the Wise Group. Don’t forget that S2S – the Scottish sector’s annual jamboree is in Dundee this year on 23rd April.

Inspirational story in Tuesday’s Herald about how a community refused to let the main focal building in their town become derelict and die. Millport is the main town of the island of Cumbrae on the Clyde coast. When the council abandoned Garrison House as too expensive to maintain – the local community got organised and over 11 years has raised the £5m required to restore it at the heart of the community.
Senscot`s annual appeal for donations is into its last week. We’ve raised around the £5k mark. Thanks everyone who has taken the time to contribute. Still time for last minute donations. Link for details

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: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: The Melting Pot Edinburgh, The Ecology Centre, Aberdeen Foyer, Voluntary Action Fund, Project Ability, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Big Issue Scotland, Blake Stevenson Ltd
EVENTS: 14 events, Mental Health Awareness, 15 Mar, Kirkcaldy; More than Recycling 08, 11 Mar, Perth; S2S Third Annual Social Enterprise Trade Fair, 23 Apr, Dundee

Networks 1st : Today sees the 2nd LSEN Reps` Meeting taking place in Glasgow. These events will happen on a quarterly basis as an opportunity for members of the different Networks to come together to look at wider issues facing SENs. With Senscot`s funding confirmed for the next 3 years, this is an opportunity to discuss the role of SENs and how we can best support them. For more, see weekly update

Over 200 people turned out at Community Recycling Network Scotland’s 3rd Annual Conference this week in Perth. The Conference saw the launch of the new £7.5m fund to help support community recycling projects across Scotland. It’s also an occasion to recognize the work of CRNS`s many member organisation with Moray Recycling Action Group winning this year’s main award. For more, see

The heated negotiations about whither posh schools are genuine charities goes to the heart of Britain’s class system. It’s by no means resolved yet – in either England or Scotland.
An inspirational story about Local People Leading in the Marsh Farm Estate near Luton.
Essex County Council has led the way and now another 50 Councils in England are showing interest in taking over loss-making post offices. 

Patrick Butler, of Society Guardian, is increasingly informed on social enterprise issues. A recent blog caught our attention.
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that provides an invaluable service to over 250 people over 60 in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. Home Supported Living Services Ltd was set up in 1999 by a group of people with a background in sheltered housing, community nursing and social work. Their intention was to provide a comprehensive range of services that were designed to keep people as independent as possible in their own homes. Their services include providing support through a community alarm system that is supported by mobile area wardens and home care services. For more, see

I get the Spectator every week – good writing – and amusing to eavesdrop on the preoccupations of the ruling class. Paul Johnson writes a 1400 word essay each week of consistent high quality. Recently he selected his 10 favourite short poems which I attach I think he must be an older chap. Gerard Manley Hopkins `Heaven – Haven` is also one of my top 10. I often say it to myself. It’s sometimes titled ` a nun takes the veil`.
‘I have desired to go where springs not fail, to fields where flies no sharp and sided hail and a few lilies blow. I have asked to be where no storms come, where the green swell is in the havens dumb, and out of the swing of the sea.’

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

Best wishes,

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