Senscot Bulletin: 14.03.14

Dear members and friends,

            Scott Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda was convinced that Ernest Hemingway was a ‘phony’; all that boxer/big game hunter/bullfighter stuff; no one is that masculine she said – it must be a front: Zelda may have had a point; in the end – when his front was slipping – Hem ended his life. Been wondering again about this notion of an ‘authentic’ self – maybe I’m a phony; presenting a bogus self to the world; and how would one know?
            My unconscious gets my attention by disrupting sleep – waking me around 4.30am. While coming awake recently, I felt something akin to despair. As I acknowledged my mental state, two thoughts occurred; firstly – that this is a very old and profound state of discouragement – possibly from infancy. Secondly – that when I wake it will recede – which as always, it does. But this early waking is an indication that something is ‘out of kilter’ in my life – needs some attention.
            My life is blessed by an enduring love affair with Andalucía – and Spain’s southern coast. I am unquestionably Scottish – but I have a parallel self – native to the heat and light of the Mediterranean. Heading out next week to my favourite beach – and as I trudge that shoreline my imagination will roam free – and in the shimmering light everything will appear more vivid and hopeful. And then when I return home – April will come – and the ‘darling buds of spring’; and the dark ‘survival’ months will be behind us again – and new life will be sprouting everywhere.


We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See,


The Observer headlined this week that the Cooperative Group was to pay its CEO a package of £3.6m; the head of HR – who only lasted a year – is to get £2m. The CEO has since resigned – chaos ensues. The fox is clearly in the chicken run – the feeding frenzy has begun. There’s no knowing what can be salvaged. For those of us who work towards the model of a mutualised economy – these are profoundly sad events. In his famous 1973 essay ‘Small is Beautiful’ – Fritz Schumacher warned against the ‘bigger is better’ philosophy of conventional economics. Presumably the giant Cooperative Group will now be dismantled – perhaps allowing some of its constituent parts to return to cooperative values. See,


A message from Pete Ritchie – director of Nourish Scotland: “There’s growing interest in putting together a ‘consortium of the willing’ to mount a community buy-in of the Co-operative Group’s farming businesses in Scotland.  This could keep land in common ownership; create opportunities for new farmers and growers; demonstrate best practice in green farming; link the farm directly to community groups in towns and cities to buy produce directly; and provide great educational facilities for schoolchildren and others.”
If you’d like to be involved, join the conversation at – a new Facebook page will be going up shortly. See,


It’s Hollywood mush – but I enjoyed the film Pretty Woman – 3 times; Julia Roberts as an unlikely sex worker. When the posh hotel manager asks her name, she says, ‘What would you like it to be?’. I’m reminded of this scene by the way the term social enterprise is abused in England. This paragraph by Karen Darby of CrowdMission is typical of the thinking that wants to shift SE from a third sector mindset to “what would you like it to be”. This influence stems mainly from the USA – where the accumulation of personal wealth is considered mankind’s highest calling. See,   


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders are available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Venture Trust, Transform Scotland, Dumbarton Road Corridor Environment Trust, Cairn Housing Association, Humanist Society Scotland, Forever Angels Baby Home
EVENTS: Tendering for Public Sector Contracts, 18 Mar; Freeze Frame Film Club screening, 21 Mar; Vintage Kilo Sale, 22 Mar; Social Enterprise Network Conference – Argyll & Bute, 25 Mar;
TENDERS: Tender for Business & Commercial Activities Development, St Magnus International Festival; ‘Honeycomb – Creative Works’, Highlands & Islands Delivery Partner; Hard landscaping & fencing works package at Byron Court, Methil and Financial Inclusion & Welfare Rights Services;


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: This year’s SE & Sport Conference – ‘Inspiring our Leaders’ – is now officially ‘full up’. Over 120 folk have signed up – 80 from sport social enterprises – and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone at the Emirates in Glasgow on Tuesday, 18th March. We’ve set up a reserve list in case of some late cancellations – see . Final programme has now been agreed – see, . As well as our speakers – Frank Dick and Mel Young – and workshops, the event also sees the launch of the Robertson Trust and Scottish Govt’s new £1m fund to support sport SEs. See,  
For more SENs News, see


“The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist; so what does the age of the internet and social media give us?” Hopeful piece in the Guardian from Neal Lawson of Compass and a Danish parliamentarian Uffee Elbaek – claiming that humankind is on the cusp of a new kind of politics – one where ‘flat’ organising is trumping traditional hierarchies. The internet has created a space beyond the control of either the state or big business; informed and empowered citizens can now learn, talk and act together – organising horizontally. It’s an inspiring piece. See,


4 of Scotland’s leading anti-poverty charities are to share a package of £2.5m from government; they have also launched a joint publicity campaign called ‘Scotland’s Outlook’ to increase public awareness. This new funding comes ahead of the publication of ‘Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland: 2014-17’.


Sad news this week to hear that Hebridean Chocolate has ceased trading – for reasons not yet clear; this returns Scotland’s SE community to the uncomfortable issue of enterprises which fail. We’re probably very good at assisting new start-ups – but could a mature community not do more to make a place where an SE could go when it’s struggling – access to a specialist team – realistic and sympathetic – to see what could be done? See,


 A regular and popular event on the SE calendar has been the ABSEN Conference – now in its 6th year. This year’s event – on 24th/25th March at the Argyll Hotel in Inverary – provides a varied programme that will include sessions on: Procurement, Social Media, Good Governance, Marketing, Leadership; Barriers to Growth, and Partnership Working as well as their regular Dragons’ Den slot. Part of Senscot’s contribution will be a session on the work of the thematic SENs and how they can be of benefit to ABSEN members. Other guest speakers include Brian Keating ( and Derek Marshall (Factory Skatepark). For further details, see

Union leader, Bob Crow, passed away this week. One of his famous quotes: "If you fight you don’t always win – but if you don’t fight, you always lose". Something worth bearing in mind. Here’s the Guardian Obituary. See,


This week’s bulletin profiles a Cultural SEN member, based in Banchory, that has been bringing professional touring arts performances to the North East of Scotland since 1985. North East Arts Touring (NEAT) promotes professional theatre and dance performances for children, family and adults across the area – with their venues including village halls, schools, church halls as well as the outdoors. Their latest venture, NEAT Flicks, will see them promoting film screenings in rural venues across the North East. For more info, see


Through a bulletin I receive – Brain Pickings – I have been introduced to the insights of the late Annemarie Roeper (1918 – 2012). An educationalist – she writes brilliantly and often beautifully – about child development and particularly the emergence of Self.


“You are destined to grow a certain way, as is the flower and all living beings. Sometimes flowers persist in growing even between hard rocks. Their life force can compel them to grow in unexpected places, but they cannot grow well if they aren’t nurtured. Sometimes they get crippled and unhappy and cannot grow much. But other times, persistent strength may move the rock out of their way. This is exactly the fate of human selves as they encounter the world outside. They must follow their agenda. So, yes, there is a plot, but the course of this plot is not predictable, because we don’t know how interaction with the world changes its course. It is the greatest drama in the world”. See,


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210