Senscot Bulletin 14-03-2003


MARCH 2003



Dear Members and friends,


For racing fans the Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of
the ‘jumping’ season. Cream of the crop over from Ireland – big fields – big
money – big prices. My friend Stanley takes time off from his work every year –
sacrosanct. Plans it like a military operation: form guides – tipsters –
intense research. Over the years he’s given me a few big price winners, and this
year it was ‘Semon’ in the 4 o’clock on Wednesday. “It’ll be a big price.” Told
various friends, acquaintances, and collected £85 in wagers.

Wednesday in London for Upstarts
Awards – find Ladbrokes in Charing Cross Road. Semon shows up at 33/1 – write line
£100 at 33/1. Manageress phones bet to head office – comes back: “You can have
£50 at 33/1 and 50 at 25/1. Outraged – “No, that’s not acceptable – I won’t
bother.” Sit on stool in fuming huff. But a well-remembered, reckless
excitement takes hold. In a trance, write on betting slip “£100 win favourite.”
Place it. Sit spellbound as drama unfolds. With 27 runners it’s like a cavalry
charge. Semon runs well into 2nd place. Race won by Xenophon – 4/1
favourite. Sitting in cafe with winnings – powerful triumphant but delinquent
feelings – occurs that no one will expect any return on their bet. But fever
subsides – I won’t be keeping the money (or I wouldn’t be telling the story)
but I’ve seen the day… another time, another place – who knows. I suppose it depends
how desperate you are.



Writer and researcher Gerry Hassan wrote in last Saturday’s
Herald about Scotland’s 48 Social Inclusion Partnerships (SIPs). In his view
they’ve failed to engage the enthusiasm of local people: “For all the rhetoric
of finding new ways of working, SIPs have been more top down in practice.
Boards are generally stuffed with the institutional clutter and bodies that
dominate Scottish public life. This has seen tension and conflict between
community activists and local campaigners and SIP staff and board members about
who speaks for the community and who has the best interests of the community at
heart. See Gerry’s piece at:
(‘Info Bank’ at



John Pearce’s new book ‘Social Enterprise in Anytown’ paints
a picture of a truly ‘mixed’ economy in ‘Anytown’ – social economy alongside
public and private sectors. Every example John uses “is happening or being
planned somewhere in Britain.” But he thinks we’re going about it the wrong
way: “The idea of making social enterprise ‘bankable’ implies social
enterprises are, or should become, like other businesses – which they are not
and should not aspire to be. On the contrary, banks should become ‘social
enterpriseable’.” John says we must boldly take our argument to the public: “To
explain and demonstrate why the social enterprise way is preferable. To make it
the norm. To celebrate the fact of being a social enterprise with firmly held
beliefs”. An article by John about his book (from Central Books: was in
Social Enterprise magazine and is posted at:
(Info Bank’ at



Wednesday evening attended the ‘Upstart Awards’, which is
only in its second year but shows every sign of developing into the sector’s
annual ‘Oscar’ ceremony.  Good wee squad
down to support McSence – from Midlothian – receiving the ‘Social Enterprise of
the Year award, and well done to CEL who nominated them. Event v.
professionally staged – venue – grub – service, etc. Also, compere, Adrian Chiles
was excellent – teasing out some difficult issues. More next week.

(Full list of winners:



Event sponsored by Centrica and New Statesman, and we all
got free copy, from which two snippets:


“330 bombs dropped on Baghdad during the entire 1991 Gulf
War. This time the plan is for a bigger bombardment on the first night” (Andrew


“Firefighters in East Surrey have been issued with one
bottle of washing-up liquid, two car sponges, six bleach tablets and four bin
liners. The packs are to help decontaminate people after a chemical,
biological, nuclear or radiological ‘dirty bomb’ attack.” (Quoted from the



NOTICES: See Hot Pages at for
more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant notice
you’d like posted, send it to


Social Inclusion and Equalities: Policy Lessons and
Differentiation Across the UK: seminar, Mon 24 March, The Lighthouse, Glasgow,
1–5pm. Speakers from across UK. Attendance free for delegates from public and
not-for-profit organisations. Private companies pricing info available:;


Centre for Human Ecology 
Lecture, 14 March, “An Activist’s Journey to South Africa” by Verene
Nicolas. Focus on women’s activism, community action, spirituality. 6pm,12
Roseneath Place, Edinburgh. 0131 624 1972.; Tickets on door: £3.50 (£2.50
Friends of CHE). Followed by simple, convivial meal with speaker. Numbers
limited, first come, first served.


Transforming Your Space’- new funding programme for:
improving local environments; public green and open spaces; local access;
community gardens; community asset sustainability; applic forms/ info Contact
Iain Roxburgh, 0141 222 5636,



Last week we commented that people have found high profile
social enterprise initiatives in Scotland “slow and disappointing”. Scott
Anderson of Social Investment Scotland has asked us to publish his response.
It’s at our site’s ‘info bank’:



Senscot’s target is to raise £4,000 from Subscriptions by
the end of March, and we’re only halfway there. It’s not our style to moan
about money but it’s most encouraging when cheques arrive, no matter what the
amount. Sincere thanks to those who have taken the trouble.



We would also find it of value if before the end of March
you could take the time to send Senscot an email of support so that we can show
our funders that our services are used and appreciated. A few lines will
suffice, and don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism.



This week’s bulletin profiles Scotland’s leading visual arts
development company. Project Ability (established 1984), is a Glasgow-based
Arts Company specialising in creating opportunities for disabled people to gain
access to the visual arts. The work of Project Ability enables people to take
part in a long-term programme of local, national and international artistic and
cultural events, exhibitions and exchanges. Over the years the company has
developed a range of additional services, including artists’ studio space, a
resource for digital art, a printmaking workshop, a ceramic studio as well as
two Galleries that are open to the public. In 1997, an arts co-operative (Art
Trek) was formed by five disabled artists to support each other in development
their artistic careers. Further info:  (Project Profile).



Adam Faith (real name Terry Nelhams) died on Saturday, which
made me think a bit. Like me he was 62 and had half a dozen different careers –
up and down like a rollercoaster. Apparently he was declared bankrupt in
October, but when this irrepressible wheeler-dealer died, comeback No.7 was
underway. Often wonder where such driven people get their energy, and believe
that it comes from the failure of a childhood, which most of us experience to
some extent. Larkin wrote, “A life which starts badly takes a long time to
recover – and sometimes never does.” Some of us are drawn back constantly to
early sadness – others keep overactive to avoid it – some do both (that’s me).
But it’s not simple: many folk whose lives have visited far worse places than
mine – live without demons.

            It’s not
fashionable to think about death – but I disagree. Here is a short poem from
Larkin called the ‘The Mower’, which is dedicated to Adam Faith, age 62.


“The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found a hedgehog
jammed up against the blades, Killed.

It had been in the long grass. I had seen it before, and
even fed it, once.

Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world unmendably. Burial
was no help: next morning I got up and it did not. The first day after a death,
the new absence is always the same;

We should be careful of each other, we should be kind while
there is still time.”


That’s all for this week.

Best wishes,




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