Senscot Bulletin: 14.04.10

Dear members and friends,

 Ryanair has confirmed that it is to charge for the use of toilets on its flights; a spokesman says that they hope to change our behaviour – so that we use the toilet before and after flights.  This ‘toilet training’ remark is so insulting that it makes me wonder if Michael O’Leary enjoys winding us up.  His cavalier attitude towards customers scunnered me with his airline years ago – swore never to use it – but the recent demise of Globespan was a sad loss to Scotland.  On my last trip to Spain I bought an electric coffee machine not available in the UK; but at the departure gate, anything outwith your flight bag incurs a summary fine of £35 – had to ditch an old pullover to make room.
 I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but there was something slightly sinister (Orwellian) about the passivity of that Ryanair queue.  Citizens obedient and subdued – not by a totalitarian state – but by the arrogance of commerce.  O’Leary gets you to your destination cheaply – on time – minimum queuing – and he doesn’t lose your luggage; but there’s something about this greedy, soulless company which I despise.  Martin Vander Weyer in the Spectator this week writes: ‘‘I’ll vote for any politician who can work out how to apply Ryanair principles to running public services’’.  Can you just imagine – this lot running care homes – Ryancare – how scary is that!

When he was at Communities and Local Govt (DCLG), David Miliband was passionate about empowering civil society – this speech from Feb 2006 sets out a well developed position which spoke for so many of us. But Gordon Brown (who decides everything) is a centralist; he says nice things about the third sector, but his understanding of social progress is limited to expanding state provision. Labour municipalism is not about strong communities – it’s a fundamentally different approach. The Tories understand enough of Miliband`s vision to adopt it as their big idea of this election campaign. George Reid (on the Carnegie Commission on Civil Society) puts it well: “Liberal democracy is a three legged stool – though, at present, it’s a pretty wobbly stool.  One leg is government, providing public capital.  Another market, providing market capital.  And the third, civil society providing social capital.  To get things back in balance the third leg needs strengthening.” See Miliband`s speech,

It’s now two years since the financial crisis and it’s very disappointing that there has not been a more radical debate about an alternative banking system.  If taxpayers underwrite banks, then they are not in the private sector.  There is no reason why banking should not be mutualised – local savings and investment banks with a commitment to the communities they serve. Without exception our politicians have been craven on this issue and it will take the leadership of civil society to bring change.  Recently the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee delivered its report on the Way Forward for Scottish Banking (no, I didn’t know either).  Once again, we’re beholden to Stephen Maxwell for his analysis.

Understanding the difference between a contract, service level agreement or grant between a public agency and a social enterprise is a complicated business. In order to try and shed some light on this issue, Senscot and Highland and Island Enterprise have produced a report that looks at the definitions, why they are important and the legal and other implications of using these different types of financial arrangements. The report was prepared on the initiative of HIE and carried out by The Pool in Scotland and MacRoberts LLP. See Report,

It’s hard out there. We hear stories on the contrasting fortunes of some well known enterprises. Great stories from Uig and Birse on mystery donors saving the day.  Less fortunate has been Bits and Bobs, the recycling co-op in Edinburgh, who have sadly announced that they will be closing down their operation in May. Similar sad news in West Lothian with Welfehd going into administration. However, on the upside, we’re pleased to hear that CFINE is now taking over the running of the operation.

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: Church of Scotland, Midlothian Voluntary Action, Hamilton & Clydesdale and East Kilbride Women’s Aids, Community Woodlands Association, Children in Scotland, LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing
EVENTS: Meetings More Effective, 22 Apr; Fit for Purpose, 23 Apr; Some Like it Too Hot – How Leith’s houses are leaking heat, 24 Apr; Basics of Being an Employer, 29 Apr; Power-UP (Planning, the law and your rights), 9 May; Maximising Participation, 13 May; Exploring Sustainable Living, 28 May

NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Last month the RBS SE 100 Index celebrated its first birthday and its great to see SEN members from around the country showing up well.  SEN members CFINE, Social Enterprise Clydebank, the Wise Group (Glasgow SEN), Spartans Community Football Academy (Sports SEN) and Bookdonors all feature prominently. The SE Index is building up a register of evidence about the most effective social enterprises in the UK. Year 1 results will be unveiled at an event in London in June. Three winners will share £25,000, 25 days consultancy and a trip to the Social Enterprise World Forum in South Africa. Fingers crossed for all SEN members! For more Networks News, see

Senscot, in partnership with the Scottish Arts Council, is hosting Scotland’s first national Cultural Social Enterprise Conference. The event is being held at the Lighthouse in Glasgow on Wednesday 26th May 2010 and aims to raise awareness of social enterprise amongst cultural organisations in Scotland. Keynote speakers will be Sergio Lopez Figueroa (Big Bang Lab, London) and Derek Marshall (Factory Skatepark, Dundee). Senscot has received support from the Scottish Arts Council specifically to support a Cultural Social Enterprise Round Table and host this first national conference. Here’s the draft programme. For more info`, contact

A few places remain at this year’s `Fit for Purpose` event at Perth Concert Hall on Friday 23rd April.  Here’s current delegate list and flyer, If you’re not on it, can’t make it or still wish to book a place, please contact

Senscot has been banking with Triodos Bank for the last five years. During that time, Triodos has been looking to support social enterprises in Scotland by providing banking services which are responsive and in tune with the needs of the sector. They’ve put together and questionnaire and would like to hear your views on whether your bank is providing your organisation with the services you want. The deadline for responses is Wednesday 28 April. Three respondents will win a hamper of Fair Trade goods. See more,
A great new venue for Glasgow’s cultural community is now up and running.  The Briggait – located just off the Saltmarket in Glasgow – is Wasps Artist Studio’s newest and biggest initiative.  The Briggait was built in 1873 and was the city’s fish market for over 100 years. It has now been transformed into a vibrant new home with almost 2000sq metres of affordable workspace that includes 45 studios for visual artists,24 offices for cultural organisations as well as 5 shop-front units for creative industry companies. Places are places available. The Briggait will also house a public café, due to open in the near future. For more, see

Sara Settelen, speaking in ‘Unconditional Love’, about her daughter Ellie.  Ellie suffered from multiple disabilities and died at the age of 4.  This is how her piece ends:
‘‘I don’t think, now that any of us are able to love anyone else unconditionally until we can love ourselves unconditionally, and that is the process Ellie took me through.  She taught me to stop relating to myself and defining myself through other people; to love myself without any expectations and completely unconditionally, and then I was able to love her unconditionally.  Unconditional love is incredibly liberating’’.

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

Best wishes,


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