Senscot Bulletin: 14.06.13

Dear members and friends,

 Wednesday again – so quick; Miguel’s beach, 4pm, 30 degrees.  Today I had Lenguado (Sole), simply grilled, with chips and side salad.  It’s mainly family trade here – Spanish families – I enjoy watching their ‘gusto’; children are highly valued in this culture.  What attracts me to the Med is the sunshine – and today, I feel the heat reaching deep into me.  Some of it must surely be trickling into my ‘reserve tank’ – where sunshine is converted into resilience – to face the grey skies of my homeland.
 Apart from eating and sleeping – my main occupation this week has been reading; I was enchanted by Mitch Alboms "The 5 people you meet in heaven"; soul food.  Eddie dies ages 83, and finds that heaven is a place where your earthly life is explained to you by 5 people who were in it.  Old Eddie dies feeling that his life has accomplished little – but as his story unfolds…  It’s a simple tale – yet somehow it achieves the feel of classical mythology.  Inevitably, I’ve been musing on which 5 people would be chosen to explain my story; so many adventures – so many relationships; sometimes I behaved honourably, sometimes not; I suspect my 5 stories would be contradictory.  We were always taught that once you die it’s too late – the die is cast; I find this a much more attractive fable.  That we will come to fully comprehend the hurt we have caused each other – get a chance to earn forgiveness. 

We still have copies of ‘Kindness’ – Laurence’s latest selection of bulletin intros (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see

It appears that the understanding and definition of ‘what is social enterprise’ within the UK is clearly taking different paths. Last week, the UK Govt’s Cabinet Office published findings on numbers and definition – see,  – that many within the Scottish SE community find hard to get their heads round. And this week, a blog – from Australia – identifying how SE UK is framing social enterprise as "not part of a ‘third sector’……but a more embracing model for responsible capitalism" – see,  Is that really the view of the English SE community at large? Or has expediency won the day in their dealings with the UK Coalition Govt, Big Society Capital etc? In Scotland, Senscot, with others, supports the SE Code of Practice as a means of defining social enterprise in Scotland. If anything, it looks like the gap will be widening. See, 

The understanding of social enterprise – as a third sector activity – an asset-locked business which excludes private gain – is increasingly under threat (see above). Do you think we should publish a monthly online magazine – 6 pieces per issue – reminding ourselves, and the world, of the importance of the third sector for the well-being of society? We could call our journal, ‘The Resistance’.

At last weekend’s Community Land Reform Conference in Skye, Alex Salmond looked to re-affirm the Govt’s commitment to land reform – setting a target of one million acres of land to be community-owned by 2020.This will double the existing level and will be facilitated via the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill later this year – including an extra £3m being available in 2015/16. This is all very well – but much of the criticism aimed at the Govt appointed Land Reform Review Group’s (LRRG) recent Interim Report stems from a concern that the Review Group, to date, has restricted itself solely to consideration of the community right to buy. Many believe that Scotland’s antiquated pattern of land ownership requires a more radical approach. See,

George Monbiot turns his guns this week on ‘ the corporate carve up’ of large parts of the African continent; under the guise of preventing starvation, global corporations are taking ownership of land and markets. "The West, as usual, is able to find leaders in Africa – who have more in common with the global elite that they do with their own people". See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: The John Muir Trust, The Scottish Interfaith Council, Glencorse Association, Edinburgh University Student’s Association, Glasgow Bike Station, Turning Point Scotland, Routes to Work South
EVENTS: Hidden Gems of Garnethill: Map Launch for West End Festival, 16 Jun; Wiff Waff Wednesday, 26 Jun; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 29 Jun; Social Capital World Forum 13, 4 Sep;
TENDERS: Recovery, Reuse and Recycling of Household Bulky Waste for North Ayrshire Council and Newmains Community Hub. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: After 8 great years at New Lanark, this year’s SE Conference and Ceilidh will be taking place at the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. We’ve set the dates for 14th/15th November. This year, we’re hoping to run the event in much closer association with Social Firms Scotland (SFS) and Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) – as part of our Supporting Social Enterprise (SSE) Alliance. The event will, as always, focus on the work of the SENs and getting a blend of the thematic and local activity. Whilst we’re sad to be leaving New Lanark, holding the event at Westerwood gives scope for more folk attending. We plan to have a draft programme available by the end of June and will open for bookings over the summer. For more Networks News, see

If you’re in Edinburgh on Friday afternoon, try and pop along to the Melting Pot. They are hosting an event – with Glasgow Caley – highlighting the next generation of social innovators in Scotland. Guest speaker will be Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney. To register, see

We were doing community enterprise in Wester Hailes as early as the 1970s – I’m well aware of its potential for local empowerment; but Steve Wyler’s (Locality) celebration of a new surge of ‘social investment’ for communities makes me uneasy. The majority of services we provided were never going to be viable businesses – customers too poor – we must never allow this to be regarded as some kind of failure. See,

South Lanarkshire Council held a big conference last week on ‘addressing poverty’; Jim McCormick, Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Scottish Advisor, has posted a note of the concerns raised. For welfare reform to work, he says, we need more and better paid jobs; But a recruitment expert from Easterhouse said that this is the most difficult time in 30 years to get a decent job. See,

Following on from the recent Scotland Institute Report – which states that youth employment opportunities have deteriorated over the last 20 years and are today characterised by short term, part time, poorly paid work – Scottish Govt has this week announced a new £88m jobs fund to create 10,000 new jobs for young people. £55m is targetted specifically at young people; and £38m at SMEs (including SEs?) to create employment for people of all ages. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Oban – the Oban Pheonix Cinema (OPC). OPC is an arts venue that is ‘owned by the community and exists for the community’. Following the closure of the Highland Theatre in 2010, the local community responded by forming a steering group to save the cinema and to run it as a community business. By September 2011, the community had purchased the building and opened again for business last year. The Oban Pheonix aims to provide a unique community resource with a series of events that resonate with the local community and visitors alike. For more, see

Vimala Thakar (1921 -2009) was an Indian social activist and spiritual teacher. This quote is from her piece, ‘Indivisible Life’.

"The limited world and the absolute truth together form the wholeness of life. Life is indivisible, you cannot fragment it, you cannot divide it. So there is no problem in relating to the limited world. The crookedness, the violence you see them as they are and you relate to them. You have to not cooperate with the violence, you have to discourage the hatred, the possessiveness, the domination. You have to encourage the sharing psychology, the attitude of cooperation, the value of friendship. By your life you do it, by living you do it."

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail

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