Senscot Bulletin: 14.09.12

Dear members and friends,

 Until neck surgery stopped me swinging – my main hobby was playing golf – with a more or less constant group of a dozen buddies; for 40 years.  In the 70s, we discovered the joys of golf in Andalusia – would return regularly to the sun.  Part of the reason I’m here this week is a reunion; one of the ‘old crowd’ had his 70th birthday on Saturday – my cousin was clever enough to quietly put the word around – of ‘a gathering’.
 Three of the original dozen are dead – three couldn’t get away; but six of us – along with partners and friends, a group of 21 – assemble for a celebratory lunch.  ‘The birthday boy’ is unaware of the arrangement – in the event is much moved.  Under an awning – in marvellous sunshine – we eat, drink and make merry – for 5 hours.  Someone calculates our average age as 73.4 years – but you wouldn’t know from the noise.
 Familiar tales of ‘derring do’ are told again – of daring deals – of great trips – of desperate bets, won and lost.  Happy stories that make us laugh and laugh.  By 6pm the mood shifts – more serious glasses are raised – ‘to absent friends’.  Of the dead, stories are told of kindness; and drink being taken, some even speak of love.  Remember thinking: "If at all – it is only for our love that we will be remembered – for a while". 

Did you know that Scotland has the biggest "local" authorities in Europe by population and physical size; the lowest proportion of people standing as candidates; and the lowest turnouts? Lesley Riddoch, in Monday’s Scotsman, challenges Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Neill, in their new roles, to ‘demolish the silo mentality that bedevils public service delivery in Scotland and end a culture of paternalistic, top-down governance’. She cites the work of community trusts and community-owned housing associations – demonstrating how the community is the best level for effective service delivery – something that Minister’s appear to agree with privately. See,

On a positive note, it appears that Edinburgh City Council may be taking a lead in Scotland on the English idea of ‘John Lewis Councils’. The Council’s plans could see parents running childcare facilities and tenants managing housing estates and is part of an initiative that will open up four different key service areas to the public – as part of wide-ranging changes to the way services in city are run. Watch this space… See,
The preservation and protection of the environment is one of the burning issues of our time. This week, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has named and shamed the waste dumps, fish farms, sewage works, scrap yards and others (360 in total) around the country for breaking pollution rules – some having breeched the limits two or three years running. Green MSP, Patrick Harvie accuses Scottish Govt and Sepa of being ‘asleep at the wheel’ See,

A sobering report published this week by SCVO suggests that income for third sector organisations in Scotland is still below 2009 levels. In short, with the exception of the large charities and housing associations, expenditure in the third sector is exceeding income – with many smaller organisations digging into reserves to make ends meet. This is a concern for us all. See Ruchir Shah’s (SCVO) blog,

In July, Scottish Govt announced its intention to establish the land Reform Review Group. As Andy Wightman pointed out at the time, its usefulness will depend on the membership of the review group – and how wide its remit is. We don’t know yet who else will be joining Dr Alison Elliot (chair), Prof Jim Hunter and Dr Sarah Skerratt on the Review Group but Scottish Govt has now published its remit. See,

Date for the diary: The Senscot Seminar and AGM will be held on Friday 5th Oct at City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow (10am – 2pm). See Agenda,  Topic of this year’s Seminar will be ‘A Scottish Community Bank’. The event is free to full company members (individuals) with £20 charge for all others (i.e Associates, non-members etc). To reserve your place, see

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Community Enterprise, Transition Extreme Sports Ltd, Encompass, Townhead Village Hall, East Renfrewshire Women’s Aid, Lifelink, Lothian and Borders Police
EVENTS: SROI Practitioner Training – 2 Day Course, 18 Sep; Irish Women of Our Past, 19 Sep; Stand & Deliver – Together, 20 Sep; Why the Financial Crisis? (And what to do about it), 20 Sep;
TENDERS: Floor coverings in South Lanarkshire, Generic Day Care for Older People, Website Upgrade for Skye & Kyle Rail development Co. Ltd and Provision of a management service for First Stop Accommodation for homeless families.  For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Another date for your diary. The Cultural and Creative SEN (CCSEN) this week agreed on the date for the 2nd National Social Enterprise and Creativity Conference – ‘Creating a Difference’. This year’s event will take place on Wednesday 31st October. Full programme and booking info’ will be available next week. CCSEN’s meeting took place at the newly opened Glad Café in Glasgow’s South Side. Glad Café will operate as both a cafe and cultural venue – running gigs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. They will also be running Sunday afternoon sessions of ‘entertaining thinking’. Their first one – last Sunday – saw local MSP Nicola Sturgeon talking on the theme of Freedom. See, . For more Networks News, see,

The Social Enterprise Academy is still accepting applications for this year’s IGNITE Programme. The weekend residential will run from 19th – 22nd October at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick. The programme is geared to supporting social entrepreneurs scale up their enterprises. See,

In March, Senscot was involved with others in launching the Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprises in Scotland (The Code). Our intention has been to set down the values and behaviours by which social enterprises in Scotland recognise each other – see, . Interesting article in the week’s Third Sector mag suggesting the time is right for the voluntary sector to establish its own brand – an identity that affirms its own values and aspirations. See,

Congratulation to Aberdeen SEN member, Rosie’s Social Enterprises who picked up the PwC Award for Excellence in Business in the Scottish heat of the Private Business Awards 2012 a couple of week’s back. This led to them attending the final of the Private Business Awards at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden last week, letting the ‘big hitters’ of British business who now all know about Rosie’s, its brand and the social aims of its business model. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles The Hermitage – a spectacular 12-hole golf course in the Braid Hills in Edinburgh. The Hermitage is a social enterprise developed by Autism Ventures Scotland to help those they support to develop and improve their skills, with occupational activities and employment. The Hermitage is open to anybody – no membership fees, dress code etc! – and as well as providing an enjoyable round of golf also runs a popular café serving breakfast, lunch or tea. For more, see

‘Mortality’ – the last published work of Christopher Hitchens – is out this week. As a reflection on his imminent death – just my kind of book!
 "In one way, I suppose, I have been ‘in denial’ for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light. But for precisely that reason, I can’t see myself smiting my brow with shock or hear myself whining about how it’s all so unfair: I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me. To the dumb question ‘why me?’ – the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply – why not."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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