Senscot Bulletin 14.11.08

Dear members and friends,

After supper at a friend’s house – talking about people’s ‘signature tunes’ – which songs we identify with our close friends. Tom says: ‘‘You’re easy, Laurence. 20 years ago – walking down the first fairway at Las Brisas, in Spain – the light – the heat – the trees – the scented breeze – you suddenly burst into Sinatra’s `Start spreading the news – I’m leaving today`. I looked at your face – thought to myself – that’s happiness! – I was jealous. I’ll never forget it.” I enjoyed this memory – a kind of ‘they can’t take that away from me’ feeling. I’m pleased to be identified with the optimism of that song – its openness to adventure – but I wonder what song speaks for me now.
Invoice in from the golf club for my annual subs (£420). Hardly played last year – can’t really justify this expense – but finally letting go of the gowf will be a sair one for me. A friendly woman from the Village Community Association chaps my door – asks if I’m an OAP. Hands me an invite to the Pensioners Christmas Party – ‘‘Bingo, Live Music, Tombola’’. Thank her and agree to let them know my menu choice – and transport needs. On the back, there’s a picture of last year’s festivities. A group of auld yins – stiff necks – party hats – looking glum. Horrified that anyone can think that’s where I’m at. No – not yet. Resolve that come spring I’ll make a determined effort to get swinging again. “Start spreading the news”

In the SNP’s determination to reform Scottish Enterprise and HIE –I wonder if they were aware that HIE traditionally combines community development with economic development. The recent shift of resources away from small social capital projects to more strategic investment, is consistent with SNP policy on housing finance. The jewels of the housing association movement are the smaller locally owned ones which diversify from housing to anchor the holistic development of communities. SNP policy favours the huge strategic associations as development agents. The emerging pattern suggests that the SNP leadership doesn’t understand the value of social capital – the common ground we stand on as citizens. This will need to be challenged.

Fablevision, the Glasgow social enterprise which leads the cultural planning agenda in Scotland, launched SPARR this week – a ground breaking cultural regeneration programme, linking Govan and Stornoway. 
Launching SPARR, Nicola Sturgeon said, “We used to do regeneration TO people – then we did it with them – but that still didn’t work. Now we realise that the best regeneration is done by the people themselves.” She demonstrated a heartfelt understanding of both cultural planning and community led regeneration. This appears to contradict my key point in the previous item.

It’s nearly 3 years since private equity baron, Sir Ronald Cohen started his campaign to persuade Gordon Brown that the dormant assets in bank accounts should be used to capitalise a social investment bank. Cohen’s vision is that in the future, institutions will regard social enterprise as an asset class in its own right – and will incorporate it into portfolios. Well, he’s got fed up waiting and, along with a group of chums, he’s launched a new investment fund. At a meeting in Glasgow with SFHA (Housing Associations) last week, Gordon Brown said that Government was ‘‘very seriously looking at the formation of social investment banks’’. With SIS, Scotland can lead the way in this.

Triodos Bank is a ‘core sponsor’ of Senscot’s revamped website. Our relationship goes back to 2003 when we first started banking with them. Triodos is Europe’s leading ethical bank and only lends money to organisations and businesses pursuing positive social, environmental and cultural goals. Triodos has escaped the chaos enveloping the mainstream banking system because of the way it works – instead of borrowing on the international money markets, Triodos` lending is financed solely by the money deposited with it by its savers. With increasing deposits, the bank has money to lend to Scotland’s vibrant community of sustainable enterprises. In recent years, they have established a small, but growing, team in Scotland, led by David Cousland. For more, see
I made a short speech at the Melting Pot’s first birthday celebration on Wednesday. Here it is.

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: incl. posts with: Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, Paths for All Partnership, Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, Peebles Youth Trust
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Seminar Series, 3 Dec, Lowland Scotland; SURF Awards Dinner 2008, 4 Dec, Glasgow; AGM & Launch of Business Acquisition, 9 Dec, Edinburgh; 20:Twenty – Journey to Succeed, 23 Jan, Peebles; Mental Health Awareness, 6 Feb, Fife; Fit for Purpose, 3 Mar, Edinburgh;

NETWORKS 1st News:  This year’s Ceilidh sees a new activity – Online Networking.  John Cant (The Melting Pot) has helped us set up an `online networking page` for people to use prior to the event – and also for those who can’t make it on the day. The idea is to connect with fellow social entrepreneurs before, during and after the event with a view to set up meetings, share ideas and information or to offer skills, opportunities, contracts etc. For more, see     For more NETWORKS News, see

The former Harland and Wolff engineering shed in Govan is the venue of an exciting SPARR theatrical event this weekend (Fri 14th/Sat15th Nov). It’s free – so wrap up warmly and bring the kids.

The Social Enterprise Academy is running a new `20:Twenty` programme in January. The residential (20th-23rd Jan) is targeted at future chief executives and senior leaders in the social enterprise sector and will focus on the challenges of succession planning. For more, see

Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) is developing a £1.5million new business and social enterprise centre on the island. To date, they have secured almost £1.4m but still need to make up the difference. A local appeal has managed to raise a further £33k. James Hilder, MICT’s chair, writes asking us to spread word of the Appeal. If you can help or offer any advice, contact Siân Scott at  For more, see

We hear that two Orkney wind projects have now secured planning consent for community-owned wind turbines. This is the result of considerable efforts on the part of the local communities, supported by Community Energy Scotland (CES). For more, see

This week’s bulletin profiles a community run social enterprise based in Lanark. Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) uses landscaping and public art projects as tools to enable people to make a contribution to their community. It aims to provide training and employment opportunities while, at the same time, generating income to support its longer term sustainability. Recent projects have included the Lanark Moor Sensory Garden. For more, see

I really enjoyed the interview with Seamus Heaney in the Guardian Review last Saturday – read it twice – magic. In this snippet, he talks about his reaction to the Nobel Prize.

“When the news came there was as much shock as anything else. We were already on a high of sorts, halfway through a holiday in Greece, set up in a little hotel just a couple of hundred yards from the harbour in Pylos, away down in the south-west corner of the Peloponnese. After the news reached us, we had a crucial half-day to ourselves, in a place where nobody knew us. One of the happiest moments of the whole affair was a celebration that night – squid and chips at an outside table on the harbour front. Between trawlers and tavernas. Starlight and electric light reflecting in the water….”.

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

Best wishes,

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