Senscot Bulletin: 14-21-2005


Dear members and friends,

Philip Larkin writing about old folk: ‘Their looks show that they’re for it: Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines – why aren’t they screaming?’ It’s true, eventually our minds and bodies wear out – we return to being looked after – the loss of independence the worst. It’s hard to see the point in life’s ‘end game’ – they should make it optional. But I’ve got a bit to go yet – with luck another decade of ‘mellow fruitfulness’. In my cavalier life, I’ve regarded the prudent as puny, so it’s ironic that, aged 65, my thoughts are turning to provision for the future. As the man from the pension place said, ‘It’s a bit late now.’
 Looking back, my life has been shaped by an instinct to anarchy. Partly temperament, but later, I think, an ethic. I traded a comfortable pension for the freedom to let rip. Whether this was wise doesn’t matter now. My plans for the rest of my life are modest – I don’t need much. The cottage I’m in now will do fine. I’m lucky with my friends. Never been good with money, but somehow muddle by. Always enjoyed my work – no reason to stop. Health of course is the big unknown – particularly mental health – our inner morale – the movements of hope and discouragement. I find Buddhism attractive – not as a religion – but as a medium to calm the spirit – to steady things – to stop me screaming when I’m old.

David Miliband, the UK Minister of Communities and Local Government, made an amazing speech at the BURA Regeneration conference in London on Wednesday. He proposes to give community groups in our poorest urban areas the right to buy publicly owned assets at a discount. The Government wants to transfer assets to deprived communities to promote renewal and self-sufficiency. Municipal Scotland will try to blank this as usual – but there are signs that the Big Lottery Fund has got the message. This is a marvellous development with truly historic implications. The Development Trust movement will surge.

On behalf of Scottish Enterprise, Alistair Thornley has responded to Senscot’s recent report on Business Gateway’s work with Social Enterprise.  (The one by Leslie Huckfield).  See
Alistair confirms that SE has commissioned its own independent review of SE’s work with the Social Economy, and we post the brief for this task.  Lets hope that the SE study will in some way be ‘joined up’ to the Executive’s current Review of Support Services to the voluntary sector and to Communities Scotland’s ‘Social Enterprise Strategy.’ Is that perfectly clear now?

Jamie Oliver was in Glasgow this week, talking at the Concert Hall. It’s clear that he has a deep commitment to his Fifteen Foundation – a social enterprise that trains disadvantaged youngsters in the restaurant trade. He speaks of ‘the desperate lack of aspiration and confidence of the kids.’ He wants to open one of these Fifteen restaurants in Glasgow but has so far been unable to find a partner. Surely SE Glasgow can pull this off.  Don’t see how they can afford not to ( Liam Black, who is CEO of the Fifteen Foundation, is at the Moat House Hotel in Glasgow on Nov 7th. You can get tickets from

Got invite to speak at big regeneration conference – the great and the good – sharing platform with Johann Lamont – Angiolina Foster etc – a chance to influence policy – flattering.  But I have a problem with regeneration conferences which are not principally for people from deprived areas, so I said no.  Regeneration should be led by local residents.  These gatherings of officials and consultants send exactly the wrong message.  Wouldn’t it be exciting to have an ‘alternative’ regeneration conference?  For local activists with fire in their bellies – fighting for independence from the council – not just the usual guff.  Would anyone like to work with Senscot to organise such a gathering?

YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 72 vacancies, incl. posts with: Radius Glasgow, The Furniture Project Tayside, Gorbals Youth & Community Theatre, IntoWork, Stepping Stones, The Scottish Executive, Women Onto Work Almond

EVENTS: Arts & Communities Association, Arts & Communities Conference, 25 Oct; Tollcross Community Council, Disability Inclusion sessions, 31 Oct ; Paul Zealey and Scottish Centre for Regeneration,  Creating connections, 2 Nov; CIPFA in Scotland, Annual Procurement Seminar, 30 Nov; BTCV Scotland, Courses, 2 Dec;

The Exchange has been asked if any of our contacts know of a good accounts software package that copes well with different rates of VAT.  Do you have any suggestions? See

I was at a seminar last week – Andy Wightman the land reformer was telling us how in Scotland, from 1469 to 1833, democracy in Burgh elections was abandoned.  Sitting councillors simply chose their successors.  Archie Thompson from Renton remarked, ‘Nothing’s changed then.’ Andy sends this piece.

The 2nd round of the Futurebuilders Investment Fund closed on 30th September. The Social Economy Unit informs us that they have received 127 applications, totalling around £25m. This time round a number of face-to-face discussions took place with applicants prior to submission with a number of previously unsuccessful applicants re-applying. It is hoped to be able to distribute around £4.5m in awards for this round. Click here

The Big Issue in Scotland, together with The Coalition (SSEC), is running a special Social Enterprise Day edition to promote and celebrate the sector (17th Nov.). Special discounts on advertising are being offered to social enterprises. Senscot will be taking one out. More info

This week’s bulletin profiles ‘The Skinny’, a monthly free creative arts, entertainment and listings publication for Scotland – have you seen it yet? Currently there is no equivalent; listings information for coming events and informed comment on local music, art, film and theatre is either not comprehensive or only available at a price. Operating as a social enterprise, it launched its first edition on 1st October when 20,000 copies were distributed in cafes, bars, live music venues, cinemas and theatres in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s city centres. ‘The Skinny’ has other projects in the pipeline to support creative industries, arts and culture. For further info,

I don’t own a camera – never have – never taken photography seriously as a medium of expression.  But I changed my mind this week having visited the Cartier Bresson exhibition in the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh.  Moments in time – frozen forever – asking and answering profound questions.  Things that can only be said in silence.  Quotes posted at the exhibition: Andre Gide.  ‘The wise man is astonished by everything.’  Jean Paul.Sartre: ‘Every human endeavour, however singular it seems, involves the whole human race.’  Bought a wee book by Cartier-Bresson – ‘The Minds Eye’ : ‘Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye, which captures the moment and its eternity. I am neither an economist nor a photographer of monuments, and even less a journalist. What I am looking for, above all else, is to be attentive to life.’ – Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

Best wishes,