Senscot Bulletin: 15-04-2005


(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,

Dear members and friends,


Staying in wee mountain village near Ronda – two basic rooms – the resiny tang of pine trees (not from a bottle).  Every day – beautiful sunshine – real heat – feel my petals opening.  This morning, I drive down the coast for a game of golf with Tom, who lives in Spain.  The golf course – the weather – the company – the facilities – as good as it gets.  Afterwards we join a dozen other ‘Brits abroad’ in the bar.  Everything here has got more expensive – more luxurious.  Luxury and corruption seem to go together – this coast is awash with dodgy folk – and their loot.  Get chatting with posh chap who seems interested in my work.  This is rare – discuss venture philanthropy – exchange email contacts.  Check him out later with Tom. ‘Edgar was a bank manager somewhere in Kent – embezzled £3.5m – he’s ‘on his tiptoes.'(Costa term for a fugitive). ‘But if he’s a crook,’ I say ‘why does nobody bother?’ ‘What does it matter?’ Tom says. ‘The only thing they bother about here – is if you’re skint.’  Back up the hill – writing this sitting outside village bar – sun going down – children being called in for bed – someone roasting peppers.  This mountain stillness – or the bustling coast?  I used to wonder which of these is really me – what does it matter – I enjoy both.  Young Carlos who brings my hot chocolate – loves to speak English – says something unintelligible.  ‘Your English is getting better’ I say. ‘No understand’ he smiles.  I smile back.  His mum is my landlady. Good family – good values – he’ll be OK – feet on the ground, not `on his tiptoes`.



The Scottish Green Party has come out in strong support of Social Enterprise.  Mark Ballard, their finance spokesperson, says ‘The Greens fully support the development of the Social Enterprise sector which I believe will prove to be the fastest growing sector of the Scottish economy in the 21st century.  We must have greater recognition at all levels, and by the local and national enterprise companies, that social enterprise is a distinct way of doing business – and dedicated advice, support and financing is therefore required.’

Of all the parties hoping to gain from Labour disaffection, the Greens may do best because their slogan, ‘People, Planet, Peace’, appeals to many traditional Labour supporters (like me).  The Greens opposed the Iraq war, want to cut defence spending by 60% and are the only Party committed to the green industries on a scale that matches the trend of climate change.  On the environment and social justice they are solid – and they’re the only ones in Scotland who understand the potential contribution of our sector.



This week we carry an appeal for help from the community of Assynt. They have until the end of May to raise £900,000 so that they can collectively purchase a 44,000 acre piece of land including the iconic mountains of Suilven, Canisp, Cul Mor, Cul Beag, the beautiful lochs of Veyatie, Cam, and parts of Assynt and Fionn lochs. The land has been put up for sale by the Vestey family at a price of £3m. The community (450 families), with the support of the Scottish Land Unit and HIE, has managed to raise over £2m to date. They have now launched an appeal for donations to make up the shortfall. If you are able to help, visit



Next Thursday in Dingwall, HISEZ (Highland and Island Social Enterprise Zone) holds its inaugural conference at the Ross County Football Ground. The event will be a celebration of social enterprise in the Highlands and Islands, highlighting past successes and future plans for the HISEZ initiative. Further info`:


The Social Enterprise Institute at Heriot Watt has set a high standard for its annual conferences – good speakers.  This year, on 1st June, it is to be on Social Entrepreneurship.  


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: 45 vacancies, incl. posts with: The British Red Cross, The Barri Grub Project, Green City Wholefoods, The PROP Stress Centre, and the World Youth Congress.


EVENTS: Toonspeak’s AGM, 4th May, Glasgow; ‘Zoning In’ Conference, by HISEZ, 21st April , Dingwall; DTA’s ‘Taking Root’ event, 15th and 16th June, Cambridge; Chamber of Social Enterprise Launch, 11th May, at Tweed Horizons; Supporters Direct in Scotland Annual Conference, 17th April, Stirling; European Housing Ecology Network Conference, 21st and 22nd April, Glasgow.


MARKETPLACE: Positive Action in Housing are making an appeal for spare office furniture, desks, filing cabinets or working computers, photocopiers, and donations of stationery.  Mail to:

JAM74 I’m currently trying to find us a small office space in Glasgow. Please contact Fiona Barnes on 07962 042474′.


One of the bills to fail because of the dissolution of parliament is the English Charities Bill.  They hadn’t got it right yet, particularly with regard to how public benefit is defined.  In contrast, the Scottish bill is moving towards Stage 2 and is expected to be through Parliament by summer. Our bill will contain a definition of public benefit, and each charity – including private schools – will need to demonstrate, individually, that they provide public benefit.



This week saw the third meeting of the Cultural Social Enterprise Network held in Lochgelly, Fife. Their next meeting will be held at Out of the Blue in Edinburgh in May. Next week, two local networks are also meeting: Monday 18th April, the Argyll and Bute SEN will be meeting at the ABCAB offices in Lochgilphead and on Tuesday 19th April, the Ayrshire SEN meets at Hansel Village, Symington. For further info` on these or other Networks, contact



This week`s bulletin profiles Drum Adventure, a social enterprise in Drumchapel, Glasgow. Drum  Adventure was set up to enhance the health and education of Drumchapel residents through the provision of of outdoor adventure activities. It has been operational for a number of years and has gained a considerable reputation with a large number of affiliated groups and organisations in Glasgow accessing their services. These range from school and youth groups to addiction services, mental health and physically disabled groups. They have also been commissioned by Glasgow City Council to provide outdoor activities for European youngsters visiting the city on exchanges. The activities on offer range from mountain biking to skiing. Further info:



I feel a strong empathy with the poetry of Raymond Carver – his view of the world.  Ray was a drunk who managed to stop: ‘I suppose I just wanted to live’ he said, later.  In his drinking years, his poems were ‘alternately hell-bent and penitential’ but in his final sober decade, he wrote of the transcendent power of nature.  He seems to have been particularly moved in the presence of moving water – he noted Czeslaw Milosz line: ‘When it hurts, we return to the banks of certain rivers.’  For me, it’s the sea shore, but same thing really – the solace of moving water – constantly remaking itself – our human metaphor for baptism and rebirth and above all, for hope.  I often wonder if hope comes from inside us –  neurological pathways in the brain – activated, by adoring eyes, in the early months of life – or not.  But perhaps it comes from outside – given, not earned.  Perhaps on a beach – ‘a sudden swoop of feeling’ – a glimpse of a better way of being.


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


Best wishes,




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