Dear members and friends,
The outrage and contempt which people feel towards our MPs may hasten a tipping point – an angry challenge to the culture of greed which consumes our institutions. Banks run like casinos – the rich who pay no taxes – professional probity sold for gold – everyone with influence ‘on the make’. The present campaign against benefit fraud, depicts a big eye with the words; “we’re watching you!”. What shameless hypocrisy.
Without exception, our political leaders bought into the doctrine of free market capitalism – now that it’s ‘broke’, they have no alternative model. But we won’t solve this problem with the mindset that caused it – we need to look elsewhere. All across the World Wide Web, many thousands of networks (like Senscot) are calling for a New Economics – to ensure a fairer distribution of our planet’s limited resources.
At a recent ‘roundtable’ about the recession, I had a wee rant about greed. A woman whose work I have admired for many years (a psychotherapist), responded quietly. ‘‘You say, Laurence, that some people exaggerate the importance of wealth – equate it with security, freedom, fulfilment etc – I’m sure this is true. But have you considered that your deep hostility to wealth could equally be a projection. You ascribe to money the power to corrupt, degrade, exploit etc. Surely money is only what we make it.’’ What she said must have got to me, cos I’m still thinking about it.
The US Govt in the 1970s passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which obliges Banks to provide financial services, including investment, to poor areas. It proved an outstanding success. For years, Senscot and others, campaigned to bring similar legislation to the UK – but Chancellor Brown didn’t want to upset the Banks – eventually we just gave up. Senscot heard this week from the Urban Forum in England, which is trying to assemble a broad coalition of support under the banner of CRA. This legislation would radically change the behaviour of mainstream banking – which would accomplish much more than any specialist Social Investment Bank. Senscot is delighted to endorse and support this new campaign. Maybe, when you read their paper, you’ll consider doing the same. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8130
“If development is about shifting or transforming power there has to be a clear concept of where power can be rightfully and sustainably held – sovereign local organisations and social movements are an obvious location.” Excellent paper (2 pager) about the need for strong independent local organisations. Check the 6 key characteristics of a truly sovereign organisation. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8131
The distinction between providing dignified help for the needy – and enabling people to remain deliberately idle for generations – is an inevitable tension of our welfare system. Muriel Gray’s piece in the Sunday Herald brings insight to a controversial subject. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8132
One of the flaws in the organisation of Scottish Government is the separation of Regeneration (and the whole community empowerment agenda) from Third Sector policy and resources. This split reinforces the isolation of our neglected community sector. Senscot hears that a new civil servant, Diane McLafferty, has been appointed to lead this section. We wish her well.
I tried to get myself invited to the high level English social enterprise summit last Tuesday – but got a KB. I wanted to get a sense of whether the UK government’s love affair with our sector is real – or just hype. From up here it appears more shadow than substance. This is a summary of Summit announcements – underwhelming. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8133
Senscot is exploring the feasibility of establishing a Legal Practice, focused on the needs of social enterprise – and which would itself be a social enterprise. An electronic survey to assess demand / interest in such a service was circulated this week to members of Social Enterprise Networks (SENs). If you’d like to participate in the survey, see link http://www.senscot.net/surveylegal.php
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: incl. posts with UnLtd, Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, Childline in Scotland, Depression Alliance Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, Dr. Bell’s Family Centre, Stepping Stones for Families, Forth Sector, Midlothian Sure Start, Simpson House Counselling, SACRO, Greater Glasgow NHS Trust
EVENTS: Social Capital and Community Resilience, New Lanark, 4 June; Peas vs. Pills Health Workshop, Edinburgh, 6 June; CIC Forum, SSEC, 3 Jun; Banking, regulation and the public interest, University of Glasgow, 4 Jun;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: On Friday, I met with George Watson’s College in Edinburgh to discuss their policy to using local companies as they are keen to learn more about social enterprise. This follows on from a meeting with the Scottish Parliament’s Social Enterprise Procurement Forum where a group of intermediaries were given a long list of the contracts under £90,000 available over the next year. Does anyone know of other companies interested in following a similar Responsible Procurement approach? For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=89
Places are filling up fast at Assist Social Capital’s International Conference at New Lanark on 4th June. See last week’s feature in Social Enterprise Magazine http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8112
One of the most interesting initiatives set up over the last year in our sector has been Social Firms Scotland’s Business Acquisition project where private sector companies are bought and converted into social enterprises. SFS are holding a seminar on 29th May at Manor Place in Edinburgh. Special guest is Kevin Robbie, sharing his experiences of a similar project in Australia. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=8135
Senscot will be hosting two further meetings on the Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) in June – in Glasgow on 11th June in the Wise Group’s offices at 72 Charlotte Street (2 pm – 4 pm) and on 17th June at Aberdeen Foyer’s Marywell Training &Conference Centre in Marywell Street, Aberdeen (2 pm – 4 pm). To book a place, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more background on the Mark, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/shownotice.php?articleid=38
Senscot`s Jobs` page will now include a link to the Employers in Voluntary Housing’s (EVH) Recruitment Service. Over the years, the EVH Recruitment team has provided a comprehensive service for housing associations and co-operatives – recently extended to include the social enterprise sector as well. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8134
Claire Carpenter contacts us this week with news of a raft of new staff at The Melting Pot. New staff also at Firstport, as well as a series of new courses available. For more info` on both, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8128
In 2003, the bulletin profiled Aberdeen social enterprise PrintAbility. This week they contacted us with info` on their re-branding as `Send-It, fulfilment solutions`. The re-branded service will be the only mailing house in Grampian which offers printing, mailing and fulfilment solutions to businesses across all sectors. Send-it offers a back-end service to internet based retailers that involves picking up internet orders direct from customers, packaging the goods and then dispatching them on behalf of the retailer. For more, see
I can’t trace the origin of this quote – but it hardly matters. ‘‘When all is said and done, it is the primal joys that are the most intense. He who conquers a country and rises to great prominence and honour gets out of it not one pleasure more than he who, sitting in the sunshine, watches his first born’s efforts to remove a finger, or suck a toe’’.
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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