Senscot Bulletin: 15.06.12

Dear members and friends,

It seems to come in waves, doesn’t it – the times when we feel in control – when ‘the livin’ is easy’; and the other times when we feel afraid and alone, in a dangerous world. When I’m sad, I try to stay with it – to understand and befriend this part of me. Find it helps to do some simple physical work – like this morning – on my knees – prying the weeds from between the cobbles in my yard – for 3 hours. Hard, demoralising work – but it steadies me; a sense of taking control – making order from the wild. It also teaches me patience – not least with myself.
 Later, an older woman chaps my door, with leaflets for some Gala – accompanied by her granddaughter, aged 3 or 4. I find the conversation of some wee people irresistible – invite them in. Fetch my massive bowl of sweeties (a relic from my own childhood?). Explain to ‘Emma’ that you’re allowed one of these – or two of these… – go round them all. Big wide eyes – checks with Nana – nod of assent – quick decision – two mini toblerones – big smile – wee blether. I discern in this child an unusual grace – a spiritual quality – lifts my mood.
 Later, closing curtains on the near darkness, a familiar car arrives – one I’ve seen parked overnight. Man heads into the woods with big rucksack – to sleep alone among trees and wild creatures. Part of me envies him – but I think I’d be too scared.

Over the years – many of us have campaigned to bring a US style Community Re-investment Act (CRA) to the UK – but the power of the banking lobby has prevented it. In November 2011 – the European Commission launched its Social Business Initiative (SBI), whose latest consultation papers include the proposal for a European CRA; If this is enacted it would fuel a major Europe-wide expansion of our sector. Under CRA, banks are obliged to disclose their business (loans and deposits) in particular communities – and are compelled to make commensurate re-investment – even in the most deprived areas. I have high hopes that the European Commission’s enthusiasm for social enterprise will, over time, be felt in Scotland. See,

The Consultation Paper on the proposed  Community Empowerment Bill – can be seen as emerging from Scotland’s strong history of independent community enterprise; Development Trusts – Community Housing Assocs – all manner of successful local anchor organisations. As such the Paper is to be welcomed. This ‘bedrock’ provides the basis for spreading an enterprise culture – building the capacity of other communities – through a trained cadre of successful practitioners. But the consultation document makes it quite clear – that the content and delivery of ‘capacity building’ is the province of the Govt’s CLD service – not up for consultation. CLD workers ‘winging it’ in enterprise development is not the way to go. Different skills.

‘Daily Good’ sent me a Huffington Post piece about a SE in North Paris called Josephine’s Parlour – love it. In its first year, 1200 disadvantaged women have come for a professional haircut – abuse victims, disabled women, former convicts and rough sleepers, single unemployed mothers etc. Thanks to volunteers and private sponsors – it’s just 3 Euros for a hairdo and make-up – including colour or highlights; read a great story,

Govan Folk University (GFU) is an impressive collaboration between 5 mature, thoughtful organisations – the better to serve their community; Fablevision, Galgael, the Centre for Human Ecology, the Pearce Institute and Linthouse Parish Church. Someone sent me a broadsheet outlining the ‘Govan Together’ project – initiated by GFU; it is an inspiring read – about joined up local leadership – a community on the march! See,

As the public debate about Scotland’s future governance gets underway – I find people increasingly impatient with the puerile behaviour of the political parties. Increasingly, spaces will open up, from which venomous point scoring is explicitly excluded. Such an opportunity is the EDAS Summit meeting next week when Lesley Riddoch will chair a debate on the viability of an independent Scottish economy – no politicians! See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Edinburgh University Students Association, Places for People Scotland Care & Support, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Community Foundation
EVENTS: Mother Courage: Stories of Women & War, 21 Jun; Living Balance Launch Event, 22 Jun; Village SOS Live in Scotland, 28 Jun; AB4G Conference 2012, 9 Nov;
TENDERS: Include Keepwell Outreach Services in Renfrewshire, ITT Supply & Installation of Furniture, Furnishings & White Goods in East Lothian and Catering Supplies for Scottish Enterprise. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Delighted with the turnout and vibe of yesterday’s ‘Fit for Purpose’ event in Glasgow. Thanks to everyone who helped. More feedback next week. This week also saw the circulation of a letter from John Swinney (Cabinet Secretary) commenting on the recent review of Community Planning, undertaken by Scottish Govt and COSLA. The letter is addressed to the wider third sector and, as well as reiterating the Govt’s commitment to strengthening the existing process, it also stresses that Scottish Govt is "similarly committed to a framework that will secure the role of the third sector as a key partner and will be  fully involved in putting that commitment into action". See . For more Networks News, see

Last year, it was reported that St Mirren was on the verge of a community takeover. The CIC, 10,000 Hours, with the support of around 400 fans, had put together a package to purchase a controlling share (52%) of the club. Their first attempt seemed to hit the buffers but now, with the support of Big Issue Invest, it looks like the community takeover could become a reality later this week. A few weeks back, the bulletin talked about the German model, where membership of the Bundesliga is conditional on members holding a controlling interest of shares (51%). Looks like the Buddies could be taking the lead in Scotland. See,

Social Enterprise Scotland (SES), our national body, is holding its AGM on Wed 27th June at the MacDonald Conference Rooms in Edinburgh. John Swinney (Cabinet Secretary) will be there, joining members for a Q&A session. Event is members only. See,

Bulletin reader, John Hancox (The Commonwealth Orchard) handed in a petition this week to Parliament, asking Scottish Govt to encourage public bodies and private landowners to make their surplus land available for growing food. This would include the likes of the Forestry Commission, the Crown Estates and Health Boards. John’s hoping to 1000 signatures. Tom Shields writes that this initiative works well in Barcelona. Got a good feel this stuff. See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in West Lothian that is part of the CFINE stable. CFINE now operates has been operating in three areas: Aberdeen City; Aberdeenshire and, most recently, West Lothian. CFINE (West Lothian) got underway in March 2010, taking on the remit that had previously been carried out by Welfehd. Since then they have established 15 Community Food Outlets across West Lothian where good quality fruit and veg can be accessed at affordable prices. They have also engaged the support of over 40 volunteers. For more, see

Really enjoying ‘Findings’ by Kathleen Jamie – her eye and ear for nature – reflective observations – writing as a conversation with the natural world.
"George Mackay Brown once wrote that ‘the past was like a great ship that has gone ashore, and archivist and writer must gather as much of the rich squandered cargo as they can’. But we pick and choose, and I wondered if it’s still possible to value that which endures, if durability is a virtue, when we have invented plastic, and the doll’s head I found with her tufts of hair and rolling eyes may well persist after our own have cleaned back down to the bone."
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