Senscot Bulletin 15-08-2003




Dear members and friends,


Phone call on Wednesday from the surgeon who’s going to do
my neck.  She’s a young woman in her 30s
– just back from her holidays.  “I got
your message – that you’ve decided to go ahead with the operation – I can do
you in two weeks.”  PANIC – “That’s very
quick”, I murmur.  “I can postpone if
you want?” – what’s the point prolonging this? 
“No thanks doc – let’s just do it.” 
I sit down – feeling brave – sheer terror.  The surgeon letter says, “I will go in from the front of the neck
on the right hand side and move the windpipe and gullet out of the way.  I will then cut out the disc and remove it
completely replacing it with a Solis implant to hold the bones in place.”  Reading this I wonder again if my nerve can

But of course countless people
endure worse every day.  We don’t choose
it – it comes down to your luck.  The
only useful thing John Wayne ever said – there are some things we just “gotta
do”.  I asked my GP (good guy) how long
it takes to recover from this stuff. 
“Depends on your attitude” he said. 
My Buddhist book agrees – “Don’t let negative thoughts like fear and
anger exaggerate your woes”.  In my
favour I haven’t taken alcohol for two years so am less prone to
melancholy.  After this I may go to
Picinisco where high in the hills the sun will have softened – I could help
them harvest the grapes and olives and the corn cobs and figs – Got to get
through this first, though.



The editorial in today’s Regeneration magazine is about
Communities Scotland:



The debate within Scottish Enterprise Network about how they
should relate to Social Economy organisations matures.  We have posted a brief SEN internal guidance
note which offers a model of how they see their position and which says, “Other
partner organisations and networks will have their own approach for segmenting
the sector in line with their own objectives”. 
It would obviously be helpful if a model could be produced which
included all the various players but it seems that there is still insufficient
clarity about who will commit to do what. 
Credit to SEN for sticking their head up.  They have already committed that this year they will conduct 115
business reviews with social enterprises. 
This note brings further clarity.



Jackie Baillie MSP found the continued delay in modernising
charity law in Scotland unacceptable – so in June she published her intent to
introduce a private members bill for comprehensive legal reform –  (  While not much has been heard about it since
– it has certainly caused a change in pace of the Executive’s work on its own
Bill. The Minister has had a ‘very positive’ meeting with sector leaders and
the civil servants have brought this work to the front of the queue.  In England also the message from Government
on their charity legislation seems to be ‘do it quickly and get it right!’
Excellent article written by solicitor Abbie Rumbold assessing the English



Alan McGregor’s “Valuing the Social Economy – 2003” survey
shows a strengthening of social economy organisation at the middle and top ends
of the range – but a weakening at the less developed end.  It’s as though ‘commissioners of services’
are favouring ‘low risk, quick result’ organisations.  This is quite consistent with growing a sector with the
capability to deliver public services but surely part of our support
infrastructure needs to be focused on stimulating the next generation of social
enterprises.  This is precisely the role
which the Scotland UnLTD Level 1 awards are designed to perform, and we
understand that they are in the process of evaluating their first year’s
programme – 57 awards to 39 projects. General piece about UnLTD UK in Social
Enterprise mag: 



A friend and former colleague from Wester Hailes, Andy
Milne, took over in June as CEO of SURF (Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum). He
replaced Craig McLaren who moved over to set up the new Centre for Regeneration
within Communities Scotland. We asked Andy to explain the respective roles of
the two organisations: “The new Centre for Regeneration is expected to take a
key rôle in developing skills, innovation and support for best practice. SURF
will work closely with the Centre and we have repositioned ourselves as the
independent forum for information, debate and policy development. We will seek
to influence regeneration policy through detailed feedback of the views and
experiences of our practitioner members.” (SURF-



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


Jobs: 20 vacancies, including posts at Social Firms
Scotland, Dundee Voluntary Action , Create Ltd, Blake Stevenson, Pilton


Events: Environmental Justice and Ecological Debt
Conference, Edinburgh, Sept 27; CEL – Charity Trading seminar, Sept 11;
International Rural Community Development Conference, Edinburgh, Sept 18-20;
‘Walk Your Talk’ Event, Findhorn Foundation Sept 18-21.


CAN YOU HELP? One Parent Families Scotland seeking
info/advice on creating a flexible, mobile childcare service.; ‘Vote for
the Social economy’, BBC2. Fife-based orgs behind bid to restore the Victoria
Lino Works.


For details on these and more:



This week we profile a project that’s both a social
enterprise and a support network for social enterprises in the Borders. CESEL
is the vision of Diane Henderson, whose objective is two-fold. First, to
provide a support, advice and training network for emerging social enterprises,
and second, to operate a successful social enterprise that will not only provide
a positive example of social enterprise but also, through its sustainability,
support the work of the network. CESEL has secured premises in Kelso that it
will rent out to generate additional income and has also developed a training
programme designed for the social enterprise sector. More:
( Project Profiles)



A surprising number of people visit the very basic
consultants list on our website so we’ve decided to invest some time and
develop it into a comprehensive directory of services available to the social
enterprise sector in Scotland.  The
biggest section will list consultants who deliver specialised services to niche
markets.  The invitation we will send
out is here:    If you wish to receive it and the
application form e-mail



Yesterday morning (Thursday) the usual suspects (including
Senscot) gathered at Victoria Quay to help produce a toolkit to assist Social
Enterprises to win more public sector contracts.  Meanwhile a real life example of this process is unfolding at
Alloa Community Enterprises – one of Scotland’s top community recyclers.  Stirlingshire Council has switched a glass
collection contract from ACE to a private sector company and a detailed case
study of their reasons would inform the preparation of the toolkit.  Tony Cassidy told us, “Social Enterprises
may see this as warning call.  With new
money available to them (£230 million from the Strategic Waste Fund 2003-2006)
some councils may think they no longer need the services of community



Saturdays I get the Guardian and last week Karen Armstrong
wrote this, “Today in popular parlance, a myth is something that did not
happen, so to claim that a story is mythical is to deny its truth.  But before the advent of our scientific
modernity, myth recounted an event that had – in some sense – happened once,
but which also happened all the time. 
It was never possible to interpret a myth in terms of objective reason.  There were two ways of arriving at truth,
which Plato called ‘mythos’ and ‘logos’ (reason).  They complemented each other and were of equal stature – both
were essential.”

            For us
Westerners today technological logos is producing spectacular results – mythos
is discredited.  But Karen argues that
we need to reconnect with our sense of the mythical, “Because humans are also
meaning seeking creatures, who fall very easily into despair.  When faced with tragedy, reason is silent
and has nothing to say it was mythology and its accompanying rituals that
showed people how to acquire the strength to go on.”


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

Best wishes,



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