Senscot Bulletin: 15-09-2006

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Dear members and friends,

Wake at 4.44 am – nose bleeding. Switch on lamp – bulb pops and dies – grope in dark for main light switch. Huge spider floodlit on duvet – motionless – menacing. Kill it violently. Sit on bed pinching nose – swallowing blood. The dread hours before dawn – the soul’s darkest – when fear builds and the suicide does the deed.
 Daybreak – sunlight penetrates haar – coffee and toast – the day improves. A tiny wren has taken to hunting insects in the geranium window boxes – watching it makes me feel good – blessed. Spend the day dithering – can’t focus on anything. Been surfing the holiday sites recently – trying to convince myself I deserve a week away. My personal spoiler says no.
 Karen pops in with a document she’s editing – she’s got Jade aged three. ‘Are you the boss of this house?’ Jade asks. ‘Yes’. ‘Can you do anything you want?’  ‘ Anything’. To show off I rip the arm from a chair (it’s loose) and throw it on the floor. The bairn is thrilled – stares in awe at this wild man. ‘When you’re big can you do anything?’ I pause. ‘As long as it’s not selfish – big people can do anything they want.’ When they leave I book a holiday – two weeks. My stunt with the chair did it. ‘Don’t mess with me,’ I tell the spoiler – ‘I’m pure mental’

Clare Short announced yesterday that she will stand down as a Labour MP because she is ` profoundly ashamed of the government.’ She criticised Tony Blair`s support for ‘US neo-conservative foreign policy which has helped make the world a more dangerous place’. She believes democracy in Britain is in trouble and will campaign for electoral reform. ‘I am standing down so I can speak the truth – if we can’t speak the truth we shouldn’t be in politics.’ Clare Short has been around for 25 years – in and out of the tent – her latest diatribe won`t astound the natives. But there are a lot of us ashamed of this government – and she gives voice to what we feel.

Patrick Butler, the editor of the Society Guardian, wrote a good piece about social enterprise last week which criticised the political hype which, he says, is raising impossible expectations. He says that it is clear that ministers  are impatient to see social enterprise compete in health, social care and elsewhere – but what can it realistically deliver? He argues that it is still unknown whether social enterprise has the capacity and experience to become a serious player in mainstream public service delivery. I think he’s right – this will take years – and I don’t think the SE Coalition is doing itself any favours fanning the flames.
 In Scotland, our sector operates in a climate of indifference from most politicians – and covert hostility from the ruling municipalists. In the long run this may come in our favour.

In another piece Graham Mather (who sounds like a bureaucrat) writes. ‘ Although Britain is edging, under the skilful goad of Sir Michael Lyons, towards another attempt to decentralise, disaggregate and vary the provision of local services it far from clear that the players, whether at Whitehall or local councils are ready. Are they really prepared to accept the consequences of a change that could mean very profound differences in the way in which communities conceive and deliver local services?’ This of course is the big issue facing England’s community sector next year. In Scotland, we don’t need to worry. We don’t have a new local government bill – or a community sector. See
There has been considerable in interest in the Commission for Unclaimed Assets event next month. The event, looking at the possible creation of a new Social Investment Bank, is taking place on Friday 20th October in the Trades Hall in Glasgow from 10-12noon. There are still spaces available. If you`re interested, contact
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week:

JOBS: 25 vacancies, incl. posts with: Scotcash, MEAL, Scottish Pre-school Play Association, Forth Sector, Scottish native Woods, GCVS, Second Opportunities, The Melting Pot, Mayfield & Easthouses Youth 2000 Project

EVENTS: 27 events, incl. How do we develop community assets?, Scottish Centre for Regeneration, 3 Oct; Workforce Plus – the Scottish Employability Framework, EQUAL Access, 5 Oct; Marketing Workshop for Social Enterprises in Dumfries & Galloway, BASE project, 10 Oct; How can we change way people think and feel about places?, Scottish Centre for Regeneration, 24 Oct;

Social Audit Network and Social Enterprise Academy are delivering a 2  Day Social Audit Masterclass in Inverness – 25th and 26th October.  Please contact Jayne for more details or to book a place – tel 0131 220 5333

Last week, Colin attended the Social Enterprise Institute Conference at Heriot Watt. There was an impressive list of speakers. Two who caught Colin`s eye were Anne Hamerton from Cuckoo Lane Health Care ( a social enterprises run by 3 nurses) and Iain Corran from Genesis Dental Care (the UK’s only dental clinic that runs as a social enterprise). Colin has persuaded Steve Holmes (Chair of Genesis Dental Care) to speak at his event in Stirling on 3rd October. We’re also delighted that Graham Bell ( Kibble ) and Boo Armstrong (Get Well UK) will be making presentations. Places still available. For Agenda and Booking Form, see . For more info` on growing importance of social enterprise in the health sector, see

A few weeks back we mentioned the imminent arrival of a new Scottish magazine for social enterprise, ‘Good Company’. The magazine, produced by Anne Marie McGeoch, offers a strong line up of people from the social enterprise scene in Scotland. They`ve also launched their own website this week and are keen to get feedback. See

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise providing a whole range of design and print services. NEWCO Media Centre Ltd is the new trading arm of Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society (KPHS) in Upper Nithsdale, Dumfries and Galloway. It now has a dedicated team providing the print and design services with any profits generated going towards assisting its parent organisation, KPHS continue its work within the community. Amongst the services available are film editing, photo restoration and media conversions – i.e. video/cine to dvd. For further info`, see
Charles Handy gave a talk to the RSA in November 1996 called, What’s it all for? Re-inventing capitalism for the next century.’ This is a passage from that talk,…..’Capitalism is the most powerful mechanism we’ve yet invented for delivering the goods but I don’t think it’s necessarily capable of delivering a good life for all – or a decent society. I don’t think we should expect it to. It is a means and not an end and there’s a danger in promoting it as an ideology which is sufficient unto itself. That is a category error. It amounts to saying that the means can justify the ends, whatever they may be. In other words, competition, efficiency, the market place, profitability, must always be good, whatever comes out at the end. I’m saying `No`. We have to think about the ends we desire as well as the means. If that means moderating the means, well, so be it. Effectiveness may be more important than efficiency.’

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

Best wishes,

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