Dear members and friends,
Enjoying the last of my ten days in Andalucía – days of planned, precious emptiness; wee ‘walking stick strolls’ in mature landscaped gardens; sitting in sunlit cafes – listening, watching, smiling at folk. The air can be cool in November – but the light is spectacular and constant; I can understand how painters would relocate for this kind of sensual immediacy and clarity. I reflect on how individual temperament – and the temper of whole nations – must be influenced by exposure to this quality of light.
Been reading about Albert Camus – born exactly a hundred years ago in sunny Algiers; how he once said that he carried within himself “an unconquerable summer”. (What a splendid thing to have felt). Neuroscience attributes such enviable inner resilience – not to climate – but to the defining experiences of early life- around love and security. I am sure this is true – but it is also science that sunlight enhances human wellbeing – both physical and mental.
For anyone aged 73 – the climate of Andalucía poses an obvious question: why would you want to live anywhere else? My answer is that at this time it feels important for me to be fully Scottish. The narrative of my country is approaching an historic moment; if our people choose self-determination – I’d like to be part of fashioning a better society – based on justice and opportunity for all. If, however, the decision is to remain a province of London – I’ll feel released for ‘early retirement’; my final years may yet be in full sunlight.
We still have copies of Kindness – Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage; or 2 for £20 – postage paid. Christmas pressies? See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
Caroline Mason, the chief operating officer of Big Society Capital (BSC) – has left to become CEO of Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (dream job). Our old pal David Floyd (of the intrepid Beanbag blog) has secured a coup – in posting a candid interview with Mason – in which she spills the beanbags about BSC. David describes Mason as ‘thoughtful, well-informed and understated’ and these qualities come across – but this piece is still a damning confirmation of what many of us knew – that BSC got it very wrong; city bankers pitching at a market mainly imagined. Mason’s take on the true market, and its requirements – concurs almost exactly with the work of the Scottish Community Banking Trust.
One of the UK’s leading charity lawyers, Stephen Lloyd told an NCVO conference recently that we need a legal definition of what qualifies as a social enterprise – ‘based on legal forms that have appropriate asset locks’. Senscot has campaigned for such a definition for many years – a convert as influential as lawyers Bates, Wells and Braithwaite is to be welcomed.
Stephen Lloyd (previous piece) is urging the third sector to form a united front against the relentless march of major corporations into public service delivery. This is also the theme of George Monbiot’s piece this week – how our very democracy is being eroded almost unopposed, by corporate power. “Blair and Brown purged the Labour Party of any residue of opposition to corporations and those who run them’’.
“The cone of Wellington’s head is an iconic part of Glasgow’s heritage – and means far more to the people of Glasgow than Wellington himself ever did”. So started the social media petition which attracted enough support, this week, to convince Glasgow councillors to leave well alone. As one passer-by put it: “The cone is a symbol of the defiant, fun spirit of Glasgow which is renowned throughout the world”.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Scottish Rural Parliament, EVOC, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, Turning Point Scotland, Isle of Rum Community Trust, Furniture Plus Ltd, Whiteinch and Scotstoun Housing Association Ltd
EVENTS: A Social Entrepreneur Chat Show, 19 Nov; Illuminated Letters: Literary Heroines, 26 Nov; Dragon’s Pen Event, 27 Nov; Drama Queens: Play Reading for Pleasure, 28 Nov;
TENDERS: Advice & Information Services Throughout Dumfries & Galloway and Community Respite for Adults and Older People – West Lothian CHCP. http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=855.
The 9th SE Conference and Ceilidh went off well this week – 160 delegates – approximately 70% SEN members. Some of the highlights included: Minister, Derek Mackay answered questions very honestly; a lively Referendum debate ; A Dragons’ Den first with 1st prize being split between Moffat CAN winner was the Swim School; Audience winner was Swim School. Thanks to all those who came along; our sponsors and supporters; as well, of course, as those who contributed to sessions/workshops. We’ll have a fuller report next week. In the meantime, here’s the final delegate list, see http://www.se-networks.net/downloads/SE13DelgateList.pdf . Once the dust has settled, we’ll be planning for the Ceilidh’s 10th birthday in 2014.
For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=322.
This week saw the launch of the Social Enterprise Strategy for Edinburgh (2013-18). Over 60 delegates gathered at The Melting Pot to hear Andrew Burns (Leader of Edinburgh City Council) launch the Strategy – setting out the role they envisage for SE in the City. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16297
Edinburgh SEN, along with its Third Sector Interface (TSI) partners, is also looking to fill a much needed gap by exploring the feasibility of setting up an accountancy and book-keeping social enterprise. As part of their market research, they have put together a short questionnaire – it’ll only take 10 mins to fill in. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16302
The introduction of the Procurement Reform Bill last month was welcomed by many people within our SE community. It has been seen by both social enterprises as well as Scottish minister as opening a door to SEs and third sector orgs in the delivery of public services in Scotland. However, there remain concerns about the ability of the sector to respond to opportunities particularly with regard to timescales, complexity and scale. In England, a National Consortium of Social Enterprises has been formed to address this problem. We could do with something similar up here. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16295
Still on the Procurement Bill, it got a bit of stick at last week’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. Two eminent economists – Jim and Margaret Cuthbert – described the Bill, amongst other things, as ‘extremely weak’, ‘nebulous’, and ‘unlikely to achieve much’. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16296
Couple of events worth noting in the coming weeks. First, the fourth (and final) of the Comrie Conversations takes place next Tuesday – 19th Nov at the White Church in the town (7.30pm). With the Referendum looming up, The ‘Conversations’ seek to address what kind of Scotland we want. Line-up includes journalist Iain McWhirter; the playwright, David Greig; and former rector of the University of St Andrews, Simon Pepper. See details, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16293. On the same night in Edinburgh, the Melting Pot is hosting the ‘Social Entrepreneur Chat Show’. On the sofa are Mel Young (Homeless World Cup; Greg Chauvet (Bike Station, Glasgow); and Marianne Paterson (Ayrshire Children’s Services). See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16294.
This week’s bulletin profiles a Sport SEN member – and Showcase presenter at yesterday’s SE Conference and Ceilidh – that is seeking to improve the physical, mental and social health and well-being of its local community. North Coast Leisure Centre (NCLC), based in Bettyhill, Caithness, covers a catchment area of approx. 800 square miles (same size as greater London). The community-owned Centre, set up in 1996, provides a range of services and activities within the facility but is also increasing its focus on outreach services – working with both the local Social Work department and NHS partnership. For more, see https://senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=16292
The Buddhist poet, Maitreyabandhu, rejoices in the song of the thrush – “whatever else there is, there’s this as well!”
This: There’s no law against my listening to this thrush behind the barn, the song so loud it echoes like a bell, then it`s further off beyond the lawn. Whatever else there is, there’s this as well. There’s no law against this singing – nesting I suppose – up in the silver birch, even though we build a common hell, have done, and will make it worse. Whatever else there is, there’s this as well.”
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210