Senscot Bulletin: 15-12-2006

Dear members and friends,

The Spanish don’t do Christmas but they celebrate ‘Feliz año nuevo’, and in Marbella the Orange Square (Plaza de Los Naranjos) is the hub of a great hogmanay street party. All restaurants within walking distance are packed, and one year our gang – around twenty – shared the back room at La Fonda with twenty Spaniards. Well into the meal one of them does a speech and toast which we can’t understand, but out of respect we listen and applaud. Then we do the same and they clap. So it goes – back and forth – many toasts flow into one big party. At midnight the Spaniards explain that if you can eat a grape on each of the twelve chimes, it brings much luck (suerte) in the coming year. Hilarious attempts, then out into the streets with the happy hordes – moving towards the plaza and the great twenty piece band playing traditional Mexican music – the slurring vibrato of mariachi trumpets. I remember being nudged by the throng into a privet hedge – just lay, laughing and laughing.
Last New Year in Spain I felt the cold – so I’m staying put – prefer to be cold at home. Christmas with my sister’s family – lots of exuberant young people – youth should have its fling. As we ‘auld yins’ know well – they don’t last long, the days of wine and roses.

Laurence’s book is now also available at Word Power Bookshop, 43 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh. See: 

I’ve read the speech David Cameron made to the NCVO Conference yesterday (Thursday). His ideas are more developed and it becomes clearer – the distinction between how he and Brown view the relationship between the State and the Third Sector. The fact that this is now amongst the most hotly contested political ground can only be good for our work. Brown’s pre-budget speech announced £30m for asset transfer and the proposal to invest unclaimed bank accounts in the third sector was moved forward. Simultaneously two reports were published which will improve opportunities for social enterprises to deliver public contracts. This will include a programme to train 2,000 procurement officers on how to involve the Third Sector. Our administration in Scotland remains in a municipal time warp. The rate at which the Third Sector in England moves ahead of us will now accelerate. Scotland needs an election.

In the 1970s the ideas of Ivan Illich had a profound effect on me – particularly with regard to schooling and health provision. Illich held that as well as helping us, professionals disable us, and that the citizen should take back power from the experts in favour of a more participatory form of service provision – peer to peer. Charles Leadbeater in the latest edition of Prospect magazine acclaims Illich as a prophet and argues that a tax-funded public service built around passive consumers simply won’t cope with rising expectations. We will need to equip all the users to become players: David Donnison’s article last week – how a new profession will emerge – trained to work alongside volunteers:

Senscot was at a 1st birthday party this week to celebrate the incorporation of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition. Almost 50 people attended the event at the Engine Shed in Edinburgh and heard Nicol Stephen (Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise) talk about the importance of social enterprise being accepted as a mainstream way of doing business and of his belief (opening up the old chestnut) that responsibility for the sector’s development has to lie within the Department of Enterprise and Lifelong Learning. 

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: 16 vacancies, incl. posts with: Highlands & Islands Enterprise, The Thistle Foundation, Scottish Executive, Glasgow Women’s Aid, Impact Arts, SCVO, Oxfam, Opportunities.

EVENTS:12 events, incl. Change Management Workshop for Social Enterprises in Dumfries & Galloway, Castle Douglas, 16 Jan 2007; Developing Social Enterprise, Edinburgh, 17 Jan 07; Art Expo 2007, Scotland’s first ever National Conference for Artists with Learning Disabilities, Glasgow, 27 Feb 2007.

Most people still won’t know what a social enterprise is but coverage in the national media is gathering momentum. The Times last week carried a piece about social entrepreneurs and the UnLtd programme, The Herald last Tuesday carried a special feature on social enterprises within the Health sector.

Worth noting the updated guidance on VAT for Charities. They have been extensively re-written to incorporate new measures introduced in Finance Act 2006. This guidance concerns mixed primary and non primary purpose trading and is definitely worth looking over if you are, or thinking of becoming, VAT registered. For info,

We’re delighted to see 47 social entrepreneurs graduated from the Social Enterprise Academy today, double the number of 2005 graduates, including people starting a bakery on Lewis, a bike recycling project in Perth and quit-smoking classes across lowland Scotland. Congratulations to all involved:

This week’s bulletin profiles an organisation offering the opportunity to social enterprises to raise some funds while attending the world’s biggest street party.  The Workers Beer Company is looking for people to come and serve beer at the Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party. This is a great opportunity to attend the big event and raise funds for your project and make a difference in your community. Set up in the 1980s, the Workers Beer Company is a not for profit organisation. All monies raised go back into grass roots development, campaigning causes and community projects all across the UK. Over the last 20 years, this has resulted in over £2 million going back into local communities. For further info’, see

Freud was a materialistic scientist who denied the existence of ‘spirit’ in humans, whilst Jung, Freud’s protégé, was an intuitive mystic, who proclaimed its primacy in all human affairs. Jung believed that the main human task – particularly in mid and later age – is the achievement of insight, wholeness and spiritual depth.

‘Modern man does not understand how much his ‘rationalism’ (which has destroyed his capacity to respond to spiritual symbols and ideas) has put him at the mercy of the psychic ‘underworld.’ He has freed himself from ‘superstition’ (or so he believes), but in the process he has lost his spiritual values to a positively dangerous degree. His moral and spiritual tradition has disintegrated, and he is now paying the price for this break-up in worldwide disorientation and dissociation’ (Carl Jung)

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

Best wishes,

To receive this bulletin directly, you can sign up here: