Senscot Bulletin: 16.01.09

Dear members and friends,

 Since 2001 when the present format was adopted, I don’t believe this bulletin has missed a deadline – how compulsive is that?  We always skip 2 editions over the festive break – this year a gap of 20 days – long enough to break free.  To help the ailing economy – national and personal – I didn’t escape to Spain this year – just pottered around the house – but it didn’t go well.  My plan was to lie low – just allow myself to sink to the bottom of the pool – and when my feet touched the bottom, to rise up with fresh purpose.  But, to continue the metaphor, I just kept going down – deeper and darker – till I reached quite a scary place.  When I found myself sobbing during ”Lark Rise to Candleford” I reckoned it was time to rejoin humanity.
 I have learned that I am not as self sufficient as I like to pretend – and that the retirement part of my life will need some planning and structure.  At the end of Brideshead Revisited, Sebastian has attached himself to a wee monastery – one of those eccentric hangers-on who can’t quite fit in to the world or the monastic rule – not uncommon.  In a beautiful place, overlooking the Med – white cloisters and bell tower – watering rows of green vegetables when the sun is low – chanting Compline with the monks – not a bad way of getting through the `end game`.  My friend points out that Sebastian had a generous personal allowance – and that because I’m skint, no one would take me.  She’s not very romantic.

Over the next 2 years, the Scottish Investment Fund (SIF) will invest £30m in around 60 of our best Social Businesses.  Through this strategy, our Government has pinned its colours to the mast – that it regards social enterprise as an important element of Scotland’s future prosperity and well being.  SIF is the ‘top end’ of a range of measures recently announced to promote an enterprising Third Sector. Quite properly, the 60 odd businesses selected for investment will have a sound track record and well developed, ambitious plans. One criticism might be that these criteria favour the established winners – all the usual suspects.  Senscot is part of a small consortium called Social Ventures Scotland (SVS) which will try to ensure that at least a dozen of the 60 come from outside the premier league – the stars of the future.  SIF is being managed by Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and you may know that its founding CEO, Scott Anderson, will be retiring in March. An announcement regarding his successor is expected late Jan/early Feb. Here’s an article from this week’s Herald

As the banking strike continues, so the pressure builds for the state to take active control of flow of credit.  Even veteran evangelists of the free market are now saying that private banks are not a necessary part of the market system.  Citizens seem divided between those who just want to get back to the way things were ASAP – and those who see an opportunity for change.  Good piece by Ian McWhirter on Sunday.

The Arran Voice newspaper, which serves the 5000 strong island community, was recently faced with closure.  It changed into a social enterprise – appealed to its readers for help – and its fortunes have turned around.  This story reflects two national trends; the spread of the social enterprise business model and the increasing direct involvement of local people in securing threatened services.

At the start of each year Senscot invites subscriptions and donations.  Full company membership is only open to individuals (who pay on average £25).  A new category of Associate member is now available for organisations – public, private or third sector – which support our work.  Organisations pay £100 and have unlimited use of our jobs and events advertising service.  Those not interested in membership are invited to make a simple donation to the cost of the bulletin.  Payment is not a condition of receiving the bulletin.

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: incl. posts with: IACD/C, CEiS Ayrshire, North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, Edinburgh Community Backgreens Association, Glasgow YWCA, RISE, Social Firm Steering Group Stirling, Firsport
EVENTS: Burns Ceilidh for the Nepal Trust, The Nepal Trust, 24 Jan; Mental Health Awareness, Fife Employment Access Trust, 2 Feb; Fit for Purpose, Senscot, 3 Mar; CRNS, CRNS 4TH Annual Conference & Awards, 10 Mar; Stress Awareness at Work, Fife Employment Access Trust, 13 Mar

NETWORKS 1st News: Senscot will be carrying out an LSEN Vital Statistics Survey over the next couple of months. We’ll be getting in touch with Network members in an effort to gather information at an organisational and Network level. We’ve put together an online form to keep the process as simple as possible.  For more Network News, see

Firstport will be operating the £1m Social Entrepreneur Fund over the next two years. To oversee the running of the Fund, they are now advertising for a Fund Manager. Closing date – 2nd Feb, see more

Today’s the last chance to register for the Coalition’s (SSEC) `Surviving Recession` Business Forum in Edinburgh on Tues 20th Jan. See details  . The Coalition has also produced a guide to funding which is available to social enterprises. It’s worth a look.

The Breadmaker, the award-winning social firm in Aberdeen, is advertising for a new chairperson following the retirement of their founder/chair, Dr.Denis Durno. We wish Denis all the best for his retirement. For info`, see

The Scottish Government this week announced that the project to develop, promote and support the use of a standard form for measuring social return on investment (SROI) is now underway. The project will run from 2009-2011 and will run by a consortium led by Forth Sector. For more, including comment from Mike Finlayson (CEO, Forth Sector), see

This week’s bulletin profiles an organisation in Paisley set up to promote and develop fair trade. Rainbow Turtle was set up in 2002 with the objective of raising public awareness of fair trade and encourage more people to buy fairly traded products. Their trading arm – Rainbow Turtle Just Trading – operates a shop in the town as well as supplying local schools and offices with fair trade products. For more, see

I’m not much of a theatre-goer so am not familiar with Harold Pinter’s work – but stuff I’ve read since his death makes me interested in his understanding of silence:

 ”I think we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rearguard attempts to keep ourselves to ourselves.  Communication it too alarming.  To enter into someone else’s life is too frightening.  To disclose to others the poverty within us is too fearsome a possibility.  One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.” 

Pinter would say that that friend of yours who can’t stop taking – is covering nakedness. –

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

Best wishes,

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