Senscot Bulletin 16-04-2004



Dear members and friends,


Scott Fitzgerald ended ‘The Great Gatsby’ with this line,
“So we beat on – boats against the current – borne back ceaselessly into the
past.”  The older we get, the more we
feel the grip of our history.  Although
I no longer ‘practise’ any religion – each year Good Friday catches me again –
takes me back.  At three in the
afternoon I want to be alone – to visit again that story long ago.  I don’t understand this – not even sure I
believe it – doesn’t seem to matter. 

Last Friday I walked up Gullane
Hill to my secret rocks where the sky is huge – west to the Forth bridge –
north deep into Fife – east over the Bass Rock to the open sea.  Gradually dark storm clouds gathered over
head – by three o’clock, “Darkness covered the face of the Earth.”  It was a terrific sombre spectacle – I urged
the rain and thunder to unleash.  The
grandeur of the occasion was interrupted by a sudden urgent need to pee.  There is something primal about urinating in
the wilderness – far from humanity.  I
turned away from the wind and unzipped – but as I started, a young woman
rounded the rocks followed by her man carrying a child on his shoulders.  She stopped – he moved up protectively –
only the child seemed unperturbed. 
“Look – that man’s doing a wee wee.” 
I turned into the wind – shuffled towards a gorse bush – trousers got



To date almost £100m of Phoenix Fund support has been
committed to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas of
the UK – except in Scotland there is no Phoenix Fund. Background
information.  (

Of all the resources the Scottish sector has been denied in
the past few years The Phoenix Fund is the most painful – feels like a
mugging!  The DTI assures us that a
‘consequential’ payment will have been made to the Scottish Executive which
under the Barnett Formula will be around £10m. 
The question is – what is it being spent on up here?  The rules say that any such payment can be
used for any purpose the Executive sees fit. 
No one is questioning this – we’re only asking what our £10m is being
used for – surely that’s a fair question. 
Can any bulletin reader help get an answer?



“It started like a lot of voluntary organisations – a group
of people in a draughty church hall trying to solve a problem.”  This year Ealing Community Transport will
record a turnover of £22m and it’s Chief Executive, Stephen Sears has just been
made the Upstarts social entrepreneur of the year.  If you are in the business of growing a social enterprise the
attached interview will gladden your heart – you’ll recognise Stephen’s take on
council resistance to social enterprise. 



Last Wednesdays conference was a joy – good crowd (100) –
good venue – well-organised – most important, folk found it stimulating.  Good feeling – that something exciting is
happening.  All sorts of new connections
– new ideas are running.  We have posted
the presentations.  (



Over the past five years Senscot has accumulated an
impressive archive of articles, reports, research, case studies etc.  We have built a new database driven website
to house this information in a way that anyone can access it.  We now need help to transfer all the
information onto the new database. 
Someone familiar with the Social Economy in Scotland so they can find
and collate new web content.  Also, a
knowledge of html and various web based applications.  There is probably two months work – we can pay £10 per hour for
the rights skills.  Contact



“Freedom is actually a bigger game than power.  Power is about what you can control.  Freedom is about what you can unleash.”  Harriet Rubin



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: 62 vacancies, including The Pavillion Youth Cafe,
Supporting People (Scotland) Ltd, Grantown YMCA, Midlothian Voluntary Action,
GCVS, Out of the Blue, YWCA Glasgow, The Place2Be.


EVENTS: ‘Get The Vote Out!’ Reception, 21 April, Glasgow;
‘Ten Years In South Africa’s Democracy’, seminar, Edinburgh April 27; Edinburgh
Mediabase Intro to Screenwriting, starts 4th May; ‘Rural Affairs – Any
Questions?’ RSA event, 6th May, Edinburgh; EDAS Welfare To Work Event, Glasgow,
7 May; The Way Forward For Rural Scotland conf., Edinburgh 10 May; Public
Sector Procurement conf., Edinburgh, 14 May; ‘Share Your Eurovision!’, 15th
May, Glasgow; 2nd International Social Enterprise Exchange,
Budapest, May 23-29; Edinburgh Treefest 2004, 12-13 June; Socialising The
Global Economy, International conf., 16-17 September, Liverpool,.


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at: 



Interesting letters exchanged in The Herald last week
between Andrew Bradford for the landowners and Alistair McIntosh for land
reformers.  Bradford argues that
landowners should get a share of the public money to provide social housing.  McIntosh argues that the issue is not
whether social housing is provided by the private rented sector or the public
rented sector, “What land reformers are talking about is community empowerment
– individual responsibility and entrepreneurship, within community-owned
accountable frameworks.”  (



This week’s bulletin profiles a project in Golspie.  Since it’s opening in June 2000, Möbius
Sutherland Computer Recycling Group has recycled computers from hundreds of
individuals and organisations.  Nearly
5,000 pieces of equipment have been diverted from landfill and 350 refurbished
computers have been allocated to organisations and individuals.  Möbius not only helps the environment but
gives charities, community groups and individuals the chance to purchase a
computer at low cost.  Training
undertaken by the volunteers who give their time to the project further adds to
the beneficial impact that Möbius has had on the local community.  For further info’ see Project Profiles on
our site:



“Places and circumstances can’t guarantee happiness.  We must decide within ourselves whether we
want to be happy.  We choose our joys
and sorrows long before we experience them.” 
Kahlil Gibran


“Live with intention. 
Walk to the edge.  Listen
hard.  Practice wellness.  Play with abandon.  Laugh.  Choose with no
regret.  Continue to learn.  Appreciate your friends.  Do what you love.  Live as though this is all there is.”  Mary Anne Roadacher-Hershey.



I haven’t read the current best seller, ‘The Curious
Incident of the Dog at Nightime’ but its author Mark Haddon wrote about it on
Sunday, “The book’s about how little separates us from those we turn away from
in the street.  It’s about how badly we
communicate with one another.  It’s
about accepting that every life is narrow and that our only escape from this is
not to run away (to another country, another relationship, a slimmer, more
confident self) but to learn to love the people we are and the world in which
we find ourselves.” 

This got my attention – and then –
“I can’t remember deciding to become a writer – But I do remember reading R.S.
Thomas at 14 – ‘Iago Prytherch his name, though, be it allowed,/Just an ordinary
man of the bald Welsh hills,/Who pens a few sheep in a gap of cloud’ – and
being astonished that someone could arrange these perfectly ordinary words in a
way that did amazing things to the inside of my head.”  I’m going to buy Marks’s book.


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

Best wishes,



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