Senscot Bulletin: 16-06-2006

Dear members and friends,

I was raised a Hibs supporter and I suppose some of that sticks forever – but football no longer has the power  to rock me emotionally.  I travelled Scotland with ‘the Hi-bees’ – following ‘men like Paddy Stanton’ and my other heroes –to the fearsome stadia of the Old Firm and all the wee skint grounds.  At its best it was skilful and courageous and very beautiful.  Interviewed recently about his love of the game, the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho said ‘For me life and football are very different matters.  Generally I’m fairly tolerant but football brings out my prejudices.’  Sometimes it’s OK to get carried away by extreme emotions.  Freud would call it displacement but so what. If you can’t rage at life, let the referee have it.
 Coelho also said, surprisingly, that ‘Pele wasn’t a proper idol in Brazil – six out of ten fans would say ‘Pele is good, but….’ We look at things in a different way in Brazil; we empathise with tragedy.  We prefer to venerate Garrincha, who suffered a tormented life.’  I can’t help contrasting this with the message I got in USA where they really love winners.  A super positive CEO in New York said to me ‘losers talk about ‘doing their best’ – but it’s the winner who goes home with the prom queen.’  I remember thinking ‘What a plonker!’  In our ’empathy with tragedy’, we Scots are more like Brazilians than North Americans. Except that Brazil win World Cups – we don’t even qualify.

On Wednesday the Scottish Executive’s Draft Social Enterprise Strategy was published for consultation, and even after a first ‘skip through’ it’s clear that Roddy McDonald and his colleagues have produced an impressive document. For ‘generalist’ civil servants they show a thorough grasp of specialist issues, and I look forward to discussing specifics with our network – such as the idea of a ‘voucher system’ for support services creating a ‘support market place’. The adoption of this document will add ‘gravitas’ to our fledgling sector, but don’t expect quick change. There’s no new money – next year will bring elections and a comprehensive spending review – government will contemplate its navel for a while. Best to just get on with it.

Network member Sandy Campbell is chair of the burgeoning Leith Festival, which has grown 500% in four years. This year they had one hundred and fifty events in sixty venues, all within a square mile. Sandy wrote a good piece in Monday’s Edinburgh Evening News which captures the importance of fostering local identity in our increasingly atomised world.

London Business School has just published the largest study ever done on social entrepreneurial activity in the UK. It found that social enterprises employ 3.2% of the working population, or almost 1.2m adults. Rebecca Harding, the report’s author, said that when social entrepreneurs get to the stage when they could grow into something big, they are often restricted by lack of social capital.

For all sorts of reasons, the co-operative and mutual business models have not flourished in Scotland as they have on the continent, but it is still a substantial sector, which accounts for 5.6% of Scottish GDP (27,000 employees). Ian Hughes is CEO of Co-operative Development Scotland, and has sent a summary of their impressive 3-year operating plan: 

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs ( or events ( and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 34 vacancies, incl. posts with: Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, Turning Point Scotland, Impact Arts, Community Woodlands Association, Council for Scottish Archaeology, Fife Council.

EVENTS: Natural Way Burial ‘Planning (your own?) funeral’,  Peebles, 25 June; Being Enterprising around Regeneration’, SURF event, Kilwinning, 29 June; Big Tent 2006: Scotland’s Festival of Stewardship, Falkland, Fife, June 30- July 2; Kilsyth International Carnival, August 13;  2nd National Procurement Conference, SECC, 31 Oct.

Senscot member, Mel Young, informs us about The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation that is calling upon its global network of 160 top-tier commercial law firms to provide free legal assistance to social entrepreneurs around the world. Check out the link: For info’ on their Scottish member, contact .
A couple of weeks back, Boo Armstrong (from Get Well UK) facilitated a meeting at Manor Place for people interested in exploring the future of complementary medicine and the NHS in Scotland and potential opportunities for social enterprises to deliver public services on an outreach basis. Boo sends us her report, see:

Last week’s Conference hosted by Assist Social Capital generated a lot of interest not just within the UK but from Europe too – 5 folk came over from Holland. Every now and then an event generates a real buzz. 
A full report on the event will be available soon. For now, here’s a copy of Tom Sander’s speech: For more info’ on Assist, see

The Falkland Heritage Trust is hosting Scotland’s ‘Festival of Stewardship’ in the beautiful grounds of the Palace from June 30 -July 2 2006. ‘Big Tent 2006’ is about our stewardship of the world’s resources (globally and locally) and features some of the brightest minds around – but it is also about fun. Live music, fresh food, children’s fun activities etc:

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise, based in Glasgow, but providing a service to employers and employees across Scotland. Workbase Scotland is a leading provider of employee and organisational development. It operates as a not-for-profit business and, over the years, has established a ‘partnership’ approach to support learning and development in the workplace. To date, Workbase has supported over 9,000 employees from around 100 companies. Their services are designed to encourage the concept that
people should have the capacity to effect real and lasting change in their working lives through learning and development. In recent weeks, Workbase has just launched their new website. For further info’, see

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford awards five full scholarships for its one year full-time MBA programme. If you’re interested, cut off date is Tuesday 20th June.

Wedell Berry who wrote this paragraph is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, lecturer and poet.  He was born in 1934 in Kentucky USA where he still lives.

‘Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. You are undertaking the first experience, not of the place, but of yourself in that place. It is an experience of our essential loneliness; for nobody can discover the world for anybody else. It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that it becomes a common ground and a common bond, and we cease to be alone.’

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

Best wishes,

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