Senscot Bulletin 16.07.10

Dear members and friends,

On a glorious June afternoon I take the John Muir trail, where it leaves Dirleton in East Lothian, for a peaceful two hour stroll.  In a remote wildflower meadow, I come upon what appears to be an abandoned cricket pavilion – dilapidated, weathered, leaning heavily. No larger than a double garage – the timber pavilion is beautifully proportioned and crafted – with intricate art deco fretwork features – a veranda for the scorer to sit – but now derelict.  It suddenly become very important that I ‘save’ this beautiful thing – spend an hour measuring – making plans to get it home and restore it.  Though they rarely happen, I often indulge such imaginings – saving ruins is a familiar theme and, in this case, the cricket connection is also evocative.
 At our boarding school – the headmaster was passionate about the game of cricket – from the age of eight, its powerful codes and symbolisms were imprinted in my mind.  Of all my recurring dreams, the most frequent is still a cricket vignette – always the same one.  I’m at the wicket – padded up – facing fierce bowling – a bumping pitch and hostile fielders; my courage fails – I’m clean bowled.  This has not been a helpful story to live with all my life – but in recent years there’s been an improvement.  In the dream now, I’m able to make the bowling slow motion – with time to play any shot I choose. This new symbolism could be an age thing – that over time fear becomes less – as we learn to slow the action.

Agreeing criteria for what is, and is not, a social enterprise was always going to be problematic – all our prudent instincts warned us not to go there.  But, on balance, Senscot concluded that in the end there’s no alternative – we’re trying to establish a genuinely different order – vested interests resist change.  I think the definitional issue could come to a head with the UK Govt. around the externalization of NH Services.  The Health secretary said this week ‘‘Our ambition is to create the largest and most vibrant social enterprise sector in the world’’.  But it’s already clear that he doesn’t mean the same by the term as we do. Peter Holbrook, CEO of the SE Coalition, has responded quickly and clearly: “Foundation Trusts are NOT social enterprises.” Senscot stands full square behind his unequivocal stance.  See more,

There have been times over the past decade with Senscot when I wished aspects of Scotland’s third sector policy were as progressive as England’s – but I have never for a moment doubted the rightness of this being a devolved matter.  Similarly, in negotiations with ‘expansionist’ London charities – I have always taken a hard line – ‘come here only on our terms’.  I think that the recent decision of its CEO Andrew Flanagan to impose NSPCC into Scotland, in opposition to our native Children 1st, is outrageous and our sector should make this clear to him.  Send him homeward to think again.  See,

A reader from Switzerland writes “The idea that covering costs is a condition of sustainability is a popular one – but it does not stand up either philosophically or empirically.  Sustainability has nothing to do with covering cost.’’  He then gives examples of sustainable enterprises which operate at a loss.  “Sustainability has nothing to do with the financials, depends only on ‘who’s home’ with a bit of engagement and passion.’’  I find myself agreeing with the position.  See

I’ve always considered the ‘Investing in Ideas’ programme to be one of the most creative aspects of Scotland’s Big Lottery Fund – between £500 & £10k to help test and develop ideas – to see if they have it to become fully fledged social enterprises or projects.  Delighted to hear that they have re-launched the programme – wider scope – simplified application.  See

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: Stepping Stones for Families, NVA, St Peter’s Edinburgh, The Advocacy Project, Loanhead Church of Scotland, Scottish Throughcare & Aftercare Forum, Genetic Alliance UK, The Big Issue in Scotland Magazine, Challenges Worldwide
EVENTS: More Than Furniture 2010, 24 Jul; Realising Potential – next steps for social enterprise in Scotland, 2 Sep; Understanding Social Enterprise, 9 Sep; The Facilitative Manager, 17 Sep,
TENDERS: School Transport and Local Bus Services, Provision of Timber Sheet Materials, Provision of ICT training & consultancy, Fostering Placements, Provision of Coaching Skills, Recycling of Waste, Educational resource to support Adults with Incapacity and Adult Support Protection (Scotland) Acts

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: Dumfries and Galloway SEN (DGSEN) contacted us this week to ask us to highlight the SVA programme ‘Leading in Change’. There are to be 4 residentials across the country to discuss and develop the Business Plans for the Single Interfaces. We know Edinburgh SEN is involved but not sure if other SENs active in Single Interfaces are. However, it’s good to see that the Social Enterprise Academy has won the contract to deliver these events. Other opportunities within the SVA Programme for SENs involved in or working towards Single Interface status are available have been provided by Sally Dyson, SVA Programme Manager, who will also be attending the Network Reps meeting in September.
For more Networks News,

We hear this week that Triodos has closed its £3m Social Investment Fund. The fund was set up with a view to making equity investments in new social enterprises. It appears that not enough social enterprises were ready for, or had an appetite for, equity. Triodos say they’ll be keeping an eye on the market to see if there will be an opportunity to re-launch at a later date. See On a similar theme, Nick Hurd (Minister for civil society) emphasised this week that the Big Society Bank would not be working in competition with Triodos, or other retail banks in the third sector. See

Firstport awardee, Victoria Lee is heading to London in November as Scotland’s representative at Britain’s Best New Business Awards 2010.  Glitter Beach beat off competition from five other new businesses at the regional heat in Edinburgh this week. Glitter Beach has launched a branded range of designer universal & Ostomy swimwear and beachwear.  The national winner will receive the title "Best New British Business" and receive £50,000 worth of business support prizes. We wish her all the best. See more,

A number of folk have pointed out that last week’s story on the planned social enterprise hotel in Inverness was inaccurate in claiming that it would be the UK`s first. We omitted to mention the regular venue for the Social Enterprise Ceilidh – the New Lanark Mill Hotel – which has been on the go for over 10 years. What a beamer! Nonetheless, this also gives us an opportunity to remind people that this year’s event – again at New Lanark – takes place on 18th/19th November 2010. We’ll have more details soon. See last year’s programme,

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise set up by a long-established Edinburgh Charity. LifeCare opened their new café – Café Life – in the Stockbridge area of the city at the end of May. LifeCare started life in 1941 working with the elderly in Leith. Today, they run a thriving programme of community activities for older people and those with dementia. Café Life is an exciting venture that will help support their existing work as well as developing new initiatives. For more see

Great Sporting Moments by Alan Jenkins.  “A brace of goals that I was meant to score, aged ten – how else can I explain them?  Taken on the run or on the turn, from outside the eighteen-yard box.  The last-minute try that means we have won – my first game for the big school’s first fifteen…  The catch I take so deep in the outfield is almost knocks me backwards over the boundary.  Last man out.  End of match…  How reliable these moments are that I replay endlessly!  But all the same it shocks me, to think that I was once that little star, so lean and taut and primed – the boy who mocks me; how brief the main event, through which I must have slept.

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

Best wishes,


Subscribe to this bulletin:

To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail