Senscot Bulletin: 16.08.13

Dear members and friends,

 I’ve got a theory that extroverts are more comfortable with mobile phones than introverts; I may be the first person to spot this.  Of course no one is totally one or the other – we’re all really ambiverts (there is such a word); it’s like a spectrum – and a scan of the linked twenty questions will indicate where you sit.  I’m 14 parts ‘intro’ to 6 parts ‘extro’.
 Arianna Huffington said in an interview this week, that one of her less appealing habits is her attachment to her 4 BlackBerrys; I think she means 4 at once – can you imagine it?  At the other end of the spectrum – I have no mobile device – and no inclination; but I’ve come to regard the whole texting thing with benevolence.  I think of Louis Armstrong’s marvellous song ‘It’s a wonderful world’ – the joy in his voice at the flow of goodwill which passes between ordinary people: "I see friends shaking hands – saying how do you do – they’re really saying I love you".  I believe this is what all the texting is about – spontaneous solidarity between friends – to steady and comfort each other.
 Sometimes it bothers me that I don’t feel part of this exchange – but there will be someone similar in your family who doesn’t use a mobile; doesn’t enjoy parties – would rather read a book – or walk in the woods.  There is an introverted part of us all – with its own understanding of the human spirit – calling us to stillness.  See,

We still have copies of ‘Kindness’ – Laurence’s latest selection of bulletin intros (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see

Research by the professional body of personnel officers (CIPD) has found that third sector employers use zero hour contracts more than the public or private sectors.  If this is true – and it begs clarification – it is very serious for our sector – which professes to be values driven.  In the past 6 months alone – two thirds of care providers have had their budgets cut by local authorities.  The on-going squeeze is defining community care of the vulnerable – as a minimum wage, low value activity.  At what point should the third sector be saying – No – we can’t deliver a ‘good enough’ service for that money.  Some very big questions here.  See,

I was 13 when Queen Elizabeth was crowned – probably a bit in love with her – in that kind of hopeless way so attractive to teenagers.  One of the best aspects of the ensuing 60 years has been the erosion of deference; there can be no rational reason for the head of state to be an inherited job.  It’s time to dispense with a ‘royal’ family and the whole notion of aristocracy which goes with it; it’s feudal and offensive.  Scottish minister Aileen Campbell said this week that, with independence, the Scottish people would have the option of addressing this matter.  See,

Good piece in the Observer this week by Kevin McKenna which asks how a modern democracy can expect to flourish with a feudal system of land ownership – where 500 people own half of Scotland.  Jim Hunter, the  academic and land campaigner, is quoted, "We’re now six years into an SNP government which has so far done absolutely nothing legislatively about the fact that Scotland continues to be stuck with the most concentrated, most inequitable, most unreformed and most undemocratic land ownership system in the entire developed world."  See,

Last week’s Scottish Review carried a deeply felt – and I think brave – essay by Gerry Hassan about the state of football in Scotland.  It says some ‘grown up’ things about the cabal we call the Old Firm.  "Scottish football is a huge part of our society, sometimes it seems too much, sometimes a claustrophobic replacement for more serious and important subjects…  It needs to be put into the context of how Scotland has changed as a society, culture and set of communities.  That is, in my mind one of the many missing stories of modern Scotland.  We still it seems, in places, have some growing up to do."  See,

The right wing ideologies – which preach the supremacy of market forces – get better media coverage than egalitarian ideas; the reason is simple – the right wing owns most of the media.  Good piece by Polly Toynbee claiming that it’s not only the Rupert Murdoch’s of the world who hate quality public broadcasting; she says the UK Tories have the BBC in their sights – as ‘a defiant symbol of non-market success’.  See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Scottish Community Safety Network, Loch Tayside Community Interest Company, Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, The SPL Trust, Reachout With Arts In Mind, Isle Futures, Scottish Islands Federation
EVENTS: Wiff Waff Wednesday, 28 Aug; Sleepless ’til Seattle – illustrated adventure talk, 30 Aug; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 31 Aug; Social Capital World Forum 13, 4 Sep; An Introduction to Selling, 18 Sep;
TENDERS: Design & Build of Skate Park – Cowan Park Barrhead, Quality guidance for arts organisations and artists in Scotland and Delivery of a community engagement project for Rothesay THI – Maintaining Historic Buildings. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: The Booking Form for this year’s Social Enterprise Conference and Ceilidh is now available. This is our 9th running of the event and will be taking place at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld – 14th/15th November. See,  We have space for 150 delegates – priority will be given to active SEN members. We will also be welcoming members of Social Firms Scotland, Social Enterprise Scotland as well as Intermediary colleagues and representatives from the public sector. See draft Programme,  For more Networks News, see

Phil Welsh – a well know figure in the Scottish Housing Movement – died on July 12, aged 70; this beautifully crafted tribute in the Herald offers a glimpse of a community leader whose life and work was an inspiration.   His passing reminds us of the extraordinary achievements of Scottish grassroots women and men in the transformation of the places where they live.  The link is to the dust cover of a new book by Lesley Riddoch; it’s called Blossom and it’s about some of these extraordinary spirits.  More next week.  See,

An international expert on co-housing for older people, the US based Charles Durrett, will be in Scotland in September and has agreed to give a talk; 11th Sept 2.30pm – Edinburgh.  See, 

Date for your diary: Next month, many of Scotland’s community food sector will gather for the Nourish Annual Conference (3rd and 4th Sept, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh). This year’s theme is "Feeding the Five Million: what would it take for everyone in Scotland to eat well and sustainably?" The two day event will take the form of an enquiry into the issues faced – a full Conference report will be circulated. For more info’ and to book your place, see,

This week’s bulletin profiles an enterprise in Aberdeenshire that enables adults with learning disabilities to access training and employment opportunities within the catering sector. Fly Cup Catering, based in Inverurie, operates a café, bakery and outside catering service and works closely with other catering establishments in the area to develop temporary or permanent work placements. Fly Cup also works in partnership with both Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Council, providing training places and using income generated to extend the range of their services. See,

A quote from American composer and writer, Allen Shawn.

 "A species in which everyone was General Patton would not succeed, any more than would a race in which everyone was Vincent van Gogh.  I prefer to think that the planet needs athletes, philosophers, sex symbols, painters, scientists; it needs the warm-hearted, the hard-hearted, the cold-hearted, and the weak-hearted.  It needs those who can devote their lives to studying how many droplets of water are secreted by the salivary glands of dogs under which circumstances, and it needs those who can capture the passing impression of cherry blossoms in a fourteen-syllable poem or devote twenty-five pages to the dissection of a small boy’s feelings as he lies in bed in the dark waiting for his mother to kiss him goodnight…. …"

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210