Senscot Bulletin: 16-09-05

(Going out weekly to over 2700)

Dear members and friends,

Did you watch ’49 up’ last night? 12 kids filmed in 1964 at the age of seven – and every subsequent 7 years – as adolescents – adults  – now grandparents. It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen on the telly and I’ve been pondering why. The central premise – that our backgrounds determine our lives – is compelling. Seeing the social history of the past 40 years played out in real lives is also fascinating. But the drama that shapes most of our lives is not the political or social climate – it’s our relationships – our work – trying to do better for our children. There’s a nobility – a quiet affecting beauty in the universal human story. Folk doing their best.
 For me however the most poignant theme unfolding in this series is how we all gradually let go of the dreams of our youth and come to accept that we won`t be astronauts or film-stars. At the end of interviews I often ask people if they know what they want to be when they grow up. I ask with a smile, so they can laugh it off if they wish. Very few do. This issue affects people – as if there’s a powerful connection to unfulfilled childhood dreams – which retain the power to tug us back. My life runs 17 years ahead of the ’49 up’ gang. I believe that unconsciously we continue to refer to those early magic times when our dreams first came to us. By age 7, the die is cast.
Today we link to a report commissioned by Senscot which takes a look at the service provided by Business Gateway to Social Enterprises.  Our budget didn’t stretch to exhaustive research but we’re grateful to Les Huckfield for this concise independent snapshot.  It’s no surprise he found that the quality of service you can expect will depend on where you are.  In Dumfries and Galloway for instance your social enterprise is more likely to be taken seriously than say in the Borders.
 The most innovative recommendation in our report is the creation (for 2/3 years) of a social enterprise office within Business Gateway to help the social and business sectors to come together.
Shared train back from Glasgow with exec from agency delivering Business Gateway services – 45 minute tutorial – v.interesting.  He said that, instead of simplistic tick-box targets for numbers of assisted start ups – business health checks etc – that Gateway providers should be remunerated by Scottish Enterprise for the ‘quality’ of the service they provide.  Deferred payments should be linked to long term outcomes – businesses which ‘succeed.’  Present regime encourages compliant box ticking.
Paul Gray, recent head of the Development Department which includes the voluntary sector, has moved on this week to the Health Dept – their gain our loss.  He seemed to see things clearly and was capable of thinking and acting boldly.  If he’d stayed a bit longer it’s likely that we’d have seen some coherent shape to the Scottish Executives relationship with the Third Sector.  It really is maddening how the civil service keep moving people about.
Some folk wonder what my philosophical musings have to do with social enterprise. Well, it seems that the German business community is beginning to catch up with me.
YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 96 vacancies, incl. posts with: Children in Scotland, Centre for Human Ecology, Shakti Women’s Aid, Gorbals Youth and Community Theatre, The Ripple Project, LifeLink, Stepping Stones, Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust, Moving On (Inverclyde), Common Wheel, Ownership Options

EVENTS: Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber, ‘Workshops – Getting to know You’, 20 Sep-30 Oct; Tollcross Community Council, ‘Disability Discrimination Act information sessions’, 31 Oct; Scottish Parliament, ‘Parliamentary Debate on the Cultural Commission’s Report’, 22 Sep; Edinburgh Social Economy Partnership, ‘Social Enterprise Strategy For Edinburgh’, 29 Sep; Social Enterprise Academy, ‘Development Programmes’
Went for supper on Friday evening to Scotland UnLtd`s residential weekend at Churches House, Dunblane.  80 attendees – 30 workshops all delivered by awardees.  Great feeling of fellowship – mutual help – intertrading.  If you’re considering a residential conference have a look at Churches House.
Chris Ballance the Green MSP invited representatives from the cultural sector to the parliament last week to discuss the implications of the Cultural Commission report prior to a full Parliamentary debate on the 22nd September.  35 organisations and networks were represented at the meeting which folk found useful.  Graeme Murdoch, from National Photography Centre, suggested that the group stay in touch – he’s called it the Culture Club. Here’s a list of attendees
Social Firms Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Communities Scotland successfully registered HISEZ (Highlands & Islands Social Enterprise Zone) as the first Community Interest Company in Scotland on the 12 Sept.  HISEZ CIC is a company limited by shares with an innovative two class structure which combines the ability to raise equality capital with community based democratic management in an asset-locked organisation.  Social Firms Scotland and Burness Solicitors are preparing a sample memorandum & Articles of Association which will be available shortly.
This week’s bulletin profiles an innovative social enterprise, near Dingwall, that seeks to utilise two sources of energy to provide a silent, lasting and pollution-free means of transport. Electric Horse provides wind and solar powered electric bikes and scooter-bikes. This innovative means of personal transport is capable of being fully re-charged by an Electric Horse, home-based, renewable energy power station and charging point. In short, they can offer ‘ a virtually cost-free, silent and non-polluting means of personal transport ‘. This year, Electric Horse, with an award from Scotland unLtd, were able to successfully commission their own Ampair Hawk wind generator. In addition, they provide one day training courses and electric bike tours along the Cromarty Firth. For further info`, see
For over 30 years playwright David Edgar has used his writing to take on the far right.  Here he is writing about healing community divisions – an issue which many of us deal with in our work.  ‘And every one working in this field agrees that the thing you don’t do, when attempting to get groups of young people to know more about each other, is to bring one side into the other’s territory.  Rather, you create third spaces, unfamiliar to both, in which different groups can share a similar experience of discovery.  Sometimes such spaces allow people to detach aspects of their identity (cultural, vocational, sexual) from what they have hitherto seen as its essential and dominating character.  Often it is within rather than between groups that the real processes of discovery occur.  In any event, it is in such spaces – youth groups, drama workshops, sports teams – that some of the most imaginative and successful forms of community healing have taken place.’

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

Best wishes,