Senscot Bulletin 17-01-2003




Dear Members and friends,


Felt good after extended festive season break – 17 days is
long enough to reach that mental state where you don’t care – “They can’t get
me here” feeling.  Arrived back with
good positive energy – calm enough to give up coffee again – but it’s been a
tough week.  Monday, phone goes wonky.  Tuesday, black smoke from washing
machine.  Wednesday, car central locking
jams. Estimate to fix: £172. Currently enter and leave car through boot.
Physically demanding but enjoy folks looks when I emerge. 

Arrive at the office yesterday
morning – young woman, (flavour of ‘eco warrior’) awaiting interview – looks
nervous.  I say with supportive smile
“Interviews are horrible, aren’t they” – “I like them” she replies.  “Would you like a cup of tea?”  “OK” she says reluctantly.  “Milk & sugar?” “Sugar!” she’s
outraged.  “Have you any idea what sugar
does to your body?”  Tirade about ‘white
death’, ‘empty calories’ etc.  When I
bring it she says “that’s a bit strong – I only dip the tea bag.” Just stop
myself pouring it over her.  “You’d
better help yourself,” I say quietly. Pour myself a strong coffee and

So in less than one week it’s back
to normal – stressed, apprehensive, moody – feels more natural.



Senscot has received an invitation to attend the launch of
the Executive’s “Social Economy Review” on January 27th.  Long awaited and much altered in various
drafts, the report will indicate how much importance Scotland’s Government
attaches to our Sector.  Commenting on
the recently published Cities Review, John McTernan on Sunday wrote: “Sadly,
the Executive’s final plan for action is thin gruel, bearing all the hallmarks
of having been stripped of flair, vision and inspiration by interministerial
correspondence and discussion at Cabinet.” Lets hope the Social Economy Review
fares better.



Around this time each year, Senscot invites members of our
network to send subscriptions and we leave it to you to decide how much. The
pattern which has developed is that individuals who are earning, tend to send
£10 or £25 and thankfully an increasing number of you are routing an invoice
through your company/agency and these tend to be for £50 or £100. If during the
past year we have made you laugh – or think – or helped  you make connections, please send us your
encouragement . If you’re skint (or just tight) you’ll still get the bulletin,
but won’t be counted as a member.  An
invoice can be downloaded at
Shortly we hope to install a credit card payment facility on our website. 



In order to develop the basement at 54 Manor Place, Senscot
applied for loan funding of £20,000 from 5 sources:  Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Social Investment
Scotland, Triodos and Charity Bank.  SIS
said that they would only offer if the others refused, but all the others said
yes.  After careful consideration, the
staff and director of Senscot chose Triodos as the most favourable offer.  The terms from Charity Bank were just as
good, but Senscot decided that we would like to develop a relationship with
Triodos and perhaps assist their spread in Scotland.  Any members who are considering loan finance would benefit from a
chat with Aidan, who handled all the negotiations



The excellent Social Enterprise monthly is running a series
of 4 articles by Graham Waterhouse, who is an independent management consultant
to what he prefers to call ‘The Public Benefit Sector’.  His first piece is well worth a read – we’ve
put the kernel of it on our website.  He
has identified 10 building blocks that he believes must be in place in any
sustainable organisation in order to command the confidence of potential
funders and investors.



NOTICES: See Hot Pages at for
more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant notice
you’d like posted, send it to


Scotland unLTD at long last is up and running, and the
applications have been coming in. First awards will be made in early March. The
website is at If you
want to chat about it, phone Eileen at 226 7333.


Stirling University is running a Marketing management
course, and in Feb 2003 will assign groups of about 7 postgraduate students to
the investigation of a particular marketing topic for an individual
organisation. Contact James Young if your organisation’s interested: 01786


As part of  the
‘E-enabling programme for the Scottish voluntary sector’, ‘Workwithus’ is
offering member organisations who are charities the tools to build their own
website easily and for free (hosting etc. not included). Enquiries:,
(0131) 556 3882,


Judging of the Upstarts Awards is now in the final stages.
There’s a chance for 20 people to win an invite to the invitation only
presentation evening in London.  


If you are a newly formed charity and are looking to buy
your own premises, the Unity Trust Bank has launched a new product.  They are offering a 75% mortgage loan but
they retain a 25% equity stake in the property, which they recover when you
sell the property. (



“When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible
and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we
opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.” (Archbishop Tutu).



This week’s bulletin profiles ‘Trees for Life’, a Scottish
charity based at Findhorn Bay (Moray). Trees for Life was established in 1993
with a prime goal to regenerate and restore the Caledonia Forest in North-West
Scotland. Most practical work is carried out by volunteers during 32 Volunteer
Work Weeks during the year. Thousands have taken part in these weeks, planting
about ½ million trees and fencing nearly 458 hectares (1,132 acres) in the
area. Trees for Life receives funding from Forest Enterprise and Scottish
Natural Heritage but also raises a larger percentage of income through appeals
to trusts/foundations as well as merchandising products of its own, such as the
‘Plant a Tree for Life’ Scheme. Though the Trees for Life template has inspired
similar initiatives throughout the UK and as far afield as Chile, the Project
is still looking at ways to generate additional income to subsidise its
invaluable work. Any advice or support welcome. More info:,  (‘Project profiles’ at



Some folk say this bulletin is sometimes too pessimistic, so
today we end with two bits from American philosophising funny man Jack Handey,
whose book ‘Deep Thoughts’ contains some gems.


“I remember that fateful day when the coach took me aside –
I knew what was coming. “You don’t have to tell me,” I said, “I’m off the team,
aren’t I?” “Well,” said the coach, “You were never really ON the team. You made
that uniform you’re wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy
space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make
us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate
times.” It was all true what he was saying, and yet, I thought, something is
brewing inside the head of this coach. He sees something in me, some kind of
raw talent that he can mould. – But that’s when I felt the handcuffs go on.”


Something in the story reminds me of my own career. And


“When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep, just like
my grandfather. Not screaming like the passengers in his car.”


That’s all for this week. Send us your stories (and a few


Best wishes,



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