Dear members and friends,
I spent most of the Easter break between the garden and my workshop, happily absorbed in simple tasks. Winter inactivity has made me unfit – so I have to rest regularly; but these breathless pauses become wee interludes of awareness – of cloud formations – the feel and texture of soil – the smell of pitch pine – whatever’s near, as I let my heartbeat slow. I’ve prepared the barn for the return of the swallows – any day now; and this is the first year I’ve grown things from seed – the excitement as new life peeks through – the pricking out into pots – and I’ve already planted out 7 varieties of sweet peas, which I love. Through my mum’s family I was in touch with the pride of produce from the garden; and a culture of not throwing things away – mending and tending – supporting the world that supports us. I sometimes think I’ve inherited some aptitude for mending and making things – I certainly enjoy trying – the beginner’s surprise and pleasure at success. Today I made a magic shelf.
It’s 8pm and I’m writing this as the sun goes down. Some real Italian cooking sausage (hard and wrinkly) has been simmering for 5 hours in good quality tomatoes with herbs and chillies – smells amazing; I’ve set the pasta pot to boil. After supper I’ll have me a shower – take these aching bones to bed – a good tiredness. The great teacher Carl Jung once wrote: ‘‘I chop the wood and cook the food. These simple tasks make us simple; and how difficult it is to be simple.’’
It is the determination of Scottish Govt that the funding of Third Sector activity should gradually be devolved – become a matter for local govt. While cynics may see this as a ‘cop out’, it’s very difficult for someone like myself (an avowed decentraliser) to find fault with such a policy. Some pundits are warning that as Third Sector funding increasingly loses its ‘ring-fencing’ – some Councils will use it for other purposes. Should that happen, I would assume that the Third Sector in such areas will organise and mobilise politically – which can only be a good thing. It will be interesting to observe how community work professionals position themselves in such situations. Here’s an update on what’s happening locally. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8033
You may be aware that Senscot is quietly consulting with Scotland’s social enterprise community on the pros and cons of introducing a Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) – to promote and regulate our movement. Mohammad Yunus is a world leader of social business – and, in an interview on 30th March in New Delhi, he gave his thoughts on regulation. “Whenever something gets popular, there are some people who take advantage of that and misuse it – it happens in everything. Regulation is very important – but it can also be stifling. It should be promotional – a cheerleader. At the same time making sure you do the right thing – that you don’t drift away from the real principles. It’s difficult to get the balance. How to encourage and at the same time, how to restrain.” This interview extract also touches on wider global issues. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8030
Whatever people say about our SNP administration, it cannot be said that Govt Ministers are not accessible.
On Tuesday Senscot attended a Roundtable meeting hosted by John Swinney and Jim Mather. A group of around 30 folk gathered in Edinburgh looking at the impact of the recession on the Third Sector and what emerging opportunities exist during this downturn. There is no doubt that the next few years are going to be tough, particularly for small grassroots organisations operating at a local level. The irony is that at a time when the sector is needed most to help deliver services, it is at its most vulnerable. Let’s hope the Ministers take on board the feedback they received this week. Here’s a list of attendees as well as short overview from Pauline Graham (Social Firms Scotland). http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8036
Social enterprise and community empowerment (two of Senscot’s favourite themes) come together in the inspiring stories of Scotland’s island communities like Eigg – Gigha etc. If you have been waiting for a good reason to visit Eigg – you’ve now got one – because they’re hosting a family focussed festival on 2nd & 3rd May with all sorts of themes and workshops around saving our planet. Very friendly prices.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: incl. posts with North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, Shelter Scotland, Arrochar & Tarbet Community Development Trust, Midlothian Council, The Thistle Foundation, The Big Issue in Scotland
EVENTS: Open Day, ACE Centre, 20 Apr; Community Sector Trading, DTA, 5 May; Fintry Renewable Energy Show, Fintry Development Trust, 9 May; Facilitation Training Day, Talk Action, 15 May; Social Capital and Community Resilience, Edinburgh, 4 June; Peas vs. Pills Health Workshop, Edinburgh, 6 June;
NETWORKS 1st News: Colin writes: The Single Interface programme started in March 2008 with an announcement from the Scottish Government that it would no longer fund the networks of the CVS’s, the VC’s, the LSEPs and the LSENs in their current form, from April 2011. The Single Interface will be one of the main topics on the agenda at the next LSEN Reps meeting on 6th May. For more Networks 1st News, see
Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) is running an ‘Open Forum’ programme over the following year. A core theme will be the challenge of addressing poverty through regeneration. Edward Harkins forwards an ‘outcomes paper’ from their recent event in Edinburgh and invites comments or contributions from Bulletin readers. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8035 Also this week, the Poverty Alliance launched their revamped website. See more http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8034
S2S, Scotland’s main trade fair for our sector, takes place next Thursday (23rd April) at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. Numbers are filling up so book now to make sure you get a place. We’re told there are now only a few stands still available. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7994
A lot of talk lately about the legacy the Commonwealth Games will leave for the citizens of Glasgow. Glasgow Caledonian University has invited Cllr Archie Graham to lay out the Council’s plans to utilise this sporting, cultural, business, regeneration and community engagement opportunity to build a long term legacy for its citizens. If you’re interested, see http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=8031
Last year the bulletin profiled Aberdeen Social Enterprises, a group of enterprises operated by Turning Point. Each enterprise functions as a small business and provides training, work experience and real work opportunities for their workers. Since then, three of the enterprises have been re-branded under the ‘Opus’ banner. These include Opus Craft, Opus Framing and Opus Gift Shop. Rosie’s Café, of course, is still going strong. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=8037
A reader has sent an inspiring article called “The Place Beyond Fear and Hope” by Margaret Wheatley. Highly recommended.
“When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure. Life now insists that we encounter groundlessness. Systems and ideas that seemed reliable and solid dissolve at an increasing rate. People who asked for our trust betray or abandon us. Strategies that worked suddenly don’t. Groundlessness is a frightening place, at least at first, but as the old culture turns to mush, we would feel stronger if we stopped searching for ground, if we sought only to locate ourselves in the present and do our work from here.”
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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