Dear members and friends,
As luck would have it – I’ve been in the company of Alex Ferguson a couple of times; he was off-duty and affable – but I was in no doubt that I was in the presence of a formidable warrior. One thinks of that iconic photo – of Billy Bremner and Dave Mackay, squaring up in a Leeds/Spurs game; it’s easy to be proud of the aspects of our culture which mould such leaders – Jock Stein, Bill Shankly – countless others. Over time, my admiration for Fergie waned; reports of bullying and intimidation – ‘my way or the highway’; all that nonsense about a horse – stud fees was it; then they slagged his son – so the BBC gets barred from Old Trafford – determination become delusional – another good man lost to the lure of money and power.
But as time passes – beneath the radar of media attention – a steady trickle of stories about acts of personal kindness – from sources too inconsequential to be invented. With a focus on Govan in Glasgow – tales of generosity to old friends – and loyalty to the community that reared him; quiet, consistent testimony to the compassion of this complex man. Fergie is roughly ages with me – if his health holds out, he has the time – and certainly the charisma – to make his mark in an entirely different field; it will be interesting what he now chooses. There’s an easy path to further riches and honours – but imagine what a force he could be as a champion for social justice; the imprint of his earlier life – made in Glasgow, from girders.
We still have copies of ‘Kindness’ – Laurence’s latest selection of bulletin intros (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
"A not-so-subtle process of redefinition is underway, with Big Society Capital and others inventing a whole new language: ‘social sector organisation’, ‘social impact investment’, ‘social venture intermediaries’, all intended to normalise for-private-profit encroachment in this space." This quote is from a piece by Steve Wyler (Locality) – his impressions of attending Big Society Capital’s first birthday party. He and Ed Mayo, of the Cooperative movement (last week’s bulletin) are two of a clutch of English Third Sector leaders who have a difficult decision to make. Their Govt. is openly transferring the delivery of public services to the corporate sector. Simultaneously – as a condition of investment – the third sector is expected to redefine itself to allow private profit. Do they disassociate their movements from this distortion on principle – or do they play along? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13589
The Jimmy Reid Foundation is well pleased by the interest generated from their discussion paper on the idea of a ‘Common Weal’ vision for Scotland. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13586 They have now circulated this statement – reflecting on where the initiative goes now – what it is, and is not trying to become. I believe they’re handling this exactly right – flexible and inclusive – but I don’t respond to the title ‘Common Weal’ – too old fashioned. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13587
Louis Brandeis – the renowned member of the US Supreme Court – famously said: "We may have democracy – or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few – but we can’t have both." Someone sent this informative graphic – depicting the biggest companies in the world – the corporations which own them – and how their power compares to that of governments. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13588
David Donnison (prof) has written a masterful essay on the relationship between academic research (particularly related to social policy) and the political process. He compares how it was – is now and how it could be. Beautifully and clearly written (no jargon) – highly recommended. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13585
Our recent piece on the spread of food poverty – may have given the impression that communities organising to provide food to the needy has been imported from down south – via the Trussel Trust. We have been informed, in no uncertain terms, that locally organised food banks have been widespread in Scotland for many years. This piece from the Clydebank Post is typical of activity on the increase across the country. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13561
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: Art’n’Mind, The Lennox Partnership, Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association Limited, Revive MS Support, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, With Kids, One World Shop
EVENTS: Don’t Be Shy, Have A Try, 21 May; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 25 May; Heavenly Blue Notes, 25 May; Open Grip 2, 26 May; Sleepless ’til Seattle – illustrated adventure talk, 30 Aug
TENDERS: Playschemes for children & young people with disabilities – City of Edinburgh Council and Provision of a primary school-based children and families counselling & emotional wellbeing service – East Lothian Council. For more details, see www.readyforbusiness.org
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This week, Senscot attended the consultation for the new European Structural Funds Programme (2014-20) at Glasgow Caley. The consultation was launched by Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who stated that the key to the new programme would be ‘partnership working’ to ensure continued growth of the economy and employment in Scotland. The third sector has, over the year, played a significant role in delivery of ESF programmes so it’s disappointing that in the proposed ‘Governance and Delivery Structure’ appears to give it minimal role. SCVO is seeking to address this. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13597 For more Networks News, see http://se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=292
Ready for Business LLP is a partnership including Senscot, Social Firms Scotland and CEiS. It is part of a wider consortium delivering Scottish Govt’s ‘Developing Markets’ contract. The Consortium is on the look-out for an experienced consultant to support its work with the public and third sectors to develop and deliver services through Public Social Partnerships (PSP). If you’re interested, see
Reforesting Scotland and the Falkland estate in Fife – have published a wee booklet called ‘The Year of the Storm’. The amazing story of how one devastating storm flattened 10 thousand trees – and how the people around Falkland transformed this into a positive experience of community resilience; inspirational. See, http://www.senscot.net/docs/yearofthestormflyer.pdf
This is an interview from the Financial Times with Rosabeth Moss Kanter (70) – about a course in its fifth year at Harvard Business School; it’s for older people, whose first career is over, but have proven leadership – and who are still motivated to make a difference for communities. This idea deserves to picked up in the UK. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13590
Pauline Hinchion – who is helping Senscot with our study into a Scottish Community Banking Trust – attended the Transforming Finance Conference in London last Friday. Held in Edinburgh last year – I found this an inspirational gathering of radical economists and campaigners – looking to change world banking. Pauline had a similar uplifting experience – she sends her impressions. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13594
This week’s bulletin profiles an arts organisation – based in Kilmarnock – whose aim is to allow anyone in the local community and beyond, the opportunity to participate in theatre related activities and projects – that can make a real difference to individuals and the community as a whole. Centrestage, established in 2005, has ‘leadership through the arts’ at the core of all its activities and, currently, engages with over 800 members of the community in mainstream and outreach activities every week. Centrestage has never received core funding to cover its running costs and relies on its members and audiences for its income.
For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=13591
The advances in brain science mean that we can now detect the physical effects of love in the human brain. Dr Barbara Fredickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina describes the fascinating, subtle biology underpinning love, and what this means for making healthy, resonant connections happen in your life.
"We now know that a steady diet of love – of these micro-moments of positive connection – influences how people grow and change, making them healthier and more resilient. And we’re beginning to understand exactly how this works, by tracking the complex chain of biological reactions that cascade throughout your body and change your behaviour in ways that influence those around you as you experience love." See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13582
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210