Senscot Bulletin: 17.06.16

Dear members and friends,
            Amused to discover recently that I can no longer whistle – no noise comes out; it hardly matters, except as another reminder that old age requires constant adjustment, when bits of us wear out – stop working.  More significant was the discovery of age related ‘macular degeneration’ in both my eyes – because without a car I need to find a place to live on a bus route; leaving this cottage, after 12 years, would be ‘a sair one’.
             Footering around the edge of Callander recently, I happened on a small vacant cottage – its back garden looking over meadows and water to Ben Ledi; yes I thought, I could happily spend my final years here – facing to these hills.  But part of me knows that it might not be as easy as that; the solitary, independent lifestyle which I enjoy depends on a basic level of physical competence – and then what?  Painful decision ahead – requiring some compromises.
             I’m old enough to remember when a ‘normal’ family would be at least 3 generations living together: children, parents and assorted grandparents (think of the Broons).  The ‘auld yins’ would typically share the housework – a bit of gardening; but their main contribution to family life was time spent with their grandchildren – often ‘better’ time than they spent with their own kids.  This arrangement was once respected – and ‘steadied’ families: elders handing down the traditions of the tribe – children learning about old people: that they eventually become infirm – unable to do stuff – even to whistle.


It’s startling to realise that by this time next week we Brits could have left the European Union – with far reaching consequences. I watched this 11 minute video about lessons from the 1975 in/out referendum; the issues of the economy and sovereignty were then as now – but what is noticeably new is the bitterness of the present immigration debate. On Thursday, it will probably come down to an emotional call – whether voters opt to be part of an emerging Europe – or whether they imagine a ‘sovereign’ Britain with the ‘greatness’ to dominate our continent. I want greater sovereignty for communities, for municipalities, for Scotland, for the UK; but I want to share social and economic advances within a slowly expanding European Community.


There are recurrent attempts in England – led by the Tory Cabinet Office – to create what they call a ‘social’ sector – which is free to make profits and distribute dividends. Whitehall has invented the term ‘mission-led businesses’ and is conducting a review to try to agree what this might mean. These are private businesses, free of the expectations of our third sector or any form of regulation – so will their ‘public benefit’ element be taken on trust?  In this short piece, David Floyd asks what the Cabinet Office’s real purpose in this is.


I was captivated by an article in the travel section of Saturday’s Guardian – and can see its relevance to wee towns and villages, without a hotel, around rural Scotland. Instead of the cost of a new build – or joining existing structures – the ‘albergo difusso’ (scattered hotel) has bedrooms in a dozen buildings within, say, 100 yards of a ‘reception’ room and a ‘dining’ room; all rooms could be in people’s houses or stand alone. There is an obvious social enterprise option with the town/village co-ordinating everything collectively.


Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has announced four new posts – to be based in Glasgow and Edinburgh – expanding its role across Scotland to stimulate action on Land Reform.  As of April this year – the community right to buy, including access to the Scottish Land Fund, became nationwide – embracing major urban population centres.  So far the vast majority of Scotland’s 500,000 acres of community owned land is in the Highlands and Islands; our government wants to raise this to one million acres by 2020 – and is now targeting the Central Belt, Perthshire and South of Scotland.
Anyone involved with community development in Scotland over recent decades will be aware of the work of Bob Holman – who sadly died this week aged 79.  Always outspoken about his Christian/socialist beliefs – Holman practiced them to an exceptional degree – living as a ‘resourceful friend’ (his words) with the people of Easterhouse, Glasgow.  He understood the true meaning of community led activity.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, The Pitstop, Impact Business Leaders, Remade in Edinburgh, Douglas St Bride’s Community Group, New Caledonian Woodlands, CHAP,
TENDERS: Stirling Local Food Systems Study – Forth Environment Link; Employability Support Services Framework Agreement – Highland Council; Provision of a Business Support Services Framework – South Ayrshire Council; ESF Employability Project – Midlothian Council and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes: The Homeless World Cup (HWC) – 10th-16th July – will be taking place in George Square in Glasgow.  Senscot is working in partnership with HWC, to host a series of workshops – showcasing sport social enterprises and other community-based sports organisations and the contribution they make to local communities – not just in the area of sport but also on the wider social impact they bring to their respective communities. This programme will run alongside series of seminars  hosted by HWC itself – both to be held in Glasgow City Chambers – during the week of the tournament. If you’d like to participate in a workshop session, you can sign up here.


A series of Roundtable events is currently underway, looking in more depth at the principal issues within the SE Vision 2025 document. Aninteractive website – including a surveymonkey – has been developed to support this process – geared to collect as many views as possible from SEs throughout Scotland. In the autumn, a new ‘SE Strategy for Scotland’ – co-produced with Scottish Govt – will be published. This is your opportunity to have a say.


The Glenwyvis Community Shares offer has now topped the £1m mark – in their quest to reach £1.5m. Congratulations all round. Also, here’s a table showing how other community share offers have fared.


Following last month’s election, Parliament has now got round to assembling the variousparliamentary committees. This time round, no party will have a majority – so it will be interesting to see how this pans out. Also, here’s an organogram of our current third sector division.


Following our reference recently to the sad news about Chris Higgins, Neil McLean (CEO of SE Academy) has sent us this response – a tribute from staff and Board at the Academy.


One issue that is a no brainer for me is that football clubs should be owned by their fan-base – an intuitive fit with social enterprise principles; they can also provide an ideal focus for the comprehensive development of local communities. Good piece by Oliver Holtaway who has direct experience of these matters as secretary of Bath FC Supporters Society; his piece looks at the potential of the SE sector and social investment to help shape the future of British Football. Scotland has a Govt sympathetic to this direction of travel – with St Mirren, Hearts, Hibs and several smaller clubs at various stages of the journey.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new venture in Edinburgh providing up to 4 new/refurbished venue spaces in the centre of the old town. The Greyfriars Charteris Centre operates as a social enterprise and is part of the outreach work of Greyfriars Kirk. The Centre has ambitious plans to develop its suite of buildings into a community resource – with their vision based on ‘well-being, enterprise, arts and resourcing. The four venues – Kirk O’Field Sanctuary; St Ninian’s Hall; Harry Miller Hall; and Baillie Meeting Room – vary in size and can be used for meetings, conferences, training courses, rehearsals, performances, or social events.


The whole country is reeling this morning from the tragic murder of MP Jo Cox. Not many of us had the chance to get to know Jo – but all tributes say she was a person of outstanding humanity – among the very best. Our thoughts go to her family – two young children.


This is extracted from the maiden speech of Jo Cox – MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire,


“Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”



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