Senscot Bulletin: 17-06-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


One-day London trip last week – travel raises my blood pressure. Free afternoon though – strolling in the sunshine on the South Bank, watching expert skateboarders –so solemn – browsing in open-air bookstalls. Engrossed. Find book by Jung on psychological types. Fill in questionnaire with banana split in open-air café – discover I’m an ‘introvert intuitive’ type: ‘Many mystics and poets belong to this type. In the past they would probably have been the shaman of the tribe – nowadays they are often regarded as odd.’ Not sure what a shaman is, but sounds cool. My ‘intuitive’ dominance is beyond doubt but the introvert/extravert preference is close, so I also read ‘extravert intuitive’ type: ‘Most entrepreneurs and businessmen belong to this group. Because they view convention as unimportant they can be ‘chancers’.’ Two sides of a coin – mystic poet / dodgy entrepreneur.

            Birthday party on Wednesday – gathering of extended tribe. Lots of the old faces -getting older. But lots of new children. Highlight for me is feeding my baby cousin her first ice-cream. With each taste her wee face contorts in shock – puzzlement – then joy. Mum catches me – I’m banished. Mario my cousin arrives – used to play golf together but drifted apart 20 years ago. After lots of red wine he gets something off his chest. ‘Folk have different opinions about you,’ he says, ‘Some say that you’re deep – others that you’re a chancer.’ Manage to smile. ‘Probably a bit of both, Mario.’



I’m trustee of a UK Charity which has added more business people to its board. Despite current fashion, the Third Sector needs to be wary of private sector influence. Even business people with good will, come from a different world – different mindset. Business drives the economy – creates wealth – a kind of warfare with its own clear objective – to make profit. Our sector exists to foster what Aristotle called ‘civic kindness’ – today’s term – social capital. We aim to build the trust which binds society – by devolving power, sharing information and contacts, opening up resources and wealth. Sometimes these are the opposite of business behaviours. A different paradigm. Enlightened business people understand that if civic life is dysfunctional – business suffers. But few capitalists understand how to create social capital. We need to be wary.



There is an ongoing issue about the variability of the service delivered by Scottish Enterprise LECs to the social economy in Scotland. Senscot has commissioned Les Huckfield to take a look at the various LECs targets and performance – including a qualitative appraisal. Scottish Enterprise inform us that they intend to carry out a ‘full and rigorous evaluation of Network activity with social enterprise in the autumn.’ In the meantime, they have sent us a briefing paper which (for the first time) identifies individual LEC targets/outcomes.



I’m an admirer of Carol Craig’s work at the ‘Centre for Confidence and Well-being’. Their monthly bulletin challenges ‘accepted’ and simplistic thinking in Regeneration Policy – we need more of such challenging debate ( The Centre’s next network meeting will be on 23rd June in Edinburgh’s City Chambers. Details on website – 



The Scottish Charities Bill was passed by our Parliament last week – our sector in Scotland now has comprehensive and modern regulation.  The 15 Conservative MSPs abstained because the new bill endangers the charitable status of fee paying schools – but it still got through easily, 98 – 0.  In England, it is this very issue which is delaying their equivalent bill – with the House of Lords currently trying to find a compromise.  This issue is a good illustration of the different social attitudes of Scotland’s and England’s Parliaments.  



Senscot is currently updating its database and web details. You may well be contacted by Varda over the coming weeks. Prompt responses would be very helpful and much appreciated.



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: 45 vacancies, incl. posts with: Coach House Trust, Zero Tolerance, Argyll Community Housing Association, Glasgow Braendam Link, Greenspace Scotland,  Forth Sector, BabyGroe.


EVENTS: Cultural Enterprise Office ‘Creative Social Entrepreneurship’ evening, Edinburgh, 23 June; Centre for Confidence and Well-being – network event, Edinburgh, 23 June; ‘Going beyond Green: Sustainable development for sustainable communities’, Edinburgh 28 June; New Consumer Magazine FairTrade Concert, Edinburgh, 1 July.



Julia Palmer writes to inform us that the Investment Fund is open for applications from 1 July to 30 Sept. and the Seedcorn Fund from 10 June to 31 Aug.  



Pro Bono Publico are conducting a series of research programmes, primarily aimed at the social enterprise sector.



The Enterprising Solutions Awards – the national awards for social enterprise – are now in their 7th year (so far no Scottish winner) and the closing date for nominations has been set for 15th August. This year, the awards will be made during Enterprise Week (14th – 18th Nov), with the event itself being held in London on the first ever Social Enterprise Day (17th  Nov). The criteria for applicants include are 3 years trading income and a clear enterprising approach to tackling social needs. ( £10k cash prize and profile boost for the winners.



Mel Young informs us that New Consumer Magazine is holding a FairTrade Concert at the Usher Hall on Friday 1st July. The Concert will be a world-wide celebration of music focusing firmly on highlighting Fair Trade issues positively, on the eve of the ‘Make Poverty History Rally’. 5½ hours of top world class music, celebrating with Cuba’s most influential music writer, Candido Fabre y su banda (14-strong) on their first ever visit to Scotland. For Details and ticket info, see:



Also, Thursday, 23rd June, AfricaWoman is running a free Conference at the Hub in Edinburgh, 10-4pm.

This will give a platform to 8 woman who could change the face of the continent.



This week’s bulletin looks at an emerging social enterprise in Glasgow – Spruce Carpets. Set up by social entrepreneur Kate Atkinson, Spruce collects in donations of unwanted carpets in good condition from households and refurbishes them. Reconditioned carpets are then sold at low prices, ranging from £6 to £60, from the showroom in Ibrox, and also fitted for the customer at affordable rates. Funded until March 2006 by Transforming Waste Scotland and Scotland Unltd, Spruce then hopes to be self-sufficient. To date, sales targets are being met. In the longer term, Spruce Carpets is keen to replicate the idea of carpet re-use and recycling, and is looking at how it can best support other organisations who express an interest. For further info’, see ‘Profiles’ on the Senscot website:  



Scott Fitzgerald ended the Great Gatsby with the line: ‘So we beat on – boats against the current – borne back ceaselessly into the past.’  This theme returns to me frequently.  Albert Camus wrote: ‘We dream of an equilibrium we have left behind, and which we naively expect to find at the end of our errors.’ and again Camus.  ‘A man’s work is nothing but the slow trek to discover, through the detours of art, those two or three quiet and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.’


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


Best wishes,



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