Senscot Bulletin: 17.08.12

Dear members and friends,

 Because of its surrender to the corporate world, I decided to blank the Olympics; but in spite of myself – it got to me. Andy Murray was the first to suck me in; that Nadal, Federer and Djockovic have kicked sand in his face for so long, made his victory specially sweet. Such passion and guts Andy – "and now they will fear you."
 Usain Bolt has real star quality – a joy – (like a young Cassius Clay?) – but he gives the impression that he can run 100 metres, under 10 seconds, any time he wants; I was more impressed with the distance runners – like Mo Farah. My favourite Olympian was David Rudisha from Kenya – commitment, courage, grace, humility; a lovely man.
Public enthusiasm for the Games seemed genuine; in an age when our lives have become so atomised, there is a discernable yearning for the ‘shared experience’. But I’m not buying the media hype about the rise of ‘a new national purpose and patriotism’; nor do I expect a ‘permanent legacy’ of grassroots sport. Are we really going to see renewed state spending in schools and community sports facilities? Don’t hold your breath. The overwhelming majority of British pupils are without a horse or a yacht; will attend schools without a pool or a running track; and will pursue their sporting destiny in the school football team. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Why has banking not been reformed?  Why is the same bankrupt system allowed to blunder on?  It’s because the same super-rich still run everything – beyond the reach of democracy; across the world, Govt’s are afraid of their power.  I believe in the power of ordinary citizens as consumers – that we need to ‘be’ the change we want to see.  Senscot is convinced that the third sector in Scotland has the financial resource to create its own Scottish Community Bank.  It would take deposits from all who share our mission – lend to organisations which want to make a better world.  The vision is of a third sector taking responsibility for its own investment needs. See our concept paper,

For over two years, this bulletin has reported (sceptically) on the chatter from England about SIBs and social investment as an asset class; at long last, the debate seems to have reached Scotland.  John Swinney has stated his intention to host discussions; yesterday, Thursday, our Big Lottery assembled some sector leaders (including Senscot).  What are the acceptable parameters, moral and practical, of investment in the third sector?  Senscot will circulate a discussion paper next week. See list of attendees,

Senscot regards the third sector as a three legged stool: the traditional voluntary sector – social enterprise – and the ‘poor cousin’ community sector, which gets least attention.  The emergence of Local People Leading in 2008 (now the Scottish Community Alliance) means that its 16 networks (around 3000 local groups) now have a national voice.  The Alliance has identified the 5 key principles which it believes should form the basis of the new Community Empowerment Bill. See,

The pre-eminent exponent of social business internationally is Muhammad Yunus; while his attitude to the ‘asset lock’ is the same as ours in Scotland (no profit distribution) – he takes a stricter view than us about sustainability.  A social enterprise, he says, is often part funded by govt or charitable trusts; a true social business, he says, will be self sufficient. See, . This may be appropriate in societies which lack a supportive public sector – but I’m not sure its relevant for Scotland.  Anyone have any experience of the Scottish Social Business Fund? See,

Excellent piece by Alan Moore in the Huffington Post about the true nature of social enterprise. This is way beyond the principle of asset locks etc – into how shared values and collaborative ways of working release human creativity. Very hopeful piece – I’ll read it again. See,

The Senscot bulletin tries to reflect on how society will operate post neo-liberalism – when the values and practices of ‘me first’ have been outgrown. This piece reflects on the new energy evident in the co-operative movement – speculates on the part it will play in the ‘new society’ – citizens "being me and also us". See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: The Place2Be, Routes to Work South, Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian, Edinburgh University Students Association, Outside the Box Development Support, Govan and Craigton Integration Network
EVENTS: MOJO Scotland, 19 Aug; Strengthening your Social Enterprise, 21 Aug; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 25 Aug; Getting to Grips with Social Accounting & Audit and Social Capital (Dundee), 30 Aug
TENDERS: Supply of Glasgow City Wide Stress Services, Mobile Unit for Occupational Health Service, Print Services in Tayside and Supply & Installation of Furniture, Furnishings & White Goods in East Lothian. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Two important new bills are due to go through the Scottish Parliament within the next year or so – the Community Empowerment Bill and the Procurement Reform Bill (previously referred to as the Sustainable Procurement Bill). Both will present increased opportunities for SEN members to deliver their services within their local communities. The Community Empowerment Bill is already going through its consultation process. As part of this, Scottish Govt has set up a new website to highlight local success stories. See,  And last week, Scottish Govt opened its consultation process for the Procurement Reform Bill. Pauline Graham (Social Firms Scotland) has kindly put together this short briefing. See,  For more Networks News, see

Date for the diary: The Senscot Seminar and AGM will be held on Friday 5th October at City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow (10.30 – 2.30pm). Topic of this year’s Seminar will be ‘A Scottish Community Bank’. The event is free to full company members (individuals) with £20 charge for all others (i.e Associates, non-members etc). To book your place, email

The Social Enterprise Academy is on the look out for new Board members. The Academy specialises in learning and development programmes focused on leadership, enterprise and social impact measurement – supporting up to 1,000 people annually – as well as working with over 400 schools. For further details, see

There’s a battle brewing over the term ‘social enterprise’. It appears an American-based ‘cloud computing company’, is looking to trademark the term. SE UK is leading the charge. See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles a Fife-based social enterprise, set up in 2005, to tackle environmental and social problems in local communities. Living Solutions achieves these aims through environmental works and projects carried out in local communities that provide employment, training and volunteering opportunities. Areas of work covered include: Landscaping, Forestry, Timber Processing and Minor Civil Engineering. Living Solutions is a member of Fife SEN and is also a subscriber to the SE Voluntary Code of Practice.
For more, see

Andalucia in southern Spain is really suffering; 34% unemployment – billions of euros of cuts still to come; Spain is close to the brink. Here is a heart-lifting story about the Andalucian town of Marinaleda (pop. 2,600) and its Communist Mayor – which runs as an anarchist co-operative. The houses and land are owned collectively – they’ve abolished the police – wage equality – virtually full employment. The town has a sign – ‘otro mundo es posible’. See,

Mayor of Marinaleda, Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, speaks about communist utopia (see above).

"Utopias aren’t chimeras; they are the most noble dreams that people have. The dream of equality; the dream that housing should belong to everyone, because you are a person, and not a piece of merchandise to be speculated with; the dream that natural resources – for instance energy – shouldn’t be in the service of multinationals, but in the service of the people. All those dreams are the dreams we’d like to turn into realities. First, in the place where we live, with the knowledge that we’re surrounded by capitalism everywhere; and later, in Andalucia, and the world".

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210