Senscot Bulletin: 17.10.08

Dear members and friends,

The 15 years I worked in Wester Hailes changed the direction of my life – that’s when I came to think of myself as a community worker – I still do. Trying to reflect on that period is difficult though – me and the work got entangled – some folk call it “going native”. My dominant memory is of attrition – as if I was possessed by an elemental force – locked in combat with those who would destroy us – I must have been wild. Jung, when he retired, wrote about his work: “There was a daimon in me which overpowered me. If at times I was ruthless, it was because I was in its grip. I could never stop at anything once attained. I had to hasten on to catch up with my vision. I have offended many people, for as soon as I saw that they did not understand me, that was the end of the matter as far as I was concerned. I had to move on.” It’s as if Jung wrote these words for me.
 The psychologist Rollo May defines the daimonic as, “Any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person. It can be either creative or destructive, but it is normally both. The daimonic arises from the ground of being rather than from the self as such – and must be integrated into consciousness through the process of therapy”. Scientists will always try to understand and predict human behaviour – yet social change seems to be driven by untamed individuals – troubled and troublesome. And the new sense will not come from the old sense – but from what is now deemed nonsense.

No shortage of commentary in the press about the mess capitalists have made of capitalism – how unregulated markets sooner or later destroy the ethical foundations they need to operate.  I have long been a fan of David Marquand – who offers a calmer historical perspective: ‘‘The greatest need now is for a new theory of the mixed economy, framed for the global marketplace of today’’.  But the best analysis I’ve read of the current crisis is by Noam Chomsky – exposing the anti-democratic nature of US Capitalism. Great article containing a memorable quote from John Dewey.

You may be aware that there are basically two forms of ‘social reporting’ on the go: Social Return on Investment (SROI) and Social Accounting and Audit (SAA). The Governments, both at Holyrood and Westminster, seem to have opted to promote SROI, which allocates financial values to social outcomes.  Contracts to develop this methodology are currently being tendered and the attached article gives some background. Being able to demonstrate the value of our work is important – there’s even talk of Scottish Government making it a condition of investment – but the practice will need to be sold.  If you’re running a struggling social business in some housing estate – worried about getting the wages into the bank – this could all seem a bit marginal.  Social Audit Network (SAN) Annual Conference – 7th November in Edinburgh.

So Dubai money is to build a super deluxe hotel in Argyle St – Lesley Riddoch has a splendid rant in her Guardian blog.  ‘‘In Glasgow a willingness to embrace excess brings status – even if it also brings jail and broken health.  Men here are dying of the effects of drink at twice the rate of everyone else’’.

Had a wee rant myself on the phone to a reporter from New Start Magazine – told him that our SNP ministers don’t ‘‘get’’ community empowerment.  This is what he wrote – a bit OTT.

Andrew Simms – policy director at the New Economics Foundation – is enthusiastic about the ideas of Edgar Cahn – (the core economy – co-production etc) which regular readers will know are favourite themes with Senscot.  Here is a short piece he penned this week.
Senscot switched to Triodos bank in 2003 – the individuals we deal with know who we are – understand what we do. The mission of Triodos is “to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.” In this interview, Charles Middleton, the MD, reflects on ‘‘a different way to do business’’.  I sense that more social businesses are trying to keep their money within our own sector .

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: incl. posts with: ARK Housing Association Ltd., Midlothian Advice And Resource Centre, Camphill Blairdrummond, Renfrewshire CVS, Edinburgh Community Backgreens Association
EVENTS: Climate Change: Effective Communication, 23 Oct, Edinburgh; Facilitation Training Day, 23 Oct, Edinburgh; Health & Wellbeing Fair, 1 Nov, Aberdeen; Compassionate Living Fayre, 8 Nov, Edinburgh

NETWORKS 1st News:  Bookings for this year’s Dragon’s Den are mounting up – we’ve got 8 applications so far – but there’s still time to get your application in. As usual, we only have five places available in the Den and, with an increased prize of £5,000, this year’s selection process will have to be stricter. Deadline for applications is this Monday, 20th of October. This year, we’re especially pleased to have Mel Young – a co-founder of Senscot – along to give a pre-dinner talk in addition to the usual turn from Laurence. Don’t miss out and get those booking forms in as soon as you can. For more NETWORKS News, see

Aspire to Enterprise, the support `pilot` being run by CEiS and Forth Sector Development is entering its fourth quarter. To date, Aspire is working with 40 social enterprises with another 10 in the pipeline. Their target for the year is 60 social enterprises and they are optimistic that the `pilot` will be rolled out for another two years. They are particularly keen on further enquiries from Fife, Forth Valley and Tayside. For more, see

The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition has now appointed Events Consultants Scotland to run S2S over the next three years. 2009`s event will take place on 23rd April 2009 at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. A key part of the tender was the commitment to offer subcontracting opportunities to social enterprises. These will include, amongst other things, the design and printing of exhibition materials, catering and audio-visual provision. Interest has to be registered by 21st October. For more, see

This week’s bulletin profiles an independent Arts organisation serving south west Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association (DGAA) was established in1985 as a resource for information on regional arts and artists and as a key contact for regional arts activities. These activities cover the Creative and Performing Arts, including Music, Dance, Drama and Literature. Amongst their income generating activities is their `on-line shop` that allows the local community to purchase books, music as well as tickets for local events. For more, see

Picked up an anthology of new writings by women in Scotland called `Cleave` (Two Ravens Press). Love this poem by Alison Craig as she watches her baby daughter dreaming. It’s called `Dream Waker`.

“A cot on a winter’s evening, a child turns and sighs, fingers feeling for flowers in the dark. Her mother watches, love wild as sea, soft as rain, constant as night’s hours, watches the small tug of dreams like still air’s magician twitching leaves. Stops her own breath to hear the sweet fill of tiny lungs. Theirs, blood flesh pain. The prophecy of fierce birth. Don’t listen, though, to these small black words. Hush. Watch the soul’s scripture on her face, words proud, gentle as moths around light. Know the push of dreams as she picks her way among clouds. And she wakes, sleeps again, wakes to spring, skies wide, and dreams make tomorrow in her eyes.

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

Best wishes,

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