Senscot Bulletin 17-10-2003



Dear members and friends,


On TV years ago – there was a scene in Alex Hailey’s ‘Roots’
– when he holds up the new born baby towards the sunrise – recites from memory
the names of the child’s ancestors – all generations right back to their
African roots – before slavery.  I only
remember the name Kunta Kinte – but the hair stood up on the back of my neck.  I resolved to trace my own origins – to
connect to my destiny.  I never have.

            On my
mother’s side we seem a successful enough tribe – demanding – disputive – but
prolific breeders and adept in business – some spectacularly.  On my dad’s side, though, the gene bank is
gentler – less assertive.  Down the
years successive generations of my ancestors joined the nearby monastery of
Monte Cassino.  Our tribal culture is
stoical – dependable – even pious. 
Demarcos by repute are ‘di poce parole’ (of few words).  We are also dying out.  I have no descendants – no brothers.  Our branch ends with me.  There will be no dynasty – no Ponderosa.

Can’t say it bothers me that there
are no wee Laurences running about. 
I’ve never felt the impulse to propagate – too self-absorbed.  I enjoy children though – especially when
they are new to speech – uninhibited. 
Sitting in my car with wee Alan yesterday – waiting for his mum.  “You smell bad”, he says, “I don’t think so
– I think it’s the car – someone spilt milk – it won’t go away”.  He ponders this, “I think it’s you”, he



It’s exactly a month ‘til Senscot’s annual conference on 19th
Nov. – time is flying.  Our day will
focus on the Scottish Executive’s Social Economy Action Plan which will
hopefully be published by then.  The
Plan is about improving the infrastructure and the support environment for
social enterprises – this is exactly where Senscot is positioned.  The conference is filling up.  If you are not directly involved with a
social enterprise we regret that there were only a limited number of such
places and they’re all gone.  If you’re
a front line practitioner there are still places left but don’t hang about –
it’s going to be full.  During the lunch
hour we are inviting folk to bring literature and promote their
company/project.  No charge for this but
you’ll need to book space from Emma. 
See the conference programme.  (



If the forthcoming Action Plan is about funding
infrastructure – the proposed Futurebuilders Scotland will complement this by
providing direct investment into social enterprises themselves. Scottish
Ministers have committed £12 million over the next two financial years and this
may be augmented by European Structural Funds. 
The average investment is expected to be around £100,000 which would
mean a 120 investments (60 each year). 
With European matched funding significantly more. Do we have this number
of social enterprise ready for a step change? Particularly in year one, the
managers of Futurebuilders will need to `get out there`.



When Jackie Nunn’s marriage broke-up she suddenly became a
single mum with no income.  When she got
over the shock of poverty she realised that her urgent need for child care was
a market gap – so she founded TROJANS – a child care social enterprise in
London.  The business is based on the
idea that parents either give their time or money – and it is so successful
that it already operates activity programmes in 17 primary schools.  Jackie is developing a social franchise
model to roll out nationally.  (



“If you have a guy with all the survival training in the
world who has a negative attitude and a guy who doesn’t have a clue but has a
positive attitude – you can be sure that it’s the second one who is coming our
of the woods alive”.   Gordon Smith –
SERE Instructor.



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 30 vacancies, including posts at the Community One
Stop Shop, YMCA Glasgow, Oxgangs Community Care Group, EVOC, Inclusion Glasgow,
Royston Youth Action, Shelter Scotland.


EVENTS: ‘One World Week’ events, Edinburgh, 17 Nov; Social
Enterprise Procurement Conference, Oct 29; EDAS conference Oct 31; ‘Zero Waste’
recycling conf, Edinburgh, Nov 5-6; ‘Social Firms Successes’ event, Glasgow,
Nov 7; Community Enterprise Lochaber Conference, Strontian, Nov 15;
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations conference, Edinburgh, Nov 19.


For details on these and more:



The Rural Gateway features ‘eco tourism’ as main topic on
its site this month, including sounding out VisitScotland, the national tourism
agency, on the subject: 



Last week we mentioned that the Linked Work and Training
Trust in Falkirk has won a prestigious BURA award. Thanks to George Briggs for
e-mailing to tell us more about this project – inspirational (



Have a look at our consultants list. It’s already up to 100,
and is searchable as well as browsable. (



This week’s bulletin profiles a playgroup in Inverkip in
Inverclyde, just south of Gourock, that has recently changed from a parent lead
organisation to a company limited by guarantee. The Inverkip Pre 5 Centre has
been in operation for almost 30 years and is the only childcare facility within
the Inverkip area. The Centre offers up to 40 places to local children and, for
the first time, is operating at full capacity and is now able to employ six
playleaders. They have also set themselves a number of additional objectives
that include acquiring outdoor play equipment, employing a Development Manager
and, in the long term, a custom built Centre. Any advice or ideas would be
welcomed. For further information, see
(Project Profiles at



An anthology has been published in which aid workers recount
their stories about the horrors of war and famine – and the human folly which
causes it.  What brought the book to my
notice is that one of my favourite writers – John le Carre – has written the
preface.  He writes, “The relief workers
in this book are not saints.  Some are
what conventional society would call misfits, because the only true kinship
they can feel is with the world’s victims. 
Others can’t rest until they have entered the final heart of darkness
and witnessed the worst of what man can do to man.  For them there is a terrible triumph in witnessing truths that
the rest of us hurry to look away from”. 

Many of us will recognise this
behaviour in colleagues – the more reflective of us will also know it in
ourselves.  We all work with the
powerless for our own reasons.  But
these driven souls are preferable to what le Carre calls ‘the so-called relief
workers – the institutionalised functionaries of global disaster – so
integrated with the towering bureaucracy of the world aid industry that they
are actually part of the problem they think they are helping”.  (



Last week I expressed some doubts about the law of
Karma.  A friend and colleague, Yasmin,
writes, “I cannot resist sending you a couple of quotes by RUMI which I keep
pinned on my notice board.  Every time I
read them, I confirm that they are true.

   “If you will be
observant and vigilant, you will see at every moment – the response to your

   “Be observant if
you would have a pure heart, for something is born to you in consequence of
every action.


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

Best wishes,



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