Senscot Bulletin: 17-11-2006

Dear members and friends,

Melanie Reid tells us in the Herald this week about going to see the ‘Red Road’ film. Afternoon showing, sparse crowd, old Glasgow couple recognising ‘neighbours’ on the screen – discreet and happy whispering. Posh chap goes over and tells them to be quiet. Older guy furious, jumps up: ‘Who the feck do you think you are, ya bassa?’ nearly banjos him. The luvvies have adopted the Red road film. It’s one of the ways those of us who run things cope with our confusion and guilt about the poor. ‘Cutting edge culture’; Five Baftas. The 30% of citizens who will never own anything, who do all the crap jobs, for crap money who are depicted in our media as lazy, drunk or stupid. The way we run things determines that they drift further away from us – get poorer. We shouldn’t be too surprised to encounter anger.
 Friend was over in Lisbon recently with the Celtic, but says he didn’t enjoy it – like me, he’s too old now for the moronic melee. Apparently the Benfica mascot is an eagle – before home games a falconer sends the magnificent bird on a sweep of the ‘Stadium of Light’, drawing a great roar from the crowd. I’d like to see that. Later, queuing at the airport with dejected fans, a snippet: ‘I knew we’d get beat.’ ‘How’s that then?’ ‘They’ve got an eagle – what have we got back hame at Parkhead? Feckin’ pigeons.’ You’ve got to laugh.

You can order Laurence’s book, ‘You’ve got to laugh’, here:

Fears are being expressed by youth organisations in Scotland that the Executive wants to ‘bury’ youth work into schools – including an element of compulsion. Alarm is being expressed by leaders in the Scottish arts world that the Executive intends to introduce ministerial control over the new body Creative Scotland, which will oversee artistic development from 2008. Community development in Scotland has been reduced to delivering the community to policy through pseudo-democratic forms of partnership. These are three current examples of the state’s creeping encroachment into the realm of citizen activity. Three lecturers from Edinburgh University have circulated an open letter protesting that the broader democratic process is being increasingly managed, regulated and controlled. It’s called ‘Whatever happened to learning for democracy?’ There’s a meeting on 30th November – I intend to be there.  

Yesterday, November 16th, was Social Enterprise Day, which Senscot celebrated with our annual Ceilidh for the members of the 14 social enterprise networks. We took all the rooms at the Mill Hotel at New Lanark and the dinner for 110 last night was memorable. The Cabinet Office marked SE Day by launching the Social Enterprise Action Plan which refreshes the English Social Enterprise Strategy. The New document contains separate introductions from Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband and indicates a vigorous intent to grow our sector. It ends with a page outlining Scottish activity – which brings us down to earth. The Scottish SE strategy is still expected to emerge before the Christmas break.

Regeneration policy in the UK is now about using major planning consents to lift the value of land and then to capture the ‘uplift’ for ‘public good’. This means that if you live in public housing – with a nice view of the Clyde or similar – there’s a good chance your neighbourhood could soon become posh flats. Here are two links to communities resisting ‘gentrification’:;

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: 24 vacancies, incl. posts with: Community Food Initiatives North East, Blue Horizon, Student Volunteering Scotland ,Churches Action for the Homeless, The Ark Trust.

EVENTS: 15 events, incl. Strathmore & the Glens Community Market, Blairgowrie, 25 Nov; Social Enterprise Alliance for Midlothian Christmas Fair, Dalkeith, 29 Nov; Out of the Maze: step by step guide to business planning for social enterprises, Edinburgh, 29 Nov; Social Audit Network conference, York, 1 Dec; Launch of Policy Positioning Paper for Social Firms & AGM – Social Firms Scotland, Scottish Parliament, 15 Dec;

With recent changes in legislation, the Senscot Exchange contacted OSCR for clarification on the issue of remuneration for trustees/directors.  There is scope for trustees to receive salary/remuneration as long as certain criteria are met.  This is set out in the recently published ‘Guidance for Charity Trustees’. Here is a link to section 5 of the guidance which explains what they mean by remuneration and the conditions that have to be met. For more information on this or the Exchange, contact

A legal form which I believe merits more examination is that of a Community Land Trust – which is a mechanism for the democratic ownership of land by the local community. Land is taken out of the market so that the impact of increasing value is captured in perpetuity by the community. Here’s a piece by Richard Clarke, who appears to be an aficionado.

This week’s bulletin profiles Livingston-based Almond Enterprises. The organisation began life in the 1990s as the Craigshill Initiative, carrying out stair cleaning for the Livingston Development Corporation and then for Almond Housing Association. When the founding directors retired in 2004, Almond Housing Association stepped in to set it up as a subsidiary social enterprise and appointed a full-time manager. The social enterprise now employs a dozen people and has an expanded client list including the council and local housing associations and a fleet of three vans to transport staff and materials. Almond Enterprises plans to expand its role further by linking with other social enterprises to recycle and reuse as much of the house clearance materials as possible. A crèche service is also being explored. For further info, see

A network member put me in touch with a great site called ‘allspirit’ – hundreds of quotes from spiritual travellers over the ages.

‘This ‘real’ nature with whose revelation the Chan Masters are primarily concerned, or the Atman-‘I’ of the Vedantists, is not the far-off, unreachable will-o’-the-wisp we are apt to imagine, but just the within of which we know the without. It is just the other side of the medal, and it lies wherever our senses and our intellect cease to function.’ (from ‘Ask the awakened’ by Wei Wu Wei).

‘I take a book from the other side of this desk; I hear the boys playing  ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the  neighbouring woods; – in all these I am practicing Zen, I am living Zen.
No wordy discussion is necessary or any explanation.’ (D T Suzuki)

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

Best wishes,

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