Dear members and friends,
‘If everything came good for you Laurence, what would it be like – what is your dream of happiness?’ It’s one of these moments when everyone at the table stops talking and looks at you – but I have no answer – not because my dream is private – I simply can’t think of one. This incident stays with me – Daniel’s Restaurant in Leith, last July – a serious wake up call. ‘How can I get a result. If I don’t even know what it would look like?’ This needs sorted!
So I’ve been working at it – trying to understand what happened – how I lost it. Where is the leak through which, unknown to me, all my optimism has been draining away? Certainly, recent years brought troubles – health worries and death – so many people in my small life have died. But life’s inevitable blows have no necessary connection to discouragement – discouragement has a germ of its own, which is the real enemy. So I’ve been thinking happy thoughts – censoring the bad stuff – and it seems to be working. The ebb and flow of hope within us is a mysterious thing.
Using the metaphor of life as a game of cards, at some point along the way I shot out – lost all my money at the poker tables – and with it my nerve – so I just chucked the game. Now it’s like the urge has returned to be a player again – to ante up – get back to the action. I don’t understand why this should be – or how long it might last – but in the meantime – ‘Deal me in’.
Some readers aren`t always interested in the whole bulletin – but please read this appeal for donations. https://senscot.net/?viewid=6900
At Tulliallan, at the end of November, John Swinney outlined the government’s perspective on Community Planning – and he has now issued a note to re-inforce the key points he made (attached). Three of his six bullet points relate to engagement with communities and the vital role of the Third Sector in the whole process. Those of us active in the community sector welcome this renewed emphasis but Swinney must surely realise that the real picture is nothing like this; the Audit Scotland review of CPPs revealed that over half of them had no community representation at all. Scottish Government has not yet worked out how it will organise and co-ordinate the whole Community Empowerment agenda. `Empowerment` and `engagement` sit uneasily with the remnants of Communities Scotland. The Third Sector Division has a new team called tentatively ‘Supporting Localism’. A new `Strengthening Communities` function needs to be clearly differentiated, positioned and resourced to implement a Scottish Community Empowerment Strategy. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=6915
Andrew Mawson, who was the galvanising figure behind London’s Bromley by Bow Centre, has written a book extolling the benefits of the role of Social Entrepreneurs. But Lynsey Hanley writes in the Guardian that a cluster of community run social enterprises is no substitute for the serious state investment some struggling communities require. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=6913
Do you think posh schools should get charitable status – with the fiscal benefits this brings? The rules say that the opportunity for the public to benefit must not be unreasonably restricted by the ability to pay fees – that people living in poverty must not be excluded. In Scotland, OSCR is launching a three month consultation on its updated charity test guidelines. How to get involved – see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=6920
Senscot`s annual appeal for donations is more pressing this year because the bulletin has no funding. Any support you can give would be much appreciated. Link for details https://senscot.net/?viewid=6900
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/index.php?W21ID=86&W21SUBID=0. This week:
JOBS: 15 vacancies, incl. posts with: Pilotlight Scotland, Big Lottery Fund, Project Ability, Nisus Scotland, Space Unlimited, The Big Issue Cymru
EVENTS: 12 events, incl Getting down to business, 7 Feb, Edinburgh; Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid, 21 Feb, Fife; Mental Health Awareness, 15 Mar, Kirkcaldy; More than Recycling 08, 11 Mar, Perth
Activity around the 18 Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) is bubbling away. Aberdeen and Fife are particular hotspots this week. See Colin’s weekly report for details. https://senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=6310
The period for consultation is nearly over, on the Government housing paper, Firm Foundations. The SNP made much of Community Empowerment in its election manifesto – but it is not emerging as a consistent policy priority. This Green Paper fails to acknowledge the role of Community Housing Associations as anchors of local empowerment. This point is well made in the evidence from GWS Forum of Housing Associations. http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=6921
Couple of big national events to get in your diary for this year. In Scotland, we’ve got the 3rd S2S (Social Enterprise Coalition Trade Fair) , this year taking place at the Caird Hall in Dundee on 23rd April. Book early http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=6916 . A bit earlier is the annual Voice 08 (UK equivalent), this year taking place in Liverpool to tie in with its City of Culture celebrations. The dates are 26th/27th Feb. To book a place, see http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=6917
The domain of the citizen – of service and equity – of the Third Sector – is distinct from the domain of the state. Government can’t do what we do – go where we go – it’s too remote. Over the past 25 years, the growth of managerialism has blunted the cutting edge of the Third Sector – the growth of unaccountable government has encroached on the citizen realm. Now there are indications that Scottish Government is getting closer to the people’s Lottery – our main source of independent funding. Last October, BIG suspended all awards to Third Sector Intermediaries, pending the introduction of a new strategic overview (managerialists love them). Dharmendra Kanani, BIG CEO, explains: ‘BIG is conscious that its investment needs to respond, be aligned to and form part of a wider set of institutional structures and funding across Scotland.’ The idea that the people’s Lottery should sit down with government and the other establishment players to agree a centralised blueprint for Third Sector infrastructure is horrifying to me. The beancounters have taken over the ship. Citizens – it’s time to resist. I asked BIG about the proposed new overview body – this is what I got back. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=6914
Senscot will be hosting the second `Intrapreneurs` event on 12th February at the Trades Hall in Glasgow. The events are supported by NESTA and the Scottish Government`s Delivery Dept. Invites will be going out to those who have already expressed an interest next week but, if you’d like to be involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org See note of meeting http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=6696
This week`s bulletin profiles a new Community Interest Company (CIC) based in Peebles in the Scottish Borders but with the intention of offering its services across Scotland. You Can Cook has been set up to educate and create awareness within the community regarding the basics of cooking with the emphasis on healthy eating. The company will run cookery classes, demonstrations and workshops in international cuisine. You Can Cook is currently exploring contract opportunities with schools, hospitals and third sector organisations. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=6918
‘This is the true job in life – the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself As a mighty one – the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances – complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die – for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake – life is no brief candle to me – it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment – and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.’ – George Bernard Shaw
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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