Senscot Bulletin: 18-03-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


‘When I drop four cubes of ice chimingly in a glass, and add three goes of gin, a lemon slice, and let a ten-ounce tonic void in foaming gulps until it smothers everything else up to the edge……’ These lines by Philip Larkin capture the pleasure of drinking – one of the joys of my life – till it became too much – friend became an enemy.  But I still miss it – the comradeship of the ‘Tennants Lager Roar’.

            Ally phones ‘We’re having a golf day at Rosemount – fancy it?’ ‘Delighted’ I say ‘That’s great – probably 16 of us.  Need a favour, Lorry – will you bring Mario?’ – Silence – ‘You don’t have to golf with him, and someone else will bring him back.’  ‘OK’ I say.  Mario is 72 – terrible bore.  All the way to Blairgowrie he talks non-stop – about himself – I just switch off.  Good round with old pals – four of us in our mid 60s – creaking – comparing ailments and remedies.  Scottish weather! Up the 6th hole into horizontal sleet – down the 7th – glorious sunshine.  But a great track and great crack.

            Hot shower – old fashioned ‘high tea’ (with cake stand) – then bevy and blethers.  Been sober 2½ years but still struggle in these situations – everyone shouting – going for it. Wander off to sit on loo for bit of peace – 2 guys come in.  Tom says ‘What a difference in Lorry – used to be the life and soul of the party – if that’s what being sober does – it’s not worth it.’ Then Mario’s voice, ‘I had to drive up with him – he’s become a real bore.’



Communities Scotland was created 5 years ago by bringing together Scottish Homes and the Executives’ Regeneration functions.  The idea was ‘spot on’ and we rejoiced – but its been a long and troublesome birth.  The switch from quango status to an agency within the Executive caused huge organisational angst – Bob Millar the CEO gave up.  In September 2003 Angiolina Foster was brought in to steady the ship – and she has.  Last Tuesday Douglas Fraser interviewed Angiolina in the Herald – worth reading.  She came across as competent and optimistic; deliberate and dogged; quiet spoken and tough.  ‘It’s about being very clear as a leader, that there can be no opt-outs to whatever the objective is.  If you are not on board, we have to resolve the issue.  You can’t just be a silent passenger.’  CS, with 500 staff and an annual budget of £600 million has the task of regenerating Scotland’s poorest communities.  From being in a mess itself – the organisation is beginning to find clarity and confidence.



So far 60 of you have taken up our invitation to become founding members of Senscot Ltd. The generosity and enthusiasm of your response is uplifting.  We’ll gradually welcome company members  individually – in the meantime, sincere thanks.  For your diary – the new company’s first AGM will be on 17th June.  View new company register of members:



HIE are currently conducting a strategy review and a short paper is ‘doing the rounds’ called The Cargo Cult – advocating locally rooted development instead of inward investment.  This paper comes from Graham Boyd on behalf of the Caledonia Centre for Social Development.  Don’t know the centre (Geneva address) but from the attached summary of activities – may it flourish.



Anne Pattullo tells us that folk interested in co-housing and eco villages in Scotland are having a day of networking on Saturday 9 April – 11am – 4pm.  You can join this gathering by phoning Evie McRae 01334 656025.  They are holding their event at a new venue called Abercorn House on the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry which is a new social enterprise set up jointly by Tricia Hughes of the Big Issue and myself.  The house is in a beautiful peaceful setting which makes it ideal for organisational away days.  


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


JOBS: 70 vacancies, incl. posts with: Scottish Executive,YMCA Scotland, British Red Cross, Glasgow Women’s Library, Oxfam in Scotland, Cairn Housing Association  


EVENTS: ‘Making it happen – integrating Scotland’s new communities’, 24 March, Glasgow; ‘Controversy and Conflict in Environmental Issues, CHE lecture, 7 Apr, Edinburgh; ‘Balanced Scorecard’ Training Course, 11 May, Glasgow; ‘Making Knowledge Work’, international conference on place management, social capital and learning regions, Stirling, 25-28 Oct;



The first formal announcement of a Futurebuilders Investment Fund award is £70k to FEAT Enterprises in Fife.  Well done Pauline Hinchion and her team.  



Last September Kevin McDermott up in Elgin brought Ernesto Sirolli to Scotland – on the back of that, Senscot hosted him in Edinburgh and introduced him around.  We hear that there is considerable interest in Enterprise Facilitation within the Scottish Executive.  Talk of funding 5 pilot projects.   



Last week the Scottish Executive blocked the sale of a site in Dunblane by the Hilton Hotel Group until it is decided whether or not the Holmehill Development Trust is to be allowed a preferential option to buy.



This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social enterprise based in Castlebrae High School in Craigmillar, Edinburgh. Business Community Connections has taken an innovative route to achieving its objective of supporting and promoting the local economy in south east Edinburgh and Midlothian through its ‘Little France Traders’ and ‘every thing’ initiatives. ‘Little France Traders’ is a network of small local businesses and social enterprises (almost 100) whose services are actively promoted by BCC to staff, visitors and patients at the new Royal Infirmary. ‘Every thing’ is their outlet in the main mall at the hospital. Services provided include errand services, dry cleaning, prescriptions and photo developing. Income generated is used to support the objectives of BCC, particularly supporting young people from the local high school. For further info’, see (project profile)



A new book about Scottish psychiatrist RD (Ronnie) Laing and his work.  Laing developed the controversial position, for which he is still best known – that ‘mad’ behaviour is not necessarily caused by a biological or neurological ‘disease’ – but can be a socially intelligible response to intolerable distress in relationships – especially in families.  His work on therapeutic communities directly influenced all our thinking in the 1970s.  Gavin Miller’s new book aims to reclaim Laing, and to place him firmly in a Scottish intellectual context. Laing’s key themes were about the humanisation of personal relationships – about the depth and quality of human experience and awareness.  It is encouraging, in these times of managerial ‘back to basics’ that his ideas still ring some people’s chimes.



From Mathnawi by the Sufi poet/mystic Rumi ‘What is Soul’ ‘Soul is conscious of good and evil – rejoicing over kindness – weeping over injury.  Since consciousness is the innermost nature and essence of the soul – the more aware you are – the more spiritual you are.  Awareness is the effect of the spirit.  Anyone who has this in abundance is a man or woman of God.


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


Best wishes,



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