Senscot Bulletin: 18-08-2005

Dear members and friends,

I’ve a good friend who is sick with worry about her 16 year old son. It seems he’s part of a wild bunch – booze, sex, drugs – and now the police call at the house. If we are not ourselves to become mentally ill with worry we need to accept that we are powerless to control the behaviour of others. In truth, we can’t prevent those we love from damaging or destroying themselves. Once we accept this there is a release – a letting go. We still try our best – but there is a separation which enables us to survive.
 It’s not as intensely personal, but I’ve been going through a similar process of agitation about the delinquent behaviour of George Bush. I feel outrage at the way he and his gang of bully boys strut the world stage and I feel deeply ashamed of my country’s association with his behaviour. We are being led into darkness and I have a growing foreboding of disaster.
 Talking at the Edinburgh Book Festival this week, the writer Doris Lessing voiced my apprehensions. ‘I’ve got a powerful sense of things ending,’ she said, ‘which may be neurotic or not. This civilisation of ours is a very lightly based one, it’s very precarious. We’re so careless, and stupid – we don’t care what we do to anything – as if we’re imbeciles – in all kinds of ways we’re asking for it. Maybe it doesn’t matter if it ends – we’re not a very attractive species.’ I think that’s too bleak – even for me. Maybe it helps her to separate – to survive.

I’m more than ever convinced of the potential of market based social enterprise to transform society across the world but I don’t think government is a reliable partner. Politicians just want re-elected – civil servants move about – it’s dead slow and stop. We don’t have true champions who would put themselves out, in either branch of the Scottish Executive. In the bigger picture this is no bad thing. If we are a market based business model, we need to just get on with it. Thinking is emerging in the private sector of softer, hybrid forms of capitalism. Opportunities are opening for collaboration. Straight talking with people who will make decisions – take risks. It’s a new culture. Invigorating.

You may not be aware but a Social Enterprise Journal was produced last year and now Volume 2 is available for a free download from Social Enterprise London’s website. I have to admit that it’s too ‘heavy’ for me but it will please those of our readers of an academic tendency.
Much more digestible however is a new Scottish magazine produced by Anne Marie McGeoch, called ‘Good Company’. A quick glance at the contents page shows an attractive offering of Scottish Social Enterprise Leaders. The magazine will be available early in September. Senscot wishes this project the very best of luck.

The Big Dream is a day long ‘mass imagination’ event to develop shared wishes, stories and visions for the future of Glasgow. It will run from 10am to 4pm on 26th August at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. This ambitious event will be facilitated by the UK Thinktank Demos, using the ‘open space’ process. This could be exciting. Learn more

Recent weeks have seen a lot of discussion around the sector’s response to the Executive’s Strategy for Social Enterprise. One of the hot topics is how do we ensure that business development support has quality, consistency and accessibility. We’ve come across a couple examples of initiatives in London. One is an online business consultancy pilot set up by Social Enterprise London, The second, Access to Finance, is led by Business Links in London and can offer social enterprises direct support/assistance in raising finance from accredited providers.

NOTICES: For the full list of jobs and events, see, where you can also use the forms to submit new jobs and events for posting. This week includes:

JOBS: 23 vacancies, incl. posts with: Beulah Scotland, The Fisherrow Trust, Community Central Hall, South Lanarkshire Disability Forum, Recap, Greater Easterhouse Development Company.

EVENTS: Cesel Services, ‘An Audience with Donald Findlay Q.C.’, 3 Sep; PrimeTimers, ‘Compete or cooperate? Enterprise for the Third sector’, 7 Sep; Lapidus (Scotland), ‘Hidden voices’, 10 Sep; SCVO, ‘Keep yourself informed: Upcoming employment legislation’, 11 Sep; SURF, ‘Annual Lecture: Regeneration in a Civil Society’, 21 Sep

Have you seen the new programme of accredited courses from the Centre for Human Ecology. An appetising menu – check it out

This year’s DTA (UK) conference, Enterprising Communities 2006, is shaping up to be the UK’s biggest ever community sector event. Over 600 delegates are expected at the event in Birmingham (17-19 September). Among those addressing the delegates will be Ministers, Ruth Kelly and Ed Miliband. Some bursaries are available. For details on these and the event itself, contact 

Ekos, the economic development and regeneration consultancy service, is currently doing the evaluation of Futurebuilders Scotland. They are keen to hear views from the sector on what has worked well and what has not worked with regard to FBS. To widen out the consultation process, they have set up a survey website where anyone with an interest in, or experience of, Futurebuilders can register their views: Closing date is scheduled for Friday 8th September

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise based in Govan – Spruce Carpet Tiles. A sister organisation to the award-winning Spruce Carpets, it offers a supply and fit service for recycled carpet tiles. There is massive wastage in building refurbishment with carpet tiles being landfilled before the end of their useful life. Spruce Carpet Tiles aims to tackle this problem by refurbishing, supplying and fitting them in vol/community sector organisations, small businesses and schools. They will also be offering training opportunities to local young people, in the hope of moving into self-employment in either contract carpet fitting or cleaning. For further info, see   

If you share my interest in the significance of myths, visit the work of the late Joseph Campbell.
‘Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell and understand our story. We all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death. We need life to signify, to touch the eternal, to understand the mysterious, to find out who we are.
 ‘People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experience on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about, and that’s what these stories help us to find within ourselves.’

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

Best wishes,

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