Dear members and friends,
Part of being elderly is continuously adapting to our diminishing powers. My optician warns that I won’t be driving for much longer; without wheels, I’ll need a new place to live; it’s also time to retire from Senscot; will I be able to ‘handle’ these changes. I find the Chinese concept of Chi (life force) helpful; young people have a ‘forcefield’ around them. Old age is about how well we adjust as our ‘aura’ recedes; what the reduction of our physical, mental and spiritual energy does to our confidence.
There’s nothing in my future that I particularly look forward to; little in my past that I enjoy remembering; but for me, the present usually feels like ‘enough’ – which makes me very fortunate. ‘Particulars’ that give me pleasure include: walking in nature – woodland or a quiet shoreline (legs getting weaker though); tending a garden (a smaller one though); books are important (eyes weakening); I still enjoy writing, but like my Wi-Fi signal, output is variable; I feel particularly ‘blessed’ when in conversation with a three-year-old person (photo).
The ideal choice of my final dwelling would be small and modest – easily heated; away from the agitation of city life – overlooking meadows or water; near a small Scottish town where everyone says ‘hello’. Twice weekly I’ll be spotted, shuffling down Main Street – shopping at the Co-op – lunching in my favourite café. And should the waitress happen to be sad, I’ll have the ‘headspace’ to listen patiently; a friendly old guy on the edge of things. Less and less becomes ‘enough’.
On Wednesday, in an important speech, the shadow Chancellor John McDonnell set out Labour’s three main strategies for ending adversity in the UK. Unlike New Labour (modified Thatcherism), the Labour manifesto now describes a serious attempt to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality; there is now a clear choice.
The number of Scots who died in road accidents last year was 160; the number who died from the misuse of drugs was 1187 – the highest level in Europe. There’s no surprise in these findings – we have this ‘tut-tut’ every year – then another discussion about what to do. The success of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit is internationally acclaimed; it’s non-judgemental, ‘public health’ approach could not be clearer, and yet our politicians dither. Better than GDP, levels of ‘wellbeing’ indicate a country’s success – along with its opposite – ‘ill-being’. These deaths speak to the levels of silent misery and wretchedness in our country. This short Harry Burns article ‘nails it’ – calls our drugs, alcohol and suicide mortalities – ‘deaths of despair’.
As batteries improve, the cost of solar/wind energy will move towards zero – who will then own ‘the means of production’ – consumers or capitalists. Will the internet follow a Wikipedia model – become a universal ‘commons’ – or a predatory, ‘surveillance capitalism’ model? “In a world where technology creates few jobs and enormous wealth, the challenge is a distributional one”. This quote is from a new book: The Technology Trap, by Carl Frey – (synopsis). Articles about “the future of work” are almost routine now: Forbes magazine identifies five ways in which “the workforce is changing massively”.
Fish and crustaceans from Scottish waters match any in the world; the uniqueness of Scotch whisky is also a huge economic asset. The ‘insulting’ pay offer made to its workers by Diageo this week – reminds us that we’ll only get full benefit from whisky production when we take back ownership of a national asset.
The first of these quotes is from the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran (1911 – 1995). The second is from Hollywood’s Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) – I believe they cover the same subject.
“Peoples without a destiny, cannot give one to their children, who attach themselves to other horizons… Having nothing to love at home, they locate their love elsewhere, in other lands where their fervour astonishes the natives.” Emil Cioran.
“I knew I belonged to the public and the world – not because I was talented or even beautiful – but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.” Marilyn Monroe.
There is an increased awareness among policymakers and the public health community of the important relationship between culture and health – this is highlighted in the (draft) Culture Strategy for Scotland. The Cultural and Health SENs have been linking up over the summer to explore activity and opportunities. Starting with an informative trip to Birks Cinema in June – more activity is planned over the coming months, including: two further Community Learning Exchanges (Project Ability and Reachout With Arts in Mind); a joint thematic SEN meeting; a joint meeting of the Health and Culture Roundtables; and a Briefing Paper to be published in October. There will also be involvement in the next CPG on Culture – Collaborative Culture: Meeting the Challenges of Person-Centred Healthcare. If you’re interested in getting involved with his work get in touch with Mary or Sarah.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
Last week we published a handy, three-page guide to Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. The guide will help you understand the benefits of engaging with VisitScotland’s ‘Themed Years’. It also provides direct links to marketing tools and the #YCW2020 Partner Programme – where you can get access to VisitScotland’s 20 million annual website visitors by listing your event on its website.
The ‘Preston Model’ is now a well-known approach to community wealth building, one which brings local authorities together with anchor institutions and other partners to ensure local economic growth benefits the entire community. Initially developed by Preston City Council, the project is now eight years old – and can point to some significant achievements and progress made in this timescale. Last week saw the publication of a report by the Preston City Council and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) which reflects on eight years of collaboration and outlines some of the approach’s main achievements. Read the report here.
The 2019 John Pearce Memorial Lecture will take place on 3 September at Glasgow Caledonian University. The title for this year’s lecture is: “Building an ecosystem for the creation and development of community-owned enterprises – The Quebec Experience”. Attendees will hear from Béatrice Alain, Executive Director of the Chantier de l’économie sociale, and be able to check out the ‘A History of Social Enterprise in Scotland’ exhibition. You can register for free here.
We still have a limited number of bursary places available for this CEIS’ Social Enterprise Policy & Practice Conference. These places are for frontline social enterprises and will be issues on a first come, first served basis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Technologically minded SEN members should be aware that the CivTech 4.0 challenges have been announced and applications can now be submitted to provide tech solutions to public service delivery issues. There are five public sector challenges to solve so far, with a further five to be announced towards the end of the month. Two, in particular, may be of interest to SEN members: How can technology help us inform and inspire primary school pupils to think differently about their future careers; and How can we help people with long-term illnesses access technologies that can enhance their care? Find out more and apply for the CivTech 4.0 programme.
This week’s bulletin profiles the work of an Aberdeen SEN member that provides a unique literary and arts journal for the North-East of Scotland. Pushing Out the Boat (POTB) publishes high-quality prose, poetry and art selected from a unique blend of the global and the local. Part of their ethos is to maintain a strong commitment to first time writers and artists; and to outreach, by supplying copies to worthy causes, local libraries and schools – the latter specially to encourage young contributors. POTB aspires to offer readers the very best regional literary magazine in Scotland – and to become a fixture in North-East Scotland’s literary firmament.