Senscot Bulletin: 19-08-2005


(Going out weekly to over 2700; searchable archive of bulletins here)

Dear members and friends,

In response to these weekly musings I often get e-mails urging me to ‘pull myself together’. There are people who don’t consider it ‘seemly’ to discuss ‘weak’ feelings like sadness and dread – as though to ‘own’ such emotions is to succumb to them. In 1937, Scott Fitzgerald wrote a brilliant uncompromising account of his experience of the deep discouragement we call ‘nervous breakdown’ (still published as ‘The Crack-Up’). His ‘friend’, Ernest Hemingway, openly ridiculed him, ‘Poor Scott has gone soft’. Fitzgerald replied, ‘There are those to whom all self revelation is contemptible, unless it ends with a noble thanks to the gods for the Unconquerable Soul.’ Scott got through his depression. Ernesto didn’t.
 A friend of mine who has cancer, prefers to talk about it – and about how people have reacted. ‘The worst,’ he says ‘ are the ‘positive attitude’ merchants. Sometimes I get the feeling from them that I brought this on myself by thinking the wrong kind of thoughts. It makes me so angry.’
So if, from time to time, I share my discouragement it does not mean I lack resolve. We all get by in different ways. Some folk try to banish the darkness – some say ‘Hello darkness, my old friend’. Most days (touch wood) I get my shop open – manage a smile for the postman. As well as the dread days, there are days of sunlight – even moments of splendour – as though dark begets light. Maggie Keswick Jencks, inspirational founder of the Maggie`s Centres, declared ‘All that matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying.’

‘The funding agreement may be terminated by the Scottish Ministers, giving not less than three months notice in writing.’ ‘All intellectual property rights are hereby assigned to and shall rest in the Crown or its assignees.’ These are two of the new ‘generic’ grant-giving conditions introduced in June by the Voluntary Issues Unit (VIU) of the Scottish Executive. The English Directory of Social Change picked this up and commented as follows: ‘These conditions, and the way they were introduced, seem to be a clear display of the old command and control mentality – directly contrary to the increasingly supportive messages from Whitehall about the importance of fair and effective funding partnerships. This old-style thinking is often seen operating behind the scenes, but seldom in such a spectacular form as this.’
 SCVO have for some time been in discussion with the Executive about their ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unacceptable’ conditions – let’s hope we can get them scrubbed. But the fact is that no English Department of Government could have come out with such a ‘howler’ and this clumsiness tell a story. Be in no doubt – attitudes are different up here. There is less respect for our work.

The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC) has been instrumental in convincing the Scottish Parliament’s Enterprise Committee that their inquiry into business growth in Scotland should include the theme of co-op and social enterprises. The date for the social enterprise session is 4th October and some of you may be asked to give evidence about your work. Earlier this year the coalition submitted written evidence to the inquiry and this paper provides an excellent briefing for any of you getting up to speed on our sector.

Press release from Futurebuilders – with new awardees – taking total past the £5m mark. Glad it’s not me who has to decide who gets it. Some of the rejectees still vent their understandable frustration in e-mails to Senscot. This week we hear from a credit union – not eligible, because they pay dividends to members – and also from a CVS – not eligible because they are intermediaries, not providing services directly to disadvantaged individuals. Their frustration is about ‘jumping through hoops’ before being told they don’t come within the scope of the programme.


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: 50 vacancies, incl. posts with: Energy Action Scotland, Castlemilk Community Forum, BirthLink, Royston Youth Action, The Furniture Recycling Project, Community Enterprise in Strathclyde

EVENTS: Social Enterprise Academy information and ‘taster’ events Dundee 23 Aug; Brag Enterprise’s ‘Community Carnival’, 3 Sep, Fife;  Social enterprise ‘Supercoaching’ workshop’s, Glasgow, 12-16 Sept; ‘New Directions in Social Enterprise’ seminar, Inverness, 29 Sept; ‘Making Knowledge Work’, social capital conf., Stirling, 25-28 Oct; media-co-op, ‘My Wee African Village’, film screening, 27 Aug, Glasgow

SSEC is holding an extraordinary General Meeting on 8th September in Glasgow, contact Emma Hutton at for details.

CAN YOU HELP? 2 request this week: accommodation for tsunami survivors attending Edinburgh Mela; –; Children’s play furniture for Abercorn House –

The Scottish Community Land Network aims to encourage community land initiatives throughout Scotland by the promotion, sharing of experience and networking among active communities. You can join or find out more at They produce a very comprehensive newsletter.

For those who like definitions – the National Audit Office has published a definition of the Third Sector:

‘The Third Sector describes the range of institutions which occupy the space between the State and the private sector. These include small local community and voluntary groups, registered charities both large and small, foundations, trusts and the growing number of social enterprises and co-operatives. Third Sector organisations share common characteristics in the social, environmental or cultural objectives they pursue; their independence from government; and in the reinvestment of surpluses for those same objectives.’

This week’s bulletin profiles an arts-based social enterprise in West Dunbartonshire that is increasingly being commissioned/employed by private, public and community bodies to develop and lead creative programmes of activities. SPARC was set up in response to community demand for accessible opportunities in the arts and culture in the area. It provides inclusive opportunities for participation in a diverse range of high quality multi-arts-based activities. Their range of services include Tasters, Excursions, Workshops, Festivals, Training and as well as longer term projects. Whilst working with a host of local organisations, SPARC’s expertise has also been sought by the local Council and Strathclyde Police as well as developing a partnership with the National Museums of Scotland. For further info’, see our ‘profiles’ section at

Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1981) researched and wrote about our complex heritage of mythology and its implications for modern humanity.
‘ Neither in body nor in the mind do we inhabit the world of those hunting races of the Paleolothic millennia, to whose lives and life ways we nevertheless owe the very forms of our bodies and the structures of our minds. Memories of their animal envoys still must sleep, somehow, within us; for they wake in terror to thunder. And again they wake, with a sense of recognition, when they enter any one of those great painted caves. Whatever the inward darkness may have been to which the shamans of those caves descended in their trances, the same must lie within ourselves, nightly visited in sleep.’   – Joseph Campbell

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

Best wishes,