Senscot Bulletin 19-09-2003



Dear members and friends,


Wake on Saturday 3am – in trouble.  Shaking uncontrollably – pyjamas wet with fever – just make it to
the loo – sick as a parrot. Oh God, don’t mind dying, but can’t stand much of
this.  Imagination runs wild, “This is
the big one – I’ve caught some hospital superbug – get the doctor!”  It’s humbling how fragile is our hold on
‘coping’.  Turns out I’ve got some virus
– nothing to do with the operation. 
Still not good.  Been home now
two weeks – seem to be going backwards. 
Weak as a kitten – can hardly walk around the block.  Can’t read two paragraphs – lose
concentration.  No appetite for food –
or people – or anything.  Although it’s
discouraging, I’m learning new important truths.  Groping across the zebra crossing at Safeway brings a new
compassion for old shuffling people. 
Sitting on a wall, wondering if I can make it home is a new encounter
with helplessness.  And there is also
the beginning of a new patience – with people – with events -with myself.  I’m slowing down.  Phoned to tell this guy I can’t meet him on Monday – By his
attitude he thinks, ‘I should get a grip’. 
But it will be a while.



The next big thing. 
With a budget of £125 million over the next three years, Futurebuilders
is described as “an investment fund for voluntary sector service delivery”.
Whilst the consultation has all been south of the border – ‘word on the street’
is that exploratory work is underway at the Scottish Executive to create a
Scottish version.  So it’s on the
way.  (  Like most of the new funding initiatives
‘Futurebuilders’ is driven by the Government`s broad aim of encouraging the
voluntary sector further into the delivery of public services.  This agenda is quite open and we can hardly
complain that they want to fuel a massive expansion of the social economy – but
there are dangers.  As the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation said in their evidence, “ many smaller community based
groups will never be involved in mainstream public service delivery, because it
is impractical or inappropriate.  The
health of the sector as a whole depends on the continuing existence of these



This week, Aidan attended the DTA Conference in Plymouth as
part of the DTA Scotland delegation and write: “ Over 400 people attended for
two days celebrating DTA’s 10th anniversary.  Since its inception in 1992, the DTA
movement has seen its membership rise to approximately 250 throughout England
and Wales, with a joint turnover of approx. £100m.  This was a hugely impressive show from diverse communities
committed to taking greater control of their economic and social well being.  The level of camaraderie and common purpose
is something that DTA Scotland will be seeking to replicate up here over the
coming years.  A key theme of the
conference was that a Development Trust should be the normal expectation of
every community – just as it is to have a G.P., Dentist ,Post Office or a
Bank.” Copies of the presentations and workshops notes will be posted on the
DTA website- from the end of next week.



We wrote a piece recently around George Monbiot’s sell out
talks at the Edinburgh Book Festival, suggesting that citizens were concerned
as ever about social and economic change but were fed up with the political
parties and were looking for new ways of involvement.  There are signs of similar trends worldwide and I hear people
discussing how, firstly, in Scotland, these unconnected pockets of energy can
be helped to converge – become more effective. 
Got an e-mail last week from Bob Thomson (Former Treasurer of the
Scottish Labour Party) who’s now retired and helps with the Scottish Left
Review.  His attached e-mail describes
their ‘Ideas Project’ which is just such an attempt to weave disparate threads
– you may wish to participate.  (



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


JOBS: 57 vacancies, including posts at The Graphics Co, WWF,
Volunteer Centre Edinburgh, Venture Scotland, YMCA Paisley, Partners in Play,
Equality Choice Action Support, Community Development Foundation, The Ark
Trust, Work Track.


EVENTS: SEAD Sept 24th; FoES Environmental
Justice & Ecological Debt Sept 27; “Inspire” Seminar, ‘Charity VAT’ Oct 2nd;
Falkirk College Enterprise Day Oct 8th; Leadership Calling Workshop
Oct 19th-25th; Social Enterprise Procurement Conference
Oct 29th; EDAS conference Oct 31st; Engender Training
Sept & Oct; SEDI Training Days Sept-Nov; CVS Fife 20th November.


CAN YOU HELP: Ian Hunter is working with a variety of
voluntary groups in Airdrie considering coming together under one roof.  Ian asks: does anyone knows of any similar
models elsewhere? 


PUBLICATIONS: Futurebuilders consultation:;

Britain’s Poorest Children:


For details on these and more:



This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise
located in Rosyth in Fife.  Faith, Hope
and Charity is one of the first projects in the country to be set up as a
direct result of a Level 1 Award from Scotland unLTD.  Jackie Smith has set up Faith, Hope and Charity with the aim of
providing a range of services all designed to improve the quality of life for
people living in Camdean estate in Rosyth. 
Local residents can access information on local services, surf the net,
purchase low cost furniture, books or clothing as well as just dropping in for
a coffee and a chat.  For further
information, see (Project
Profiles) (Project Profiles).



Last week in Glasgow, BRAG Enterprises and The School for
Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) hosted an event to promote social entrepreneurship
in Scotland and also celebrate the achievements of the Fellows from last year`s
Programmes.  Ron Cully and Wendy
Alexander, their guest speakers, were well received. Wendy gave an interesting
historical perspective of social enterprise comparing it with the early
co-operative movement in the 19th century.  Whereas Tory governments of the past wanted citizens to be
self-sufficient and Labour Governments wanted to the state to deliver
prosperity, the message of New Labour, she said, is that government and the
people need to do things together. 
Wendy told the SSE Fellows, “You are the pioneers.”




“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your
calculations, if you live near him.” – J.R.R. Tolkien



My favourite book is the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu which is
the principal classic of Taoist thought. The problem with telling people this
is that they think you’re either a poseur or a nutter!  The Taoist concept of Wu Wei (not doing) is
at once attractive and difficult to grasp because it contradicts the western
understanding of causality – of how things happen.  We all assume that to get something done we must work at it.  The more effort we put in – the quicker it
will happen.  The concept of Wu Wei
teaches the opposite – we should do less – that with the right kind of ‘detached
awareness’ of what’s going on around us – we can get things done by doing
nothing.  “In pursuit of the way one
does less every day.  One does less and
less until one does nothing at all and when one does nothing at all there is
nothing that is undone.”  (Lao Tsu)


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

Best wishes,



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