Senscot Bulletin: 19.10.12

Dear members and friends,

 I happened upon this quote from a letter by American writer Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) "I’m trying again.  A man has to begin over and over – to try to think and feel only in a very limited field – the house in the street – the man in the corner of the café."  His words remind me of what – 100 years later – we refer to as ‘mindfulness’ – the ability to still our mind, in awareness of the present moment.  Small children do this naturally of course – which is why the company of wee people is special.  I sometimes wonder if the reason time speeds up as we age – is because after childhood we start ‘reading’ the world, rather than ‘seeing’ it.
 On Wednesday, I’m minding my friend’s granddaughter for a while – the sun comes out – so Jane (aged 4) and I go for a wee walk.  There’s a field near my cottage with a big puddle – which in wet weather becomes a small pond; today – to our delight it hosts a pair of visiting swans – pausing their journey – perhaps all the way from the Siberian tundra.  As we approach, I explain to the wee one how swans stay married for life – that if one dies, the partner is very sad – just like us.  "Because they love each other?" she asks.  I nearly say that only humans are capable of love – but how do we know this – so I just say yes.  We stand there for a while – in sunlight – holding hands – just looking at them – the lovebirds – feeling good.

In 100 weeks – I’ll vote YES – that Scotland should be an independent country; I’m not much interested in the bitter economic polemic which will now ensue – for me, this decision is more fundamental than money.  I might have been persuaded that some version of Federalism could meet our needs – but this option is not on offer – so I’ll just vote yes.  The principle of ‘subsidiarity’ holds – that power and responsibility should be exercised at the lowest practicable level in the political hierarchy.  I’ve lived most of my life with the conviction that this is ‘a fundamental and immutable principle of social philosophy’; that’s not going to change now.  This recent article by George McDonald Ross interrogates the word subsidiarity.  See

We are told that cuts in public spending – particularly welfare benefits – are only beginning to take effect – yet Senscot’s connections, at the front line, report an increase in food and fuel poverty. See  It would be prudent to assume that, in the short to medium term, this problem will get worse; and in response we are seeing an increase in community activity looking to collect and distribute food.  The challenge for the third sector (always first to respond) is to get help to people in need – without undermining innate self-respect and resilience.  Aberdeen based CFINE are co-hosting a UK wide conference for the Community Food Sector.  See more

Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) may be useful mechanisms for planning and coordinating public services – but they have nothing to do with community empowerment; if anything they confirm how remote local people are from decision making.  Why don’t we call them what they are: Public Sector Planning Partnerships – then communities can focus on the effectiveness of their own mechanisms.  The Scottish Development Trusts (DTAS) said as much in their impressive evidence to the empowerment bill consultation.  See

Addressing their recent annual conference – Vince Cable told the assembled CDFIs – "No-one knows who you are – you need to get out there and tell people."  Well – CDFI means Community Development Finance Institutions – and for over 10 years they have pioneered the delivery of fair and affordable finance at the lower end of the spectrum – including social ventures – whose needs are too small or risky for banks to touch.  This service needs to grow – to meet an acute shortage of risk capital for amounts under £30k.  A piece from Ben Hughes – CEO of the CDF Association, see

The UKs Trade Union Bank – Unity Trust – opened its doors for business on May Day 1984; it took only 4 years to achieve full banking status – with an impressive 58 Trades Unions as shareholders (read a short history), see In collaboration with Social Misfits Media – Unity Trust Bank have produced an excellent introduction to social media – for SEs and charities thinking of taking the plunge; free to download, see

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Glasgow Social Enterprise Network, Timespan, Edinburgh University Students Association, Ochil Leisure Enterprises, Stanley Development Trust, Wasps Artists’ Studios, The Village Storytelling Centre
EVENTS: Space for Song: Peace Women, 20 Oct; Out of the Blue Arts Market, 20 Oct; Developing Places and Spaces, 24 Oct; Advancing your Social Enterprise, 30 Oct; How to build a breakthrough brand, 30 Oct
TENDERS: Garden Assistance Scheme in North Lanarkshire, Catering Services in Aberdeen, Glasgow Addiction Services Employability Project and Landscape and Winter Maintenance in Edinburgh.  For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: The 2nd National Cultural SEN Conference is on 31st Oct at the Birnam Institute, by Dunkeld. The event will see the launch of the Social Enterprise and Culture Roundtable’s ‘Position Paper’ – along similar lines to the ‘Papers’ produced by the Health and Sport Roundtables. The day will include a panel discussion covering topics such as: promoting the role of arts in the public sector; how can we help cultural orgs realise they are part of the SE community; what support is available; and procurement- opportunities for smaller orgs. Panellists will include Heather Stuart (VOCAL), Rachel Brown (Impact Arts) and Tony Butler (Museum of East Anglian Life). Places are still available. To book, see The event is free. To download full programme, see  For more Networks News, see

‘JUST the Business’ has produced a new ‘Guide to Social Enterprise Planning’. The Guide has been tailored to suit the business planning needs of social enterprises and links the process involved in planning with the structure of a social enterprise plan. The Guide costs £15.00 – with proceeds being donated to the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland) fund. The Fund was established with archive donations from the late John Pearce and is currently housed at the Glasgow Caledonian University library. If you’d like to purchase The Guide, see

Firstport is running a programme in Glasgow and the west of Scotland that is designed to give social enterprises access to a small team of interns. To do so, you must be able to: a) accommodate a team of 3 within your enterprise for a one week period (probably November) and b) provide a brief on the opportunity to be investigated or problem to be addressed. If you’re interested, contact

On 15th/16th November, the 8th SE Conference and Ceilidh will be taking place at its usual venue in New Lanark. To book your place, see The programme is just about finalised – just a couple of details to add. See, Also, as a reminder, the closing date for Dragons’ Den entries – with a prize of £5k – is Friday, 26th October. If you fancy a ‘run in’ with the Dragons, see .

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that has been set up to run projects that contribute to creating sustainable local food economies. Locavore – ‘eater of local food’ – is based in the Shawlands area of Glasgow. Their shop on Skirving Street sells locally produced food and invests all profits back into local projects such as ‘fork to fork’ and ‘the Locavore Green Team’. Locavore is also keen to work with other groups and organisations on projects that can take forward shared objectives. Co-ordinator, Reuben Chesters, was the recent recipient of a Firstport Level 2 award. See,

A quote from the 2003 film ‘Love Actually’.
 "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think of the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. And if you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that love actually is all around".
That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210