Senscot Bulletin 19-12-2003




Dear members and friends,


There are 54 names on my Xmas card list.  This year four flitted – three separated –
two died and four new ones.  Over the
years the number stays around 50. 
Wonder why?  Does this in some
way measure us?  “He’s a 50 card guy”.

invite to Charley’s staff party – always does it well.  “He’s been off sick all week” – Vanessa his
PA is worried.  Talk with three young
suits – their eyes searching for someone better to talk to.  No one is listening to my story so I stop in
the middle – no one notices.  What am I
doing here?  A woman is trying to catch
my eye – as if she knows me – she comes over – arty, gushing.  “It is you isn’t it?”  I assume she’s a bulletin reader – try to
look modest.  “I’m Laurence Demarco”
offer my hand.  She shakes hands but
something’s wrong.  “Oh you’re not Tom
Redford”  “No, sorry”.  Off she goes.  Who the hell’s Tom Redford?

Charley and call round – he’s wearing dressing gown.  His face has sagged – lost authority, almost scared.  I’m hardly in the chair he asks, “Do you
believe in God, Laurence?”  “God,
Charley – you’re not that bad” I laugh. 
But he waits for an answer. 
Collect my thoughts.  “Sometimes
I believe”.  He waits, “to believe in
God is not a decision we can make”.  All
we can do is decide not to give our love to false Gods”.  He thinks about this.  “Do you give your love to false Gods?”  “Of course” I reply.  “What are they?”  “Ha – that’s between me and the Gods”.



It’s not been a good year for our work.  Mostly it has felt like everything is on
hold – waiting for ‘them in charge’ to make decisions.  Communities Scotland has been a huge
disappointment – we can only hope that honest lessons have been learned.  The Executive also has struggled to produce
decisions – up and down the country projects are parked in sidings.  Some have been abandoned.  But there are optimistic signs.  The Executive has created a new Social
Economy Development Team.  Here is their
statement about it.  (  And have you noticed the change in the Minister
Margaret Curran – seems more confident, composed – in control – less strident
and defensive.  Mary Mulligan also –
more authority.  If that lot can just
get the decisions moving 2004 could be a good year for social entrepreneurs.



Senscot has been approached to organise two events next
year.  One is a debate about how the
voluntary sector in Scotland should be organised.  Would it be better ‘Balkanised’ into different sectors –
Community Sector – Social Enterprise etc? 
Is the SCVO ‘monopoly’ approach the best?  Is there a possible middle road? 
An open, honest public debate is needed.

            The second
event would be a gathering of organisations in Scotland working to advance the
‘social agenda’ – a world that puts people before money.  The gathering would explore how these
organisations might work together to oppose the abuses of the market by big
international companies.  (



Should support for community based social enterprises in
Scotland be provided by the mainstream Business Gateway or by social economy
specialists?  Barbra Wallace, whose company
Stepney Works is currently nurturing six new social enterprises in a London
housing estate has strong views:

 “I am disappointed that in London we appear to be primarily opting
for the traditional business support route, via mainstream providers.  For those of us working in community based
settings, as in many other parts of the third sector, this is not necessarily
the best or most appropriate way forward and is a lost opportunity to develop
flexible and creative support structures. 
I can only hope that Scotland takes a more innovative (dare I even
suggest radical) approach on how to provide support for social enterprise”.

Barbra says that she is
increasingly meeting people trying to escape from the mainstream business world
because they don’t like the ethics, “We should not assume that business ways
are best for us”.  (



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: 29 vacancies, including posts at Edinburgh Cyrenians,
Capital City Partnership, Turning Point Scotland, The Edinburgh Home Link
Partnership, North Glasgow Arts Regeneration Network.


EVENTS: “Deepening Democracy” free workshop, Edinburgh,
18-20 Feb 2004; CBS Network’s Gathering, Edinburgh, 15/16 Jan 2004; CHE
Lectures: Business & Sustainability; Corporate Accountability and
Environmental Justice, Edinburgh, Jan-Feb 2004, GCVS training courses; Festival
Of Middle Eastern Spirituality And Peace, Edinburgh, 27 Feb – 7 March 2004,
Glasgow, March-May.


School for Social Entrepreneurs (Fife) is recruiting for its
2004 course, to start in April.


For details on these and more:



“I believe that social entrepreneurship will be the driving
force in the world over the next 100 years – the single biggest movement that’s
going to change the way we live”.  This
statement, made by billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, seems way OTT but he
backed it with a donation of £4.2 million to Oxford University’s Saïd Business
School.  The money will be used to
develop a ‘global centre for social entrepreneurship’.  All sounds a bit grandiose.



At the recent AGM of Business in the Community – David
Varney (Chair of the major mobile communications company MMO2) said,
“The erosion of trust in the corporate sector has potentially catastrophic
consequences for society.  The success
of our economic system has always depended on the mutual goodwill between
business and society.  The glue that
bound us together was trust”.  The AGM
launched the publication of a new report, ‘The Business Case for Corporate
Responsibility’.  (



The consortium that will distribute the £125m futurebuilders
fund for England was announced yesterday. It will be led by Charity Bank, NCVO
and Unity Trust Bank, along with the Impetus Trust, the Community Fund and the
Northern Rock Foundation. Wonder who’s in line for the Scottish equivalent.


The last bulletin of this year is a bit different in
that, instead of looking at a particular social enterprise, we are profiling a
new Partnership in Fife designed to increase the number of social enterprises
operating in the area. The Social Enterprise Development Partnership (SEDP) is
geared towards the development of social enterprises/social firms as a viable
sector within the Fife economy. It is comprised of Feat Enterprises (lead
agency), CVS Fife, BRAG Enterprises’s School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social
Firms Scotland and Fife Council. SEDP will play a significant role in providing
start up and business support to up to 15 new and developing social
enterprises/social firms in Fife. For further info,



In my journal dated December 17th 1982 I found
this passage from ‘Soliloquies of a Hermit’ by Theodore Frances Powys.  “In the old days I thought something
wonderful would happen to me – now I believe that the most wonderful thing is
that nothing wonderful happens.  We are
just as we are – nothing else – are we not wonderful enough?  By only hearing the wind howl in the
chimney, I am filled with all the harmony of music.  By eating bread I am fed with the whole goodness and fullness of
the earth.  And when the silent mood
comes, the calmness of immense seas and eternal spaces fills me…. I know now
that the things of greatest value can be had for the asking – that the centre
of life is always near – it is only the outer parts that are far off – hard to


Next bulletin Friday 9th January


Peace and Joy to all of us. 
Good luck with your adventures family.

Best wishes,



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