Senscot Bulletin: 20.01.17

Dear members and friends,
When you’re 76, the crisis in care services for the elderly gets more immediate; it’s frustrating because I’ve argued for years that the growing shortfall in resources is more than matched by untapped levels of goodwill in the population. Social change cannot be engineered – only cultivated; whether it’s moving or latent, the motivation for a new direction needs to be already there – to be read and worked-with. By my reading, the energy to create local networks, to care for the elderly, is inherent in the life and culture of our communities; just waiting to be mobilised.
            During the decade 1980-90, the Italian Govt carefully drafted legislation to create an ideal eco-system for the growth of social care co-operatives (SCCs) (good paper). The core ‘co-op purpose’ was re-orientated – from the mutual benefit of the workers – to local community benefit; membership extended beyond workers to include care recipients – volunteers and families – providers of social finance. Restricted in law to serving only one municipality, SCCs remain beautifully small (average workforce around 30) – benefits of scale are provided by membershipof the regional consortium. Scotland should take a serious look at this Italian model; thousands of small local organisations – owned and energised by the communities they serve – networked regionally and nationally for access to training, tendering, investment etc.
            In Bologna, over 85% of social services are provided through SCCs; it occurs to me that researching this project may require spending some time in Italy’s food capital. There’s no end to the sacrifices some of us are prepared to make for the common good


Each year, Senscot invites financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin. Traditionally, around 100 individuals give an average of £25 to become full company members. Senscot’s board is elected by and is accountable to these members. We also invite donations from individuals (donors) or organisations (associate members) who simply want to support what we do (amounts between £5 and £500). To join ordonate, see members page.


Theresa May could hardly have been clearer about her determination to leave the EU; few would deny that we Scots ‘Remainers’ have a legitimate grievance – yet there’s not much enthusiasm out there for another independence campaign. Naturally cautious, Nicola will play for time – hoping the anger builds – as we watch the future of our country being shaped by the English Tory right. Interesting Guardian piece by David Marquand which argues that ‘Britain’ can’t exit the EU because as a nation state, Britain doesn’t really exist. A few hundred years of history once bound the four nations of the UK – but the EU Referendum ‘like a mortar bomb crashing into a building infested with dry rot – has torn great holes in the structure’. He argues for Scotland’s right to another Independence Referendum.


Since the Occupy Movement, we’ve been aware that the richest 1% control more wealth than the other 99% of us together; this year, Oxfam’s annual snapshot of wealth inequality has an even more shocking headline: the world’s eight richest men have the same wealth as the poorest 50% of the entire world; Oxfam calls this ‘beyond grotesque’. Thomas Piketty’s 2014 bestseller ‘Capital’, set out in detail how our present economic system produces dangerous concentrations of wealth; with the 1% securely in control of all the economic levers (and communication media) there is no reason to think that the direction of travel will change; but surely a tipping point will come – it always does.


Later this month, legislation will change in Scotland; if you can buy or rent a place to plonk it – you will be free to erect a modest hut dwelling exempt from building and planning regulations. The Observer this week carried a useful piece from Tracy McVeigh summarizing the situation; she spoke with Karen Grant from the environmental charity Reforesting Scotland – who is working on the group’s Campaign for a Thousand Huts. Karen said: “The new building and planning regs are likely to exempt huts under 30 sq. metres – low impact materials – off grid. If you want a flushing toilet etc, you’ll still need the right permissions”.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: The Factory Skatepark, With Kids, Port Edgar Watersports CIC, The Pollokshields Trust Stepping Stones for Families, Eco Drama, Bandrum Nursing Home, Wild things!, The New Tannahill Centre Ltd
EVENTS: Pathways to Prosperity: Places, Spaces and Graces, 24 Jan; Retail resilience: Retail Finance, 31 Jan; Leading Growth for Aspiring Leaders, 23 Feb; How to Bid and Win! for the Third Sector, 28 Feb;
TENDERS:  Tender for Climate Challenge Fund Evaluation & Final Report – Auchenback Active, Consultancy Services to Provide a Charette Led Regeneration Framework for Kincardine, Fife – The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Framework Agreement for Provision of Care at Home Services – Perth & Kinross Council and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: Yesterday, 12 members of the Cultural SEN participated in a Community Learning Exchange (CLE) for SEs within the tourism industry. The visit was hosted by the Grassmarket Community Project (GCP) in Edinburgh and participants heard presentations from Jonny Kinross (GCP) and Lynsey McLean (The Experience). On 7th Feb, another CLE takes place in Edinburgh with 12 other Cultural SEN members – visiting Out of the Blue; Tribe Porty; Edinburgh Palette; and Codebase. The CLE Programme, run by Scottish Community Alliance, has seen around 100 SEN members participating in Exchanges in the likes of Elgin, Liverpool, Fife and Oban. Funds are still available for visits taking place up until the end of June 2017 – as long as applications are in by end of March. For info, contact Kim.


After almost six years as our IT Officer, Tariq is sadly moving on to take up a new post with One Parent Families Scotland. We wish him all the best in his new venture. We have taken the decision to amend the post a bit and are now looking to recruit a new Research and Communications Officer. As well as overseeing Senscot’s IT and social media requirements, the post will involve a research element that will contribute to our various bulletins and newsletters as well as supporting our work with both local and thematic SENs. Here is a link to the application pack. Closing date for applications is Friday 10th February.


It was very sad to hear news of the imminent closure of Airdrie Savings Bank – the UK’s last independent, mutual savings bank. Senscot, through our involvement with SCRT, had been closely involved with ASB in recent years. Here’s a statement from SCRT.


Although it is not acknowledged in any manifesto – our SNP administration equates efficiency with the relentless march of centralisation; delighted that our parliament rejected this week (by 64 votes to 63) the plan to remove the autonomy of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Subsidiarity or strong central control are very different approaches to governance; I wish there was more awareness of where the SNP approach is taking Scotland.


Social Enterprise Scotland is hosting its Social Enterprise Exchange this year at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh on Tuesday 21st March. The day will include a market place as well as a series of workshops and is targeted at social enterprises, charities, public and private sector organisations – and will open with some words from our First Minster. Cost for SES members – £75 + VAT; All other SE delegates – £100 + VAT.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise and Glasgow SEN member that is looking to bring ‘ginger’ manufacturing back to the east end of Glasgow. Bottle of Ginger – part of Urban Edge – is a new venture that will designing, growing and manufacturing ‘ginger’ in its Brigtoun manufactory. They will be showing that ‘ginger’ can be made with local produce and without syrups, sweeteners or artificial colouring. In addition, they will be running training programmes – Forage, Farm, Ferment – with a series of events that include discussion, films and workshops. Bottle of Ginger’s first drinks – Ginger Beer and Scots Kola – will be launched next month.


Monday of this week was Martin Luther King Jr day in the USA – rightly honoured for his non-violent approach to civil protest. We all hope that our brothers and sisters in Northern Ireland can heed King’s message of reconciliation.


“I do not want to give the impression that non-violence will work miracles overnight.  People are not easily moved from their mental ruts or purged of their prejudice and irrational feelings.  When the underprivileged demand freedom, the privileged first react with bitterness and resistance.  Even when the demands are couched in non-violent terms, the initial response is the same.  So the non-violent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor.  It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it.  It gives them a new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had.  Finally, it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.”


Here’s an interview this week with Martin Luther King’s daughter, Bernice.


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




Subscribe to this bulletin: