Senscot Bulletin 20-02-2004




Dear members and friends,


Roughly twice a year I get a ‘classic’ migraine.  10% of folk get them – nothing we can
do.  Spent Saturday in bed – in the dark
– in the depths.  Usually recover next
day but this time I’m stuck in a melancholy. 
Can’t shift it.  Dirty clothes
underfoot – kitchen a midden – mail unopened – phone calls unanswered.  In a few days this will lift – normal life,
complete with soapsuds will return.  Had
some unusual ‘aural’ events.  Sunday
night, woken by a ‘boing!’ from inside my head.  Monday thought I saw a snake in Gregg the baker’s window.

walk Inverleith Park in crisp sunshine. 
My favourite bench overlooks boating pond – sun in your face – views
over Edinburgh to castle.  Joggers –
cyclists – children – swans.  All
sparkling in the sunlight.  Wee ‘stick
woman’ hobbles up – no more than six stone – sits gingerly.  Bird like face – well over 80 – wobbly.  Hope that she doesn’t keel over here – think
of moving in case – then I’m ashamed. 
We smile, “What a beautiful day” – we talk – we like each other, “I’ve
strayed further than I intended” she’s a bit anxious.  I doff my felt hat, “It would be an honour, ma’m to escort
you”.  She takes my arm – in our own
time, we stroll, chatting, through the park to her home.  At her gate she says, “When I saw you, you
looked so sad.  Be kind to
yourself.”  Back home – switch on the
hot water – to make soapsuds.  Something
has shifted.



The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is working with
the English Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to establish baseline data on
social enterprises across the UK.  The
devolved administrations, including Scotland, have been roped in.  To count, a social enterprise needs to (a)
be registered (eg as a Limited Co.) (b) trade 50% of its income (c) have social
objectives.  Such a definition includes
housing associations, credit unions and the like – but even counting them,
Senscot would be surprised if there are 500 such enterprises in Scotland.  Can’t see the point in such an exclusive
definition.  Senscot numbers social
enterprises in Scotland loosely at around 3000 and growing.  The Scottish Executive stays with the
generic inclusivity of the ‘social economy’ possibly 50,000 organisations.  In England social enterprise defines itself
by embracing mainstream business as its natural milieu.  This doesn’t feel right to me.  I don’t think the DTI understands or cares
what we do.




Do the Local Enterprise Companies (LECs) treat social
enterprises on a par with private sector businesses?  This was the question asked last week with regard to investment
finance for a new community enterprise on the island of Lismore.  We’re still investigating this issue with a
view to posting something on our website. 
Does anyone (perhaps working for a LEC) have an overview of policy that
we can circulate? The standard line on this is



You may be aware that the Scottish Entrepreneur Tom Hunter
endowed the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of
Strathclyde.  Under the direction of Dr
Jonathan Levie the centre conducted research last year into Social
Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprises in Scotland.  We haven’t seen this work yet but Ken Symon did a piece in last
Sunday’s Herald which trails some interesting findings.  “Social Enterprises play a major economic and
social role in our society.  The
question, however, is how do you create a sustainable model whereby they don’t
spend more time fundraising that they do delivering?”  Familiar?  (



Asking for subscriptions is discouraging.  Folk know now.  We’ll run it two more weeks. This week 8 people have donated
£285.00.  Thank
you.  If you need an invoice contact (



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: 42 vacancies including Stewartry Council of Voluntary
Service, Dundee Voluntary Action, RCVS, Streetwork, Gorebridge Health and
Regeneration Project, The Everyone Campaign.


EVENTS: Training for Transformation workshops, Fife,
Feb-March; BabyG.R.O.E. – Babies & Children:

Their Health & the Environment, Edinburgh, 26 Feb;
‘Testing your idea: developing a social enterprise in the catering field’,
Edinburgh, 26 Feb; Galgael Event, Celtic Fringe Festival, Govan, 26 Feb;
‘Social Economy – Why Do We Need It?’ seminar/surgery, Edinburgh, 26 Feb; SURF
seminar on Leadership and Regeneration, Edinburgh, Feb 26; Changin Scotland
event No. 4, Ullapool, March 12-14 .


Grants of up to £15,000 available, funds need to be spent
and activities completed by Sept 2004. 
Contact SCVO Katie Drake – 0141 225 8010, or if in Glasgow, Simon Berry
(GCVS), 0141 332 2444; Grampian, Anne Sobey (ACVO) 01224 212021; South of
Scotland, Heather Batsch (RAVS) 01835 863554.


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:



Twice in a row Scots have scooped the Social Enterprise of
the Year prize at the prestigious UpStarts awards: Mcsence won in 2003, and
last week, the Kibble Centre, Paisley (featured in a Project profile here last
December) followed them. Many congratulations. (



This week we profile Footprint Education, a company with
offices in Grantown-on-Spey and in Sydney, Australia, set up to show it is
possible to reconcile the social and the ecological with a need to provide and
income and profitability. Utilising the capacity of wild places to help
transform people’s lives, work includes: courses to train outdoor leaders in
applied eco-education and ecotherapy; consultancy services to organisations and
businesses wanting ecological sustainability and social responsibility; and the
Highland Ecotherapy programme. All profits are covenanted to a parallel
charitable trust for development of social and ecological initiatives. See
project Profiles:


There’s so much talk and seminars and reports. Chinese
proverb: Talk doesn’t boil rice. Nothing energises us as much as people who are
actually getting on with it.  Here are
eight smashing wee stories about social entrepreneurs who are ‘doing the
business’.  Six women and two guys
devoting themselves to ‘being’ the changes they want to see in the world.  (



Scotland UnLTD provides financial and development support to
social entrepreneurs to help them launch their ideas.  Last year they invested £400,000 in the work of 100 people.  Their Chairman Denis Mooney is moving so
they are seeking to recruit.  (

Reminder: Senscot is also recruiting a new Chair. (



In his piece in Wednesday’s Herald , Ian McWhirter says,
“The Conservatives have an impossible task trying to win the 2005 general
election – But make no mistake – Labour could chose to lose it.”  He asks whether we are seeing a government,
which is running out of steam – losing the will to win. Writer and activist
George Monbiot says in his book, ‘The Age of Consent’, “What sustains coercive
power is not force of arms, or even capital, but belief.  When people cease to believe – an empire can
collapse, almost overnight. One of the surprises of history is the tendency of
some of the most inflexible rulers suddenly to give up, for no evident material
reason.  They give up because they are
tired, so tired that they can no longer sustain the burning purpose to sustain
power.” We have posted an edited extract from Monbiot’s book taken from
Resurgence magazine. (


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

Best wishes,



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