Senscot Bulletin: 20-03-08

Dear members and friends,

The Hospice movement is one of my very favourite social enterprises. Hugh Grant on the radio this week promoting the Marie Curie Daffodil Appeal – reminds me of a good story. Some time ago when my cousin was a member of North Berwick’s renowned West Links, he was approached by a London contact to arrange a game there for Hugh Grant and 3 friends. Our own foursome followed Grant’s party round the course and we got chatting in the bar. They raved about the course so we repeated this arrangement several times that week. In real life, Grant is amazingly like the character he plays in 3 Weddings and Notting Hill etc; a real charmer, self effacing, without side, generous – and a genuine golf addict.
The clubhouse at North Berwick was `ruled` by a large, formidable woman called Nan, whom I’d never been able to make smile. She clearly had the `hots` for Grant – kept asking to be introduced – but my cousin was adamant, ‘The chap’s on holiday – leave him alone.’ On his last day there were about 40 folk in the bar pretending Hugh Grant wasn’t there. (Scots folk, particularly golfers, are good at respecting privacy.) As we left, my cousin told Grant that Nan was a real fan. He went over – thanked her for looking after him and his pals – then he kissed her full on the lips – an extended smacker. Everyone in the bar spontaneously applauded – what an exit! The donation phone number for the Marie Curie Daffodil Appeal is 0845 601 3107.  
(200 of these intros can be browsed here –
It seems that Glasgow City Council has assembled a package of properties, mainly primary schools, which are surplus to requirements. They are looking for a private sector partner who’ll give them an up-front capital sum (around £100m) and a share of the eventual profits. At one level this proposal can be seen as good business – working public assets. But what about all the communities where these unused primary schools are situated? Have they no say in what happens to local facilities – why should some outside developer determine their future? The citizens of Glasgow are entitled to know which properties are included in this sell-off package. Does any reader know where Senscot can get a list to circulate? The councils of both Glasgow and Edinburgh are a long way from taking seriously the empowerment of local communities.

Our banking system should serve the people – all our people – particularly those who are poor – but greed has displaced social responsibility in much of UK banking. Met recently with my old pal, John Cormack, who is president of Capital Credit Union which appears to be flourishing. Capital now offers a current account, with a visa debit card, full ATM access, standing orders etc – just like a major bank. One important difference – there are no shareholders because it’s a financial co-operative. I’ve opened a new account with a view to phasing out my mainstream bank.

Sweep of the World Wide Web for `community enterprise` found Jerrabomberra (pop. 8000), a suburb of Queanbeyan in New South Wales – Australia. It seems they are establishing their own community-owned bank – to keep any surplus in their community. What if the billions of tax payers` money tied up in Northern Rock was instead underwriting hundreds of community-owned banks/credit unions in the UK– each embedded in the community it serves. I believe that the social enterprise model could bring banking back to serve citizens and communities.
Senscot`s annual appeal for donations realized £4,800 which is £200 short of our target. Sincere thanks – for the tenners as much as the fifties. Would our 120 contributors please confirm you’re on the list. Those of you who opted for membership of Senscot Ltd will be added to the company register which is about to be updated. Any last minute cheques to Senscot at 54, Manor Place, Edinburgh EH3 7EH

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: C-MEE, The Melting Pot Edinburgh, The Ecology Centre, Aberdeen Foyer, Voluntary Action Fund, Project Ability, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Blake Stevenson Ltd
EVENTS: 20 events, Social Enterprise Awareness Sessions, 28 March; Seminar on Intellectual Assets, 31 March; Mental Health Awareness Training,16 May
Interest in S2S is building. With a new venue (Dundee) and format, demand for exhibitor space has already outstripped last year’s. Book now to avoid disappointment. Here’s more,
The Social Enterprise Academy, with the Intellectual Assets Centre, is running a free half-day seminar next week in Edinburgh. Topics covered include how to protect Intellectual property. For more, see
This year’s Scottish Business in the Community’s Social Enterprise of the Year Award is now open for entries. The Award was won last year by Foyer Enterprises in Aberdeen. Closing date for entry is 16th April. For more, see

The Scottish Government is running two events (both free) next week looking at social enterprise activity in the housing sector and potential growth opportunities. See,

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: The SEN Reps meeting took place last week in Glasgow.  12 people representing 10 Networks heard about Senscot’s plans for supporting the Networks over the next 3 years. Our plans include recruiting an additional member of staff and the development of bespoke webpages (Network 1st) on the Senscot website. We hope to have both in place by the end of April. Full report on my return from holiday. See weekly update
Many civic buildings – schools, hospitals etc in the UK are built using the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) model – paid for by private developers and repaid from the public purse. But many citizens object to the public purse paying the inflated costs involved to the private sector. A new model is being explored in Scotland whereby the developer is a social enterprise – a housing association, development trust or the like – with an asset lock. This is being called a Public Community Partnership (PCP) and its main advantage is that all profits are recycled for community benefit

This week’s bulletin looks at one of the Development Trust Association Scotland’s most enterprising members – The Boyndie Trust. Set up in 1999 to serve the Boyndie community and others along the Banffshire coast, the Trust owns and has re-furbished an impressive Victorian school building, from which it runs a visitor centre and four other enterprises –  a café; a woodturning workshop; a textile arts and crafts workshop, and; a plant nursery. These provide work placement training for around 70 unemployed adults with learning disabilities. Through these enterprises, it generates 100% of its £300K annual income through trading. For more, see

The visionary Arthur C. Clark, who died this week, wasn’t only a sci-fi write but a real scientist who pioneered communication satellites. Two quotes:
‘If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that in the long run – and often in the short one – the most daring prophesies seem laughably conservative’
‘This is the first age that ever paid attention to the future which is a little ironic since we may not have one.’

That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures and have a Happy Easter.

Best wishes,

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