Senscot Bulletin: 20.03.09

Dear members and friends,
My cousin drops by with some boxes I stored in his garage – long forgotten.  Unpacking them this evening I find my old Frank Sinatra LPs from the 1950s:  Come Fly With Me – Songs for Swinging Lovers – In the Wee Small Hours – others.  Surprising how powerful it is, just holding them – feeling 16 again – lovelorn.  Larkin wrote a poem about such a flashback – about an older woman who comes across some song sheets from her youth – is transported back to: ”The unfailing sense of being young – that certainty of time laid up in store.  But, even more, the glare of that much mentioned brilliance, love – promising to solve, and satisfy, and set unchangeably in order”.
 Now, 50 years later, it didn’t work out the way `ol blue eyes` told it.  No-one came along to solve and satisfy – there was no setting in order.   Some of us just not very good at the love thing – too frightened – so we learn to live in other ways.  In my case, loving my work – a fair approximation of happiness – but a recurring sense of something unrealised.  Rilke said: ”For one human being to love another – that is perhaps the most difficult of all tasks – the ultimate – the last test and proof – the work for which all other work is but preparation”.  Rather than concede that I failed ‘the ultimate test`, I like to think I’m still in preparation.  You never know. Larkin`s `Love songs in age`.

A new book which is of interest to our community – ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.  Senscot’s website has several references to Wilkinson’s 2005 book ‘The Impact of Inequality’ and once again a wealth of data is assembled to show the unarguable connection between inequality and societal dysfunction.  They argue that in societies which are more equal – we can be happy with less – it is relative income and comparative social standing which determine our health and wellbeing.  The heart of their argument seems to be that human beings are social creatures for whom the esteem of others is central to our wellbeing.  Adam Smith called this basic human need ‘the pursuit of regard’.  Here’s Will Hutton’s take on the book.

One of the world’s most inspiring social entrepreneurs is Leila Iskandar who has for 20 years worked among the poor of Cairo who eke out a living recycling household waste.  She says that survival strategies of the poor are often good survival strategies for the earth.  Pauline Hinchion, CEO of Recycling Group CRNS, brought Leila to Scotland for their AGM this month and Senscot ‘borrowed her’ for an evening of inspiration and chat.  Like Muhammad Yunus, she sees profit as the engine to drive Social Progress.

The debate about the social enterprise mark (SEM) is hotting up in England.  With Govt funding, a national roll out looks increasingly likely; broader partnerships are under discussion – the tipping point is close.  Scottish Govt’s reluctance to differentiate between social enterprise and the rest of the Third Sector surely misses the point.  Such differences can only ever be a matter of degree, and don’t need policed.  The need for SEM is so that customers can distinguish between companies which trade for social purpose and those which pretend to. Senscot`s first `discussion forum` on the `Mark` took place this week. See brief report,
Third sector representatives gathered this week to hear whether John Swinney would offer any reassurance in the face of the worsening economic climate. The Minister pointed towards local councils and community planning partnerships and said it was down to them to build more imaginative new relationships with third sector. The Minister needs to refresh his material – but probably has more pressing concerns. Others on the platform spoke of the need to look at mergers and rationalisation across the sector. No mention was made of the impending community empowerment action plan. Clearly not seen as part of the solution. Scots politicians harbour a cynicism towards local democracy which is unique in Europe.

A short thoughtful piece by Geoff Mulgan about the missing infrastructure in our sector to connect up the Bees (innovators) with the Trees (the big institutions with money and power)

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: incl. posts with Edinburgh Cyrenians, Blake Stevenson Ltd, Recap, The Ecology Centre, Triodos Bank NV, North Glasgow Community Food Initiative
EVENTS: Achieving Dreams, Enterprising Women, 31 May; Art Show at Theatre, The Accessible Art Company, 1 Apr; Funding surgeries, CRT, 6 Apr; Community Sector Trading, DTA, 5 May

NETWORKS 1st News: This week saw the second of this year’s Community of Business events take place in Inverness. These events are a great opportunity for social and commercial enterprises to meet and develop relationships at a local level. This has already been evident through a joint venture between Haven products and Lip-Ink UK. The 3rd and final event this year will be held on Wednesday 25th March at the Glynhill Hotel in Paisley. See more Networks News,

Scotland’s major social enterprise Trade Fair, S2S, is filling up but some stands are still available. See details  Last week, the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC) also launched their latest document `Trading for Transformation` at a reception for MPs at Westminster. See more,

The Social Innovation Camp offers social innovators the chance to come together with software developers to explore web based solutions to social problems. They’re running a two day event in Glasgow in June and, this week, launched their new Scottish website. See more

While mainstream banks are pulling back on their lending, Triodos Bank is reporting an increase of 31% in its Scottish `loan book`. Triodos are also looking to expand their Scottish team. See more

Highlands and Islands Local Food Network (HILFN) has had its funding suspended by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as it looks to `increase emphasis on working with local businesses who wish to trade beyond local markets`. This seems a strange decision in view Scottish Govt`s policy of supporting and promoting local food at a local level. See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles the winner of this year’s Fife `Established Enterprise` of the year award at the Fife Social Enterprise Trade Fair and Business Awards in Kirkcaldy on Wednesday. In three years, Kingdom Credit Union has gone from being Fife’s newest credit union to being its biggest with over 900 members.
For more, see

See updated profile for Bookdonors


When we set up Senscot 10 years ago we took as our model the open source IT community – and our commitment to an open, sharing community of innovation is stronger that ever.  The spirit of this is captured beautifully by this copyright notice, posted by Woody Guthrie: ”This song is copyrighted in the US, under seal of copyright 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anyone caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern.  Publish it.  Write it.  Sing it.  Swing it.  Yodel it.  We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

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

Best wishes,

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