Senscot Bulletin: 20.06.14

Dear members and friends,

          I’m eleven years old – summer scout camp near Selkirk; a scary older boy – controlling – is sharing a cigarette among three of us. I take a puff – you never inhaled, he says accusingly – did so – let’s see you then; three hostile faces – I’m trapped. My first ever experience of inhaling cigarette smoke is a searing pain – like being punched in the chest; I recoil – the boys laugh – but I feel triumph – I’m a smoker. By my 15th birthday I’m addicted – I’ve left school – my dad gives me a cigarette lighter – a badge of manhood; for the next 25 years I’m never without cigarettes.
        In the linked article – the medical director of the British American Tobacco Company says that: “smoking involves inhaling around 100 toxic chemicals into your lungs – which cause real and serious diseases, like lung cancer”. The annual death toll from smoking is reckoned at 5 million globally – the most deadly consumer product on the planet. Last year the combined profits of the world’s leading tobacco companies was in excess of £30billion; a dripping roast for the elite of marketing and litigation mercenaries.
        In the UK alone – 200,000 youngsters between 11 and 15 started smoking last year – many of their stories as aimless as mine. The stats of the tobacco companies themselves – concede that around half of serious smokers can expect to die prematurely from their addiction. The tobacco industry offers a revealing case study of how – in our contemporary world – corporate power has the financial muscle to move beyond the reach of democratic governments. Scary. See,

We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See,

I’m a keen fan of Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglia) – the supreme pontiff who drives a 1984 Renault – and lives in room 201 of a Vatican guest house. There’s an amusing article in the Financial Times about Bergoglio as a football fan – a lifelong supporter of his hometown club San Lorenzo – who are decidedly second rate; except that – soon after he became Pope they won the Argentine Championship – which the writer says would count as one of the two miracles which may eventually be required for his canonisation.  See, .I already find myself absorbed by the footie – more than I expected. Because of my origins – I am tempted to support Italy – Pirlo is magisterial. But I have a fancy that the double Dutch strike force of Robben and Van Persie is very special.

The right of Oxfam – and other anti-poverty charities – to criticise government policies must be defended; John Downie, SCVO’s policy person, has been justifiably forthright – suggesting that in England the charity regulator is being used as a censor. A group of 69 charities from across the UK – published a letter in Monday’s Times – protesting what they call an ‘attack on democracy’. See,

Bob Holman is a community worker/activist in Glasgow’s Easterhouse – his views on the primacy of local people as the designers and deliverers of community services are the same as mine. In this interview, he says that in all the 40 years he has lived in deprived areas – poverty and inequality have never been worse. His stories have the unmistakable ring of a member of the community actually experiencing them.

I bought David Marquand’s ‘Mammon’s Kingdom’; the pitch of his language – between popular and academic – is my level; the question he asks – how do we want to live together is the kernal of political philosophy. One of my favourite journalists – Ian Bell of the Herald – has reviewed the book. Marquand believes that people of goodwill can master the markets – restore common decency; Bell, I suspect, would welcome a bit more public anger against the spivs of the City. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, Coconut Corner Childcare Centre, Transition Extreme Sports Ltd, Glasgow Green Community Boathouse, Community Enterprise Ltd, Outfit Moray, Garvald Edinburgh
EVENTS: Bruncheon & Leith Late, 22 June; Partnering to support Young People into Volunteering, 25 June; The Carbon Cycle with Kate Rawles, 26 June, Women’s Heritage Cycle Trail Launch, 26 June;
TENDERS: Supply & Delivery of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Renfrewshire Council; Burnfoot Community Hub Hawick, Scottish Borders Council; and more at

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Social Firms Scotland (SFS) and Senscot hosted the EU SEN in Glasgow this week – with 35 delegates attending from 10 EU member states. The event kicked off with a presentation by Yvonne Strachan (Third Sector Division) on what has become known as ‘The Scottish Model’ – see, . Yvonne’s contribution set the scene for the two day event – with further Scottish contributions coming from the Social Enterprise Academy and Firstport. One of the primary objectives of the EU SEN is to ensure social enterprise plays a full role in helping to meet EU Structural Fund objectives in promoting social inclusion, job creation and combating poverty. We are encouraged to see that Scottish Govt has acknowledged this role in its latest EU Operational Plan. See,
For more SENs News, see

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) hosted a ‘roundtable’ in Glasgow yesterday on the subject of Social Investment Bonds (SIBs). The event was designed to gauge what appetite there may be for SIBs in Scotland – and included presentations from Jill McGrath (YMCA Perth and District) and Jeremy Pannell (Triodos Bank). Whilst it was clear that there are significant reservations about the SIB model being adopted in England, there was also an appetite for exploring ‘alternative funding structures’. SIS will be taking this forward – and, who knows, we may see a Scottish SIB model that is in keeping with the needs and values of our sector. See attendee list and presentations,

One of the main events in our SE calendar is the CEiS September Conference. Now in its 8th year, this event provides an annual opportunity for our sector to explore key policy issues that impact upon social enterprises and the services they deliver as well as new developments – at home or abroad – that could be of interest. This year’s event – Wed, 3rd Sept 2014 at The Radisson Hotel, Glasgow – again has a varied agenda that, amongst others, includes: A SE Strategy for Scotland 2015-25?; Business Failure and Business Recovery; and Social Value and responsible purchasing. CEiS has also kindly set aside a number of discounted places for SEN members. For more details, see  

This week the Scottish Government published an outline of the interim constitution which would be introduced if Scotland votes ‘yes’; significantly, it specifies that the final version would be drawn up by a constitutional convention – involving citizens of the new state. Here Professor Michael Keating – a constitutional specialist – offers his analysis. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles an enterprise in Dundee that is one of the most popular venues for meetings, conferences and weddings in the East of Scotland. West Park Centre Ltd, a member of Dundee SEN, is a partnership between the Sanctuary Group (a UK- wide provider of care, housing and community services) and the University of Dundee. All surpluses generated by West Park are re-invested into local partnerships to support the charitable obligations in those areas. For more, see

The translation of the Old Testament which we all call the King James Version was the work of scholars who were the contemporaries of Shakespeare – and almost his equal in the beauty of their language. Their wording of Psalm 23 ‘shall follow me all the days of my life’.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210