Senscot Bulletin: 20.07.18

Dear members and friends,

Gullane hill and golf links has always been a special place for me; last Saturday, on a gorgeous summer’s day, I visited the Scottish Open.  Getting up the hill is a bit of a ‘pech,’ but as ever, the vistas from the top – across the links and estuary to Fife – are stunning: the best I know.  Ignoring the golf, I find a high grassy hillock – sit for an hour in joyous sunshine – just grateful to be part of all this.

Part of my ‘intoxication’ on Saturday was simple pride – pride in Scotland as the home of golf.  Particularly in the thirty years between 1894-1924 – hundreds of Scots, from areas like Gullane, took ‘the gowf’ overseas.  These were ordinary working people – golfers, clubmakers, greenkeepers etc – with the courage to move abroad – to earn their livelihood, sharing the game they loved: one of the great Scottish exports.  I feel angry that golf’s politicians sold our game to Pay TV – so that most children of working people in Scotland, no longer see any golf – will never pick up a golf club.

I’m a fan of straight-talking playwright Alan Bennett (84) who was interviewed (7 mins) by Andrew Marr on Sunday; they discuss Bennett’s new play about a bunch of old folks in a care home.  Marr characterises the play as being ‘pessimistic about politics – but highly optimistic about the human condition – about people’.  Someone in his play says ‘politicians are cowards’; Bennett goes with the decency and ‘toughness’ of ordinary folk to see us through – and so do I.



The Queen was crowned in 1953 when I was 13 (we got our first TV especially); over 65 years, I’ve grown a certain admiration for this lady.  My enduring memory of the Trump visit is their meeting at Windsor Castle – serenity meets turmoil; if he’d grabbed her hand, would that man with the sword have intervened…

It transpires, that the UK Parliamentary system is incapable of reconciling the Brexit tensions into a workable plan; the Chequers attempt increasingly undermined.  Theresa May (and Europe) will seek to minimise our separation – but the Tory ‘crash-out’ brigade will try to take her down.  UK governance is now essentially paralyzed. Iain Macwhirter wants a ‘peoples vote’ to restore common sense.



As the world moves irrevocably towards automation – paid employment will become the exception; the ‘norm’ will be some form of universal basic income (UBI) – so that all citizen have access to the necessities.   While this won’t happen for some years, over time it’s inevitable – and increasingly we read of exploratory pilots: this one’s from the city of Stockton, California.  The main philosophical debate is about how UBI should be funded; progressives favour taxation; conservatives favour corporate profits (is there really any difference).  These ramblings from Mark Zuckerberg (from Alaska) capture the flavour of this controversy.



On Monday (BBC1) I watched 23-year-old Sarah Moore show us around North Ronaldsay: “The Island that saved my life”. I found her both charming and convincing; that her move from Edinburgh did help her depression and enable her new empowered self – but oh dear – I got depressed myself at the prospects for her island. Less than 50 residents, many ageing, school closed, no jobs or housing for new folks; depopulation and the fate of St Kilda looms. Scotland has a new Islands Bill and a new Islands minister (Paul Wheelhouse) let’s see how serious the SNP are about this. Background piece by Kevin McKenna (Oct 2017)



This is Ursula Le Guin’s rendering of segment 7 of the Tao Te Ching – followed by her Note on the text.


“True leaders are hardly known to their followers. Next after them are the leaders the people know and admire; after them, those they fear; after them, those they despise. To give no trust is to get no trust. When the work’s done right, with no fuss or boasting, ordinary people say, oh we did it.”


Note…… This invisible leader, who gets things done in such a way that people think they did it all themselves, isn’t one who manipulates others from behind the scenes; just opposite. Again, it’s a matter of “doing without doing”: uncompetitive, un worried, trustful accomplishment, power that is not force. An example or analogy might be a very good teacher, or the truest voice in a group of signers.

Senscot has championed the ‘Sport for Change Agenda’ for a number of years via the Sport SEN and Roundtable, see our Briefing Paper. Sport for change uses physical activity and sport intentionally to bring about positive benefits for individuals and communities to address specific needs. It is great to see this approach being backed by meaningful investment through the Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity Programme – coinciding with the recent launch of ‘A More Active Scotland: Scotland’s Physical Activity Delivery Plan’. There are considerable benefits when sports social enterprises deliver tailored services within their local communities, including: engagement of children and young people into sport and play; effective intervention with young people who are distant from the labour market; sport, health and fitness opportunities tailored to the needs of the local community; and activities for the elderly.

Keep up to date with the latest jobs, events and funding opportunities in the social enterprise sector.

                 Jobs                             Events                          Funding

We are organising a Community Learning Exchange (CLE) visit to The Ecology Centre in Fife on Monday 13th August. The Centre inspires positive change through directly connecting people and the natural environment. In addition to learning about ecology and the environment, one of the benefits for participants is gaining increased confidence and self-esteem through their experiences. The learning outcomes for this CLE visit include: a better understanding of how this work contributes towards improving mental health and wellbeing, a better understanding of the issues associated with this, and the benefits of developing a wide range of activities for different target groups/customers and insight into the associated business model. Sign up here or get in touch for more info.



The Scottish Gov’t is consulting on the draft ‘Culture Strategy for Scotland – reflecting the past, challenging the present, shaping the future’. The strategy seeks to stimulate a step change that will bring about a shift in how society and government view and value culture. It aims to build collaborative alliances that will help to realise the full potential of culture for everyone and every community. The important role that community groups and enterprises are recognised within the strategy as being vital to the life of communities and the cultural sector overall. Senscot will be submitting a response of behalf of the Cultural SEN and will be hosting some sessions in the coming month. For more information contact



P4P was established in May 2017 as a result of the Scottish Government’s 10 Year Social Enterprise Strategy. They are now entering the second year of funding and building on the success of the first year of the programme they are looking for organisations to provide feedback and help improve their services/resources for the future. The survey takes only 5-10 minutes to complete – you can fill it out here.



This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise, based in Broxburn, West Lothian, that provides therapeutic horticulture, woodwork and craft activities to individuals that live with severe and enduring mental health conditions. The Brock aims to assist the people they work with by providing opportunities to learn new skills; stabilise their condition; gain confidence and integrate within the local community. In addition to the practical experience gained in producing quality, handmade products, The Brock also provides a series of educational activities that build confidence and enhance life skills for the people they work with. All the money generated through sales goes towards providing therapeutic activities for people with severe and enduring mental health conditions.