Senscot Bulletin: 20.12.12

Dear members and friends,

Felt I was wintering well this year – avoiding the familiar symptoms of depression from light deprivation; but December has been gloomier – and now I’m not sleeping well – something has breached my defences. Today’s bulletin is a day early – Senscot will now pause till Monday 7th January – our annual replenishment; really looking forward to this break – hope you’re getting one.
 The actual moment of the winter solstice is very difficult to pinpoint; the instant when the sun stops moving south – reverses its direction (estimated this year for 11.12am on Friday 21st Dec). Although the deep winter months of January and February are still ahead of us – I always celebrate the shortest day; because the sun in our sky stops ebbing – and every day now the light will build towards spring – then summer. This association between light and life is deep in the human unconscious – even our prehistoric ancestors invested the winter solstice with the symbolism of rebirth – a new beginning.
 May this festive break be an experience of renewal for you – and those you love. In a week when a deranged young man walked into a schoolroom and killed 26 people, mostly young children – it is difficult to focus on peace and goodwill. But part of us knows – that truly horrific events make it even more important for us to reach out – to steady and comfort each other – to share our courage.

SE UK – which acts as the voice of social enterprise in England – has just published criteria – for what it calls its ‘SE Badge’.  The SE Code – promoted in Scotland by Senscot, SES, SFS and others – proclaims the ‘asset lock’ as the defining characteristic of social enterprise – but the new ‘Badge’ seems to make any ‘lock’ optional.  It allows up to half operating profit to be distributed as dividend – but more critically, it allows the residual assets of the company can be cashed in for private gain. In England, SE appears to be adapting itself to accommodate the private gain which drives the ‘normal’ economy; in Scotland. there appears to be more appetite to keep SE distinct – to explore a ‘different way’ of organising economic activity.  In England, you can be ‘a bit’ of a SE; in Scotland, you are asked to choose.  Only time will tell which of these approaches is the right one.  See,

The Greek economy is in meltdown – interesting vignette on BBC Radio.  A Greek football team – out in the sticks – runs out of money – faces closure; the madam of the local brothel – legal and prosperous – offers sponsorship.  Now the lads run around with Villa Erotica on their shirts.  Moral question: is this more, or less acceptable that UK professional clubs accepting sponsorship from pay day loan companies. See,

If I could be bothered – I could research how much London City solicitors Bates, Wells and Braithwaite paid its partners last year; I’d be surprised if it was less than half a million quid – each.  Senior partner Stephen Lloyd gave a talk about CICs recently – where he urges social enterprises to make themselves more attractive to private investment – by paying higher dividends.  Such consultants – from a different planet – charging excessive fees – to pay themselves excessive salaries – should be allowed no influence over the policy of our sector.  They don’t even understand that the salary differentials they enjoy are offensive to the values of social enterprise. See,

Another solicitor, Shivaji Shiva, writes here about some of the difficulties which arise with Payment by Results (PBR) contracts, and SIBs.  Unfortunately he stops short of saying – just keep your distance.  Senscot believes that investment for profit from the money markets is harmful to our work – and that there is enough ‘patient money’ locked up in our own third sector to capitalise our future needs. Our scoping work towards a Scottish Community Bank will step up in the new year. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Promoters arts network (PAN), Lifelink, Children’s Hearings Scotland, Overtown Parish Church, Routes to Work South, Youth Football Scotland, Loganle Pitstop, Routes to Work South
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 29 Dec; Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change, 31 Dec; Facilitation Training Day, 1 Feb; Diploma in Training and Development, 28 Feb;

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This is the last Networks 1st newsletter of 2012. Last week, we identified some highlights/developments and progress made during the year. This week, we look ahead to 2013 and some of our aspirations. These include: further development of the work of the thematic SENs and roundtables – exploring a more ‘joined up’ approach; continue to support local SENs as well as helping develop new ones; explore new investment and procurement opportunities for SEN members; encourage increased collaboration between respective SENs; and continue to develop our partnership with Social Firms Scotland and Social Enterprise Scotland to ensure as responsive a level of support as possible to social enterprises in Scotland. In the meantime, we hope you have a fabby festive break.  For more Networks News, see

With an increasing number of communities across Scotland taking on and running local assets, three Aberdeenshire communities are submitting an application for a community-owned pharmacy in the village of Pitmedden.  The pharmacy will be run as a community owned business and all profits from the venture will be ploughed back into the provision of healthcare services in the local area.  Read their story,

It’s not often that the bulletin carries obituaries but our friends at Kibble brought our attention to the Herald’s recent obituary for James Jack – Chair of the Board of Kibble Education and Centre for 15 years until his retirement last year.  As Chair, Jimmy Jack steered Kibble through a period of great challenges, but also great opportunity, and under his steady guidance the organisation saw unparalleled growth in its 153 year history, widened its remit and strengthened its role in the Paisley and Renfrewshire community. During Jimmy’s stewardship, Kibble also played a leading role in supporting the growth of SE in Scotland. See,

Tune in on New Year’s day (BBC Alba, 8.05pm) to see the latest film from Cultural SEN member, the Media Co-op. Their film, ‘The Bridge Rising/An Drochaid’, tells the story of the campaign against the tolls on the Skye bridge: Scottish islanders taking on the might of the government and the Bank of America – and winning. See,

2012 has been United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. Martin Meteyard sends us a paper he has put together with Community Food and Health (Scotland) exploring Scotland’s past, current and potential future relationship between co-operation, food and health. This is an area Senscot intends to  move closer to in 2013. See,

Senscot began doing weekly profiles on social enterprises in December 2001. One of our first was McSence – back in January 2002. We reported how, in 1984, Brian Tannerhill initiated the idea of forming a Community Business that would provide employment and services to the local community in Mayfield. David Maxwell (current CEO) has kindly provided an updated profile. McSence continues to be a business run by the community, for the community. Now operating 5 companies, it employs over 70 staff providing a wide range of services including managed workspace, property development, property maintenance, commercial cleaning, training, consultancy and economic development support. See updated profile,

Max Ehrmann’s ‘Desiderata’ was written in 1927 – but its overarching message of hope still works for me.
 "Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism… Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all – it is as perennial as the grass… Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should… with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."  See

Season greetings from all at Senscot.
Best wishes,


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