Senscot Bulletin 21-02-2003




Dear Members and friends,


Some time ago, a simple x-ray showed ‘wear and tear’ in my
neck – Tuesday was my appointment for MRI scan. Attendant takes me into a big
kind of chamber – technicians peer out of glazed ‘control module’ – centre
stage is a big ‘spaceship’ thing – total panic – know right away – I can’t do
this. “I’m sorry,” I say, embarrassed, “I can’t lie in that tube – it’s too
narrow.” Young radiographer tries to be masterful – makes me worse. She returns
with colleague – very clever older woman who pitches her remarks at just the
right level – level of a six year-old child: “…and when it’s over,” she says in
a fun voice, “you can take home a colour picture of your neck.” Makes it sound
like a Donald Duck helium balloon – hear myself say in wee baby voice, “Maybe I
can try…”

            Reality was
worse than I thought. On my back – roof 4 inches from my nose – deafening
hammering noise – 28-minute panic attack – the most I’ve prayed for years. At
end, nearly weep with relief – try to act cool but legs won’t work properly –
stagger out, half-expecting to be greeted by wave of applause. But reception is
empty – one woman waits anxiously – “What’s it like?” she asks. Shrugging into
coat, say, “Don’t remember much – must have dozed off.”



One of my all-time favourite dishes is spaghetti alle
, I prefer it ‘bianco’ with just a little olive oil – white wine,
parsley, garlic and the beautiful sweet fresh cockles opening in the pan. Read
in the Herald on Wednesday about the invasion of the cockle beds on Burntisland
and Pettycur Bay beaches in Fife and feel really passionate about the local
campaign. Convinced that this situation is perfectly suited to the launch of a
social enterprise involving the local community in partnership with whoever can
help. The profit is in the processing, and this should be done by locals in a
community-owned plant. Huge markets in Italy, France and Spain will buy all
they can produce, and local ownership would protect both the birdlife and the
sustainability of the fishery. Opportunity knocks.



On 21 Jan, when the Scottish Executive published its ‘Purple
Report’ on the social economy/social enterprise, they announced a funding
package of £6million over three years. This was not ‘new’ money, having been
previously allocated in the Scottish Budget 2003/06 “For new Social Justice
initiatives’. Our information is that whilst £4m of this is already committed,
£2m over 3 years is still to be allocated.

            Over the
coming months, new ideas which emerge will be sifted by a small cross agency
group who will advise social justice ministers. We understand the group
comprises: bits of the Executive – Communities Scotland – Scottish Enterprise,



Managed to get a copy of Andrew Phillips recent talk (last
week’s bulletin) and found it invigorating. A ‘must read’ for those members who
are uneasy about our sector’s current determination to mimic the private sector
– this is how Phillips ends:


“I leave you with one fascinating thought.  The hundred, probably the thousand, oldest
institutions in this land are all charities. 
What is the secret?  I have
hinted at the answers in this talk. 
Certain it is, however, that there can be no endurance without
endearment.  In profound ways, dare I
say it, business has considerably more to learn from charity than it may


The talk is here:



‘CAN YOU HELP?’ Members write to us each week highlighting
challenges they face and the need for advice or involvement to work them
through. So from this week onwards the bulletin will have a regular section to
assist members to get in touch and work together. This week, Member Adam
Hillhouse writes in to explain the dilemma faced by social enterprises in
Aberdeen. Initially funded by the local authority, projects are now facing
‘claw back’ of surpluses they want to re-invest. Adam seeks feedback on how to
address this issue without affecting the service. For more information, see
‘Can You Help’ at the ‘Hot pages’ on the Senscot site.



NOTICES: See Hot Pages at for
more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant notice
you’d like posted, send it to


‘out of the blue’ arts and education trust is buying the
former Territorial Army base in Dalmeny Street (off Leith Walk) Edinburgh to
provide artists’ studios, workshops and offices for individuals and
organisations. A variety of spaces are available for lease, with good transport
links, street parking, independent access and kitchen facilities. The space
will be available from April. For more information and/or to view; contact Rob
Hoon at ‘ootb’, tel 0131-557-6448 email


‘Regenerating Communities’, learning event for practitioners
and policymakers, Tue 4 March, 2pm, The Lighthouse, Glasgow. Keynote speaker:
renowned commentator, Charlie Leadbetter, adviser to business and government,
author of numerous publications including Living On Thin Air – The Rise of the
Social Entrepreneur; FREE, but numbers strictly limited, book: 0141 248 9900 or


‘Planning for Scotland’s Future’ conference, Edinburgh 4
March, first of series of events to evaluate how planning decisions are reached
and build consensus for reforms to go in a future Bill. Speakers incl. Jim
Mackinnon, Chief Planner, Scot Exec, Matthew Farrow, CBI, Cllr Russell Imrie,
CoSLA; Siobhan Samson, Friends of Earth Scotland. Info: Marion Fairweather,
0131 272 2170,


Today’s press carries the Ad for the CEO of Development
Trust Association Scoltand – the job description etc is on our website at



This week we profile a Youth Initiative and Internet Café in
East Ayrshire that not only provides exciting activities for young people but
also aims to involve the families of service users in family learning and
voluntary opportunities with other organisations. opened in Spring
2000 and, in addition to the facilities within the Internet Café, offers a
range of activities geared towards increasing the development of young people.
Supported through East Ayrshire Coalfield Social Inclusion Partnership, it is
managed by a voluntary committee comprising stakeholders, young people and
representatives from other agencies. It’s also been involved in developing
educational packs addressing key issues for young people. Such has been demand
for these packs, will now be offering this provision to groups and
organisations across Scotland. More info:
(Project Profiles).



Many years ago I was a front-line detached youth worker with
some of society’s wildest characters. I enjoyed it and believe I was good at
it. Then I couldn’t do that work anymore and I have come across a passage that
reminds me why: “My nervous system is set at a precariously high level of
sensitivity.  It doesn’t take much for
the input-monitoring needle to tilt into the red danger zone.  That is just what its like for me now.” 

I mention this because I believe
that the increasing number of front line teachers, youth workers and social
workers who quit them jobs every year may feel something similar. This is a
huge problem. The majority of workers in the poverty industry spend most of
their time at PC’s or meetings. Being in contact with people who are suffering
is distressing.



New book, ‘Poems on the Underground’ – some new gems. Here’s
an optimistic one by Sheenagh Pugh:


“Sometimes things don’t go, after all, from bad to worse.
Some years, Muscadel

Faces down the frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail;
Sometimes we aim high and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war; Elect an honest
man; decide they care

Enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.  Some people become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do
as we meant to.

The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed
hard frozen: may it happen to you.”


That’s all for this week.

Best wishes,



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