Senscot Bulletin: 21.03.14

Dear members and friends,

          Sitting in a lounger at my favourite beach – clear blue skies and bright sunlight; some folk in their bikinis – but it’s not warm enough to get me out of my shirt and chinos. I was recently fitted with a new digital hearing aid – enjoying the sloshing of the Med twenty metres away – the conversation of sparrows foraging for crumbs; but certain aspects of hearing gain are disconcerting – I was unaware that I make so much noise eating. I come here because it’s an informal, family-run restaurant; no wi-fi – relatively few poseurs who shout into mobiles. The family recognise me – act as though they’re pleased to see me; a ritual, of course – enacted with mutual respect and courtesy – old Andalucia.
          Adjacent to this beach is a prosperous residential ‘communidad’ – probably pre-war; incongruously, one of the plots comprises half an acre of impenetrable jungle – in which sits an art deco villa – abandoned since 1980. Over the years – each time I come here – I visit this ruin; peering inside – planning its renovation (for when I win the Lottery). My visit today ended this – because man and machines are demolishing ’my’ house; surprising how ‘gutted’ I felt. Resigned now – it’s just something else I`ll never do –but odd how we can mourn the loss of things we’ve never had. They have always come easily to me – the imagined uses of serious wealth; becoming seriously skint is a more likely prospect – reflecting on that would be more useful; but not as much fun. 

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

G4S and Serco – being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for stealing from the taxpayer – have already agreed to repay £100m and £68m. One hoped that the shame of this would prompt some questioning – of Whitehall’s public procurement model – but not so. Giant prime contractors – delivering standardised cheapo services; the big, the brash and the ugly. Locality – the leading English community sector umbrella group – has raised a standard for a fightback. Their new Report, ‘Local by default’ claims that the UK Govt can save £ billions – and deliver better services – by turning away from the corporate big boys – in favour of thousands of local organisations – which are ‘of’ their communities. All of us who share these sentiments need to get behind the ‘Local by default’ initiative. There is another way. See,

The passing of Anthony Wedgewood Benn (1925- 2014) will be marked by many who work for the common good – in appreciation of his life and example. In times when so much of public life is sullied by the hirelings of corporate interests – no-one ever doubted that Tony Benn was his own man. Always courteously, he argued for what he believed – a bottom-up, grassroots model of society – akin to much of what our third sector does. I once saw Tony Benn on stage – chair, mug of tea, lit pipe – he chatted away to hundreds of us for ages. His memory conjures words like champion, justice, integrity, inspiration.

Last week, in Edinburgh, Senscot was represented at the Social Investment 2014 Conference. The gist of the Conference was looking at new ‘funding mechanisms’ – including Public Social Partnerships and, of course, – those old favourites of the finance folk  – the measurement of social impact and SIBs. John Swinney voiced concerns about the effects of social investment and social impact measurement not only on third sector orgs delivering services, but particularly on service users themselves. And, although frontline organisations were thin on the ground, the audience was reminded by a spokesperson from Includem that many organisations deliver significant outputs which are not really measurable. See list of attendees – plus agenda,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Citizens Advice Scotland, Cairn Housing Association, Humanist Society Scotland, Venture Trust, Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen, The Salvation Army Falkirk, Beith Community Development Trust
EVENTS: Vintage Kilo Sale, 22 Mar; ABSEN Conference 25 Mar; East End Women’s Heritage Walk, 6 Apr; SIIA 2014-15 Information Evening, 9 Apr; Sharing: Getting It Right & Boundaries Training, 1 May;
TENDERS: General Wastes from Household Waste Recycling Centres / Contract for Bulky Waste from Special Uplifts and Similar Services, both North Lanarkshire Council (both included CBCs); Supply and Delivery of Fresh Fruit & Veg, East Renfrewshire Council; Tender for Business & Commercial Dev, St Magnus International Festival. See,

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Yesterday saw a meeting of the SEN Co-ordinators at Stramash in Oban – these quarterly meetings are rotating round the country. Agenda items included SEN updates; social enterprise support in Scotland – is there cluttered landscape?; and Knowledge & Skills Exchange Fund (see below); The meeting also discussed how SENs can connect and engage more with each other at a more practical level. We hope to come up with some suggestions over the coming weeks. Next week, we`ll be hosting the bi-annual SEN Chairs meeting in Glasgow. Issues being addressed include support for SE/SENs in 2014/15; Govt support contracts; relationship with TSIs; and update on Scottish Community Banking Trust. More next week. For more SENs News, see

Our SE and Sport Conference ‘Inspiring our Leaders’ at the Emirates in Glasgow this week went really well. Over 120 folk attended – two thirds of attendee representing 52 sports social enterprises. Here’s the delegate list, . As well as inspirational presentations from keynote speakers Frank Dick and Mel Young and a good blend of different workshops, the event also saw the formal launch of the new £1 million Legacy 2014: Sustainable Sport for Communities Fund. See details,

Following on from last week’s sad story about Hebridean Chocolate, Douglas Westwater (Community Enterprise) writes: “We come across a lot of SEs struggling and on the verge of insolvency (or past it). Many ask for help too late and problems can be hard to fix. I agree that there should be a high profile ‘early warning system’ that can feed people into a support mechanism where a rescue package can be put together.   With ourselves and others in the sector, and funded support like Business Gateway and Just Enterprise, I don’t believe it is beyond us to create something like this.   The bedrock of SE in Scotland is hundreds of enterprises just getting on with things and it is vital that a safety net is put in place to nurture these folk at difficult times”. Senscot and others plan to hold a small event on this in the next month or so. We`ll keep you posted on details. See,

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (Scotland) is currently recruiting for the second intake of its Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme. Last ‘Taster’ session is taking place on 27th March at PKAVS offices in Perth – with deadline for applications being Thurs, 3rd April. Each ‘Start Up’ participant will receive a grant of £4,000 to support their learning and the development of their project. For more info, contact or see,

This week’s bulletin profiles Scotland’s only dedicated marketing social enterprise providing simple skills, tools and strategies to reach more customers and supporters. BOLD – apart of the Community Enterprise stable that includes Run Native and SE Venues – is a new design & creative marketing agency delivering design and practical marketing support to SEs across Scotland. Recent clients include Citizens Advice Direct; ARC Scotland; Dundee SEN and, most recently, Hanover Housing Association. For more, see

A couple of quotes from Tony Benn (1925 – 2014):

"Democracy is not just voting every 5 years and watching Big Brother in between and wondering why nothing happens. Democracy is what we do and say where we live and work"

“Although socialism is widely held by the establishment to be outdated, the things that are most popular in British society today are little pockets of socialism, where areas of life have been excluded from the crude operation of market forces and are protected for the benefit of the community".

Here are some more from the Huffington Post,

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