Senscot Bulletin 21-05-2004



Dear members and friends,


When I eat out alone, I look to sit in some corner of the room out of the way.  Food, book, notepad, solitude, minimal chat.  I find this ritual restores my soul!

            On Sunday the new waitress in our pizzeria is determined that I join the wee cluster of occupied tables – indicates a seat 18 inches from man slurping soup.  ‘I’d like to sit on my own in the corner’, I say.  The waitress in her teens has a brass ring through her nose and is chewing bubble gum.  ‘Those tables are not in use.’ I nod, ‘But I’d like to use one’, ‘They’re shut’.  ‘Then I’ll go elsewhere.’  On way out I remember they do a great thin crust pizza – so I ask Tony on the till if I can sit in the corner, ‘Of course.’  Nose-ring is furious.  I was in the catering game for years – I know I’ve now become a target.  In a restaurant – like a hospital or an aeroplane – we’re dependent on the goodwill of others.  Defy the ward sister at your peril.  If the waitress wants to spit in your soup – there’s not much you can do about it.  Beautiful pizza arrives just as noisy group enters.  Two young mothers pushing babies in buggies – each with a clinging crabbit toddler.  The four sprogs need fed urgently – the mums look frazzled.  Guess where this caravan is directed to sit.  As she helps fold the buggies Nose-ring blows a triumphant bubble in my direction.  Smack.  Shut my book.  Get up.  Pay up.  No tip.  Some days it feels like war out there.



Senscot’s AGM is booked for 17th June at The Teacher Building in Glasgow’s Enoch Square.  It’s mainly a social get together with an inspiring speaker (still confirming).  The main theme was going to be the new Action Plan but it’s been postponed again – groan!  We’re beginning to feel sorry for the civil servants – it’s becoming comical.  Whilst our AGM is mainly a networking social this year there is a special business item.  Senscot’s trustees consider that our increased turnover (£280K this year) means that it is now prudent to switch to the legal form of a Limited Company.  Such constitutional change requires the approval of two thirds majority of our members and this is your 21 days notice in accordance with our constitution of our intention to alter our rules of governance.  All bulletin readers are invited to this AGM but to vote in the formal bit – the constitution requires that you pay a subscription.  (A donation of your choice)  (click here)  Please e-mail if you want to attend.



Jack Perry, the new Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, made it clear last week that he wants to jettison the agency’s social inclusion functions.  It appears that Enterprise Minister, Jim Wallace, knows of Perry’s views  ( You may also have picked up the recently issued progress report from The Glasgow Economic Forum – a group of serious players chaired by John Gallacher from Crudens.  Page four refers to the 90,000 Glaswegians absent from the workforce as a ‘significant drag on the city’s competitiveness.’  These problems are not new – are at the very core of how Scotland moves forward.  Our politicians seem to be floundering – out of their depth. (  



Last week we posted a note from Alistair Thornley about Scottish Enterprise activity with the social economy.  Thanks for you several comments.  This week we post a note on the same theme from Rona Hamilton of the Scottish Executive Business Growth Unit. (     



This year’s Enterprising Solutions Awards process is now open. Applications must be in by 23rd July 2004. This is the sixth year of the award and also sees the introduction of The Social Enterprise Coalition as a new partner along with NatWest/RBS and the DTI’s Small Business Service. Changes this year include the removal of the £3million turnover cap. Applications from the rural and environmental fields are particularly welcomed.  For further info’, see 



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 71 vacancies, incl: Youth Scotland, CVS Inverclyde, SCVO, Creative Community Arts, WHALE Arts Agency, INCLUDEM, Poverty Solutions, Midlothian Voluntary Action, Clackmannanshire CAB.


EVENTS: ‘Asset-Based Community Development’ Scottish Centre for Regeneration Masterclass, Glasgow, 2 June; ‘Training For Facilitators’ Consultation Day, CHE event, Edinburgh & Dundee, 9 & 14 June; ‘An Introduction To Economic Development’ – 1 Day EDAS course, Glasgow 16 June; ‘Imagine The Clyde’ Imagine Scotland Event, Glasgow, 22 June; ‘Sustainable Food Procurement In The Public Sector – The Future For Local Food’ seminar, Stirling, 14 September;


Social Enterprise Development Initiative (SEDI) hosts a number of events in May and June, including ‘Quality & Impact’ (Edinburgh, 3 June) as a result of a large response via Senscot’s bulletin and website.


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:   



If you know 200 people (which is normal) and they know the same – you are only one removed from 40,000 people.  If you multiply again that’s everyone in Scotland.  The internet accelerates this process.  I heard this on the radio.  Then I read this, ‘Very often in a networked, self-organising process, thousands of people come to similar conclusions.  If all this converges, you get a wave and this wave leads to a new paradigm.  The idea then is to be an agent of change in networks with a lot of other agents of change and to try to strengthen relations and make processes strong.’ 

            Is Senscot not something like this?  This quote is from an interview with a Professor Radermacher on the subject of the Social Contract. (



This week’s bulletin profiles The Green Door Café, based in St Monans, Fife. The café came about in 1999 when St.Monans was going through a slump, with boat building at a minimum and shops closing down . A fruit and vegetable shop in the village had lain empty for sometime – from it, the Green Door Café, a registered charity, opened in July 2002, and is proving to be a valuable community resource providing healthy nutritional food and internet access. At the same time the Café is continuing to develop its trading income and working towards becoming a sustainable social enterprise for the long-term benefit of the community. Further info’, see



A moving event this week signalled the launch of Paisley Development Trust. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Glen Cinema tragedy when 70 local children died.  Paisley Development Trust aims to restore the town’s civic and cultural pride and has put together a sensitive portrayal of the worst event in Paisley’s history. An exhibition is running for the next 4 weeks in the Paisley Liberal Club along with a short film in which survivors recount their memories. For further info’, contact



Do you know about the ‘open source’ IT community?  Unlike proprietary software (Microsoft etc) which is licensed and we pay for – open source is free. The core idea is that anyone can use the intellectual product – improve, customise, do whatever they want – on the one condition that whatever they do – they need to give it back to everybody. Steven Weber, a political scientist, has written a book called ‘The Success of Open Source’ and we have posted an interview with him. ‘I was interested in the question, how does the community govern itself? How do the members set up rules? How do they maintain norms? How do they sustain collaboration over time? And most important, why would individuals contribute to this joint product from which they don’t get any directly controllable economic reward? That is the first question that many people ask. Why do programmers contribute their time and energy to this thing?’

            Weber wonders if the ‘open source’ model might work for other communities.  Intuitively this feels right for the social enterprise community.  Thoughts welcome.  (  


That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.

Best wishes,



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