Senscot Bulletin: 21.10.11

Dear members and friends,

I have been reflecting that there are two very different ways of experiencing life: Diana Athill (94) – a bruisingly honest writer – put it this way in a letter to a friend: “ It’s one of my deepest instincts to control by being ‘beady eyed’; while you have this wonderful strong instinct to feel – to risk yourself in the flood of feelings”. It’s a common misconception – that those of us who navigate more from feeling – do so from choice; not so. Some people are simply born that way – with exaggerated sensitivity – they can’t really help it – nothing ‘wonderfully strong’ about it.  Such individuals are porous – in that they feel too deeply the emotional energy of others; anger, conflict, sadness etc disturb them excessively – they tend to internalise it as their own – as if a protective membrane is missing.  The upside of porosity is strong intuition.
 In as much as being with people upsets us we are tempted to withdraw; I spent last weekend home alone – content to speak with no-one – not even on the phone; but part of me knows that this should be resisted. When I reflect on my life – I feel no real connection to its defining events – the various exits and entrances. It’s only when I think of people – those I know – who know me – those I care about – who care about me. In so far as there is any ‘substance’ – it’s in these relationships – in being engaged – at risk.

Senscot has been raising the alarm for some time – that the social enterprise brand – as an entity distinct from private profit – is under sustained attack from companies masquerading as social enterprises.  This drift would appear to have the support of the UK Govt – the lack of general outcry is surprising.  The public statement this week by Andrew Hind – first CEO of the English Charity Commission – is most welcome.  He says in this piece – that as a matter of urgency – Big Society Capital needs to define the boundaries of its lending policy – that a `strong asset lock` is fundamental.  “Public confidence”, he says “in the nascent social investment market – depends on insuring that it is not going to be a ‘get rich quick scheme’ for Domino’s and Pizza Express”. See,

The SNP manifesto commits the Scottish Govt to a sustainable procurement bill – which would give the likes of ‘community benefit clauses’ statutory weight.  The equivalent process in England is further ahead – with the third reading this week of their Public Services Bill – which also is intended to embed social benefit in the procurement process.  The explicit pointers in the bill towards the third sector delivery of public services – (the original Big Society hype) – have been removed by the Govt – in favour of the more “laissez faire” approach; favoured by Tory market liberals. See,

London based third sector organisations which operate in Scotland without devolved decision making – lack legitimacy.  You may recall that in August we wrote to Nesta, suggesting that its Scottish mission is unfocussed and ineffective – asking if they would consider the open recruitment of a Scotland Committee.  Quite simply they blanked us.  Word on the street now is that – on Nov 2nd – Nesta will host a private dinner in Scotland – guest list unknown. The purpose of which is to discuss its strategic role in Scotland. No doubt London will in due course inform their Scottish cousins what they consider we need to know.

We circulated last week the European Commission’s first ever definition of social enterprise – one that is likely to be used for the next seven years.  It’s surprisingly similar to the UK Govt definition (DTI, 2002) – which Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, now considers ‘too restrictive’.  This link compares the two definitions – the additional clause about democratic management reflects the maturity and influence of the co-operative movement in Europe, . After the Ceilidh (Nov 17th/18th), Senscot will host a follow up to our recent seminar – to focus the views of Scotland’s SE community – whether we want a voluntary code of practice or a regulated label.  Jonathan Bland, is this piece, explores the implications of the European Commission’s new interest in social enterprise.

Govan in Glasgow is an iconic community – a symbol for so much that is right and wrong with Scotland.
This weekend it is the venue of a remarkable conference called `Kadinski in Govan; art, spirituality and the future`: Saturday’s the big day – tickets required. See here,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: Crisis, RAMH, Action for Sick Children, Craft Town Scotland/West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd, L’Arche Edinburgh, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Turning Point Scotland, Forth Sector, Garvald Edinburgh, Women Onto Work
EVENTS: Action Learning for Active Citizenship, 31 Oct; Mainstreaming Service User Involvement, 31 Oct; Six Steps to Sustainability – Free Training, 1 Nov; Tools, Tips & Techniques for Involvement 1 Nov;
TENDERS: Halbeath Park & Choose – Car Park and Facilities Building, Provision of catering services for Scottish Public Pension Agency and staff at HMP Edinburgh, Tendered Local Bus Services in Angus and a
Feasibility Study into a Hydro Energy Project in Bannockburn.

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: One of the highlights of the Social Enterprise Ceilidh at New Lanark has always been the Dragons’ Den – with its main prize of £5k to the winner. Following the success of last year’s ‘crowd-funding’, we are now working with SoLoCo to raise £1,000 (at least!) for the audience prize. Please visit the SoLoCo site and donate if you can. See, . This year’s Dragons will be Eric Munro (RBS), David Cook (Wasps), Marie Marin (Employers For Childcare) and, our newest Dragon, Ken Milroy (Aberdeen Foyer). The Ceilidh, this year, is now sold out. If you’re still keen to attend and would like to go on the waiting list, contact . See Ceilidh programme,
For more Networks News, see

Demand for the Growth Fund has been huge and, last week, folk received news – good or bad – re their initial enquiries. Sadly, Senscot Legal got a knock back for its modest application. It seems the 600 odd applications totalled over £50m – all bidding for a pot of £4m. The deadline for those moving on to stage 2 is 12 noon on Monday 7th Nov. Best of luck to those who are still in the mix. See,

RBS this week launched their new Community Business Loan Fund. Worth £5m, the Fund is targeting those who `do not qualify for mainstream banking lending` – and is particularly interested in the social enterprise community. Loans can vary from £30k-£500k. Nice touch in their press release which features Health SEN member, Crisis Ltd. See,
You can register interest at

This week`s bulletin revisits one of our earlier profiles – Wasps Studios. This week, Wasps announced the imminent arrival of their latest venture, the South Block – a new studio complex in the centre of Glasgow. The South Block will provide 96 studios for visual artists and makers, cultural social enterprisers and creative businesses and now provide space for 750 visual artists and 22 arts charities at 19 sites across Scotland. Wasps activities support the regeneration of many deprived communities across Scotland, attracting jobs and improving the physical appearance of local communities. For more about Wasps and about the South Block, see

Do you fancy running your own croft, operating a small business, building a house, growing food and living among like-minded people on the West Coast of Scotland? The Acorn Co-op has identified land on the Kintyre peninsula, Argyll that could accommodate 10-15 crofts.  They’re looking for people. See more,

Andrew Robinson (CCLA) sends this quote from Siegfried Finser – whom I’d not heard of. His book `Money Can Heal` gets great reviews. See,

“There are three transactions and only three, and they all involve two parties. All constitute agreements validated by tangible evidence but motivated by different aspects of our soul. Each affects people and the world differently. Buying/selling draws human beings into the material world and stimulates the whole world to produce what people desire. Lending/borrowing draws human beings into connection with one another, enabling people to accomplish their intentions. It makes the world into a community of striving human beings. Giving/receiving entices the spirit into material existence and can elevate human beings to greater development, wisdom, and love in shaping the future. Based on my observations and experiences, I have concluded that these three transactions are rooted in the architecture of the universe. They contain all the ingredients we need to become healing forces in the life of the society. These three transactions are all we need to transform the world, unfold healthy relationships, and reconnect with the active spirit of our time.”

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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