Dear members and friends,
Regular readers will know that I’m a progressive, leftie sort of bloke, who hates the neo-liberal doctrine and the damage it inflicts on society. I dream of a gentler world – free of extremes of wealth or poverty – where local democracy and social capital protect and nourish community life. Like many lefties, I’m uneasy with the word `evil` – the way it’s bandied about. Maybe it’s the `Lucifer` connection – but it makes me squirm. Many people are suspicious of progressives, because of our `situational` view of evil. They say that blaming parenting, or poverty, or whatever, for outrageous behaviour, lets the `bad guys` off the hook. But it’s the opposite view of many on the right – that evil lies with certain individuals – that lets most of humanity off the hook. The truth is that we all have the capacity to become brutal – it’s the progressives who are the hard realists on this one – who know that only dispersed power – democracy – protects us from the beast.
Progressives believe that all of us on our wee planet are in it together – need to look after each other. Each day this week I’ve made myself think of that wee boy in London who was battered to death. I think of him – 18 months old, being in the dark, terrified – till I feel rage and shame. Whether deficient, depraved or deranged that child’s carers did terrible things and it’s fitting that they should be held to account. Those of us who struggle with the concept of evil can’t just go quiet when the issue arises; we need to offer an effective understanding of why there is so much brutality in this world – and how to contain it.
It seems to be taking forever – but when the Scottish Govt`s enterprising third sector action plan is fully operational next spring, I think we’ll see that it’s a good plan. Government emphasis on economic growth means that much of the activity is top end stuff – Scottish Investment Fund etc – but yesterday saw the announcement of a £1m Social Entrepreneurs` Fund which is close to Senscot`s heart. The Scotland unLtd awards, targeted at `beginners`, have been a valued part of the social enterprise landscape since 2002. This is where some of the stars in our social enterprise community got their start. Now Firstport has been awarded the contract to run the new £1m Fund alongside its successful unLtd programme. Here’s a message from Naomi Johnson, the CEO (http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7677) and the new fund’s official Investment Strategy http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7678
Financially, last year was the worst ever for Senscot – the words ‘shoogly nail’ came to mind. The announcement this week of a three year Lottery grant (totalling £430k) is a great relief to our board and staff. The key element of this funding is our work with the Local Social Enterprise Networks (LSENs) – many of whom will be looking at their long term sustainability – both individually and as a national community of social enterprises. This is the advert for a networks co-ordinator – a new colleague for Colin and Anna. http://www.senscot.net/view_job.php?viewid=7665
Over the years, practitioners in the Highlands have developed an effective blend of community development alongside economic development. Recent reports in the press that this ‘Strengthening Communities’ work is to end were ill-founded as is made clear by the attached strategy paper: The New Approach. It’s true that HIE will have less involvement with voluntary sector activity, but if anything its emphasis on community based social enterprise is clearer than ever. I’ve long felt that the HIE blended approach is ideal for the economic development of our urban housing estates but Scottish Government is not joined up enough to deliver this. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7679
A reader has send a disturbing letter which claims that our river estuaries – the Forth, Clyde, Tay, Don etc are in serious danger of flooding and that the Government should create employment during the recession by undertaking major civil engineering works to prevent flooding. This deeply felt plea could be prophetic. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7675
I feel strong support for the new Govanhill Law Centre – dedicated solicitors – using the law to help the poor for a change. The legal profession could hardly have a lower reputation – outrageous fees – greed – incompetence. Well done to Mile Dailly, his team, and the Govanhill community. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7681
Scotland needs a weekly news/comment journal like New Start. Our mainstream media is disinterested – off the pace and our weekly trade newsheets tend to be parochial and anodyne. New Start should employ a Scottish journalist and do a Scottish edition – inject a bit of controversy. http://subs/newstartmag.co.uk
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: incl. posts with: Paths for All Partnership, Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, Senscot, Glasgow East Regeneration Agency
EVENTS: Intellectual Assets, Scottish Social Enterprise Academy, 25 Nov; Learning Uncovered, learndirect scotland, 27 Nov; Social Entrepreneurs ‘Cafe, Business Gateway Lanarkshire and First Port, 28 Nov; Christmas Craft Fair, West Kilbride Comunity Initiative Ltd; 30 Nov; Social Enterprise Seminar Series, Aspire to Enterprise,3 Dec; SURF Awards Dinner 2008, Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum, 4 Dec
NETWORKS 1st News: Yesterday`s Ceilidh proved a great success. Over 100 folk turned up and early feedback has been very positive. The Dragons` Den was won this year by Our Power (Cairndow, Argyll) for their new micro hydro-electric scheme. That’s three in a row for Argyll and Bute SEN – there must be something in the water up there. An added bonus was mentoring support from the Dragons. We’re all a bit jaded today so a full report will follow next week. Here’s a list of those who attended https://senscot.net/?viewid=7682
For more NETWORKS News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=59
Social Firms Scotland is launching a new initiative `Acquiring Business for Good` at their AGM in Edinburgh on 9th December. This pioneering programme will offer an alternative route to developing new Social Firms by acquiring existing businesses. Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, will be doing the honours. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7651
Good news for Spruce Carpets with the opening of their new shop in Shawlands Arcade, Glasgow. The shop has a selection of refurbished, new and unused carpets, vinyl and carpet tiles available and will also offer a delivery service. We wish them the best of luck in their new venture. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7676
Over the years, Senscot has built up an extensive list of social enterprise profiles on our website. A few readers have written in recently with ‘updated versions’. We’re aware that this could apply to many of the existing 350 profiles on the site. If you’d like your ‘profile’ updated or even add a new one to the list, send your copy to firstname.lastname@example.org If you can keep it to 400 words that would be a big help. http://www.senscot.net/fulllist.php
This week’s bulletin profiles an organisation providing arrange of services for the community in Lochaber. Lochaber Hope was set up by local people in 2005. By early 12008, they were operating several projects that include ‘drop in’ rooms , a mentoring service, a woodworking workshop as well as a waste timber recycling service. Lochaber Hope’s goal is and to allow people to rebuild a sense of value and belonging to the community. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7680
I’ve been sober now for 7 years – grateful for it – but I still miss alcohol in the evenings – the letting go of stress – the glow of optimism. This quote from Graham Greene in later life (which is new to me) puts it beautifully. ‘‘After the right number of drinks with a snack meal and alone – perhaps two bottles of Carlsberg and three Swedish akvavit and a tin of sardines – I believe that I can carry on, an idea may come, perhaps the last book has not been written… but tomorrow morning… the euphoria will have left me’’.
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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