Senscot Bulletin 21-11-2003



Dear members and friends,


My wounds are healing and so is my spirit.  There was a time back there when my feet
touched the bottom of the pond and I had no puff left – for a short while I
wondered.  This episode has given me a
kind of calm – perhaps when my time does come, I’ll be unsurprised – as ready
as we can be for ‘the Big Sleep’. 
Meantime, ‘hold that hearse’ – this old campaigner can feel the juices
returning – I’m scheming again – looking for the angle no one else has spotted.

(Saturday) off to Malaga for a week’s ‘finca hunting’ in the hills with two old
pals.  We worked together in the 1970s
creating a ‘last chance saloon’ for youngsters heading for the ‘pokey’.  My pals C & R went off then to Nicaragua
with the Sandinistas – I toiled in other war zones nearer home – we keep in
touch from different countries.  This
‘finca in Spain’ thing has been with me for 30 years.  ‘Ruined mill into rustic retreat’ – strong romantic appeal.  Since my op though the urge to escape is
less.  A new respect for what I have –
health, friends, work – today some pals think, ‘poor Laurence has lost it’ –
but it’s the opposite. I feel like I’m just finding it.  How to get mellow.

            C phones to
agree where to meet at Malaga airport. 
“Outside the South exit” I say, “There’s a wee park with benches.  You’ll see a guy wearing a Panama hat,
feeding the pigeons, with a daft grin on his face.  That’ll be me”.  Tranquillo



128 people attended our conference on Wednesday, the great
majority from front line social enterprises and we’ve had lots of appreciative
e-mails.  The fact that we couldn’t
discuss the main topic – the Action Plan was a dampener.  But clearly Senscot has the enthusiastic
support of some mighty impressive people – as one man said, “I can’t remember
when I was in a room with over 100 people and I wanted to talk with every one
of them”.  Simon’s personal impressions
and attendance list are at 



Recruitment consultants are to be brought in to find a new
chairman for Scottish Enterprise. 
Current chair Ian Robinson leaves next month but the search for a
replacement (advertised in June) has failed to find a suitable candidate.  New Start mag last week quoted ‘a source’
thus: “What is really going on is a kind of power struggle between two very
different views of what Scottish Enterprise is about.  One is built around the existing set up – traditional businessmen
interested in attracting foreign business into Scotland – technology transfer –
bio-technology – that kind of thing. 
The other says that the economic agenda has got to be more than
this.  In particular it has to be about
regeneration as well as business – that there is no point in doing all this
unless you can bring jobs to the 100,000 people in Glasgow without jobs at the
moment”.  The search is on for someone
acceptable to both sides of this crucial equation. This appointment will
greatly influence Scotland’s economic policy. 
We wish Jim Wallace good luck and good judgement – this is a big one. (



In January I was at the Scottish Executive’s launch of its
Review of the Social Economy document (ROSE) (
Latest news: it will be January 2004 before the Executive will announce what
action is to flow from this review. Since 2002, three projects Senscot (with
others) is trying to create have been frozen/inactive – awaiting this tortuous
process. Our work on a learning project for social entrepreneurs, begun three
years ago, is stalled, awaiting a decision. We’re only one of hundreds of
pro-active organisations in the sector – imagine the accumulated backlog! Folk
get fed up – walk away.  Communities
Scotland has taken two years to even get staff appointed and in this period the
Executive has been unable to get things moving.  If things don’t start happening early next year we’ll need a hard
look at the leadership of this whole thing.



If your work involves advising social enterprises about
governance/structures you may want to explore the possibilities of LLPs
(Limited Liability Partnerships).  Chris
Cook is visiting Senscot this Monday, 24th November, 4-6pm to tell
us about them.  If you’d like to attend
contact  (



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: 31 vacancies, including posts at Abertay Housing
Association, GCVS, CSV, Rathbone, Communities Scotland, Community Action for
Deaston, North Glasgow Community Food Initiative.


EVENTS: Radical Prince: Book Launch, CHE, Edinburgh, 24 Nov;
SCF Parliament Day, Edinburgh, 25 Nov; “Finding Hidden Profit” event,
Edinburgh, Dec 4; SEDA ‘Christmas Ceilidh’, Edinburgh, Dec 5; Social Enterprise
Partnership is holding focus groups in Edinburgh, Dec 5; ‘Promoting Race
equality’ conf, Edinburgh, Dec 8; ‘Radio Morning’ on community radio &
cultural development, Glasgow, Dec 9.


For details on these and more:



Scottish social enterprise Linked Work & Training Trust
Central has won the BURA Best Practice In Regeneration’ award, to be given next


An Ayrshire entrepreneur has urged more disabled people to
take the plunge into business by starting their own companies. Meanwhile the
Disabled Entrepreneurs Network is expanding into Scotland as of 20 November



The bridging loan we arranged with SIS (Social Investment
Scotland) has attracted some interest. 
For your further info we’ve posted the agreement:



Two requests to Senscot last week from ‘customers’ asking us
to help identify a suitable consultant. 
Aidan trawls our consultants list and sends some suggestions.  To put yourself on the list go to



This week’s bulletin profiles one of the presenters at
Senscot’s Annual Conference on Wednesday, Scottish Carnival Arts (SCA), a
unique social enterprise based in Glasgow’s Merchant City. It has a broad
portfolio that includes events, workshops that promote the work of local
artists as well as bringing together local communities with Glasgow’s growing
international community. In recent years, SCA has staged carnivals and
festivals and been involved in many of the city’s successful, ongoing
multicultural events, such as the Knightswood and Eastend Carnivals and the
West End Festival’s street carnival. A highlight has been the ‘Day of the Dead’
early in November that culminated in a fancy dress lantern procession through
the city. More:



Thanks to Alistair McIntosh (author of ‘Soil and Soil) for
sending in a copy of his short talk to an ESF conference in Paris last
week.  I found it ‘uplifting’ and I know
that many of our readers will also.  (


Will Hutton’s piece in Sunday’s Observer, ‘Death of
Community Spirit’, asks, “How far are we prepared to allow every nook and
cranny of our society to be governed by the values of the market place? (



Three good quotes:

 “We carry in our
worlds that flourish, our worlds that have failed” – Christopher Okigbo.

“I knew that I was learning one of the most important
lessons of my life – that instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity – I
should work towards the realisation that every opportunity is perfect” – Susan

             “Entrepreneurs are simply those who
understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and
are able to turn both to their advantage” – Niccolo Machiavelli.


There is some theme which connects these three quotes but I
can’t quite get a hold of it – it’s late – time for bed.


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

Best wishes,



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