Senscot Bulletin: 22.02.19

I spend too much time reviewing my past (an age thing); e.g. why did I allow so few people close enough to share my life. We now understand better, that our individual capacity to ‘attach’ is ‘given to us’ in the earliest days/weeks/months of infancy; the success of this initial ‘attachment’ influences subsequent relationships – but we’ll never know how much this applies to ourselves. Those of us who hold back in fear from love’s ‘threshing-floor’: “pass into a seasonless world, where we will laugh, but not all of our laughter – and weep, but not all of our tears” (see end piece). My own ‘match time’ approaches the final whistle and, although I’ve scored the odd goal, I wonder how much ‘I have left on the pitch’.

            I’m revisiting the memoir of someone who ‘left nothing on the pitch’. In 2003, a Swedish TV presenter, Ulla-Carin Lindqvist, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of motor neuron disease – and died within a year; she was married with four children and, at their instigation, she kept a diary of her final months. Her tiny volume: ‘Rowing Without Oars’, its quietness, its courage, its lucidity – is a glorious depiction of what it means to be human.

            Reflecting on the people whom she dreads coming to visit her, and those who give her strength – Lindqvist writes: “Perhaps the most important people are those who dare to come close enough, to share both pain and pleasure”. That says so much to me: ’The daring to get close enough’.


Senscot annual invite for financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin – has a couple of weeks left. 90 individuals have signed up so far as full company members – target is 100 – all giving an average of £25. Senscot’s board is elected by and is accountable to these members. We also invite donations from organisations (associate members) who simply want to support what we do (amounts between £5 and £500). To join ordonate, see members page.


Labour contested the last UK election (2017) on a thrilling manifesto for social justice; a radical alternative strategy which would transform the UK. Despite the non-stop barrage of hostility, Jeremy Corbyn is a rare and inspirational leader (thrice elected); Labour MPs who don’t share his politics are free to leave and form a new centrist grouping, with Tories and whoever else. On Brexit, Corbyn believes that the political climate of the EU is on the right – and would obstruct the Labour manifesto around areas like nationalisation, state subsidies, fiscal deficit etc. This blog, from the excellent Social Europe, argues that he’s wrong – and would be better positioned as part of a pan-European leftist agenda – following another referendum.


I have no relationship with social media (that I’m aware of?!) but as Facebook celebrates its 15th birthday, it’s clear that lawmakers around the world want to rein in the incredible power of its data collection. (A Commons Report this week warns that UK electoral law is vulnerable). Any censoring of the public domain smacks of dictatorship – hesitation is understandable – but as Simon Jenkins writes: “because finding the right balance is difficult, is no reason not to try; one thing is for sure, in the years to come, the present stumbling, inept steps towards regulating cyberspace will seem laughable”.


I wake each day to BBC Radio Scotland; Thought for the Day on Tuesday was from Alastair McIntosh, a Quaker, writer, thinker, activist. He talks about increasing theft from supermarkets – then quotes radical Catholic social teaching: that an individual, desperate for food, is morally justified in taking it from the riches of others. (‘viva la revolucion’). My own view is that there is enough food in the system to feed everyone, including those who, at any particular time, have no money. How can we get adequate nourishment to everyone, with minimum fuss – that’s the challenge. Read Alastair’s remarks.


Since the 1960s ‘new age’ counterculture, I often visit Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet; The language can be a bit ‘formal’, (published in 1923) but his philosophical/spiritual insights endure. Here the poet on Love.

“But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all your laughter, and weep, but not all your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not, nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.”

This week we publish the most recent in our series of Senscot Briefings – Social Enterprise: Creating Wellbeing in Communities. With a programme of public health reform currently underway in Scotland, this Briefing aims to demonstrate the existing contribution of social enterprise in improving health and wellbeing via social and community activities, and to highlight the valuable role social enterprise can play in working with others to address the complex health challenges faced in communities across Scotland. 

This work is typified via three key themes – ‘Social Connections’; ‘Space & Place’; and ‘Collaboration & Partnerships’ – which also reflect themes of the Christie Commission of ‘partnership, participation and prevention’. Also included are case studies with summaries of the services and activities of four SEN members in this area: Grassmarket Community Project (Edinburgh); Transition Extreme (Aberdeen); Centrestage (Kilmarnock); and Lorn Healthy Options (Oban). See all 12 previous Senscot Briefings.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.

Update: Our Football event – scheduled for at Firhill Stadium in Glasgow on 21st March – is being pushed back. Further to discussions with the SFA and others, we have agreed to move the event back a month or two. Thanks to all of you who showed an interest in attending. We’ll be in touch soon – with a new date.


Community Resources Network Scotland (CRNS) was established in 2004 as a membership-led organisation to act as the ‘voice of the sector’ in its commitment to zero waste and a more circular economy. Last week, CRNS published a recent survey of its 123 members – that gives a comprehensive overview of activity amongst the members – including core stats; the range of services being delivered; and the challenges being faced across the network. The Report will inform CRNS’ strategic planning over the next three years.


InspirAlba has worked with partners to establish a Scottish connection in a new European-wide initiative aimed at individuals and organisations interested in developing and sustaining their rural communities using the social enterprise model. The programme – Village Social Enterprise learning material, guidance and networking (VISENet) – involves partners from across Europe who are engaged or interested in social enterprise activity – with the aim of sharing skills, knowledge and expertise. InspirAlba is also looking to include rurally-based Scottish SENs in the programme. See VISENet Press Release.


The Rural Housing Annual Conference takes place today in Birnam and is sponsored by one of the few remaining Mutuals in the UK – the Ecology Building Society (EBS). EBS, already active in a series of community-led housing initiatives, may fit the bill for other communities – in view of the reported explosion in interest in the purchase of community land/assets etc. If interested, contact


This week’s bulletin profiles a cultural initiative, based in Glasgow, that seeks to promote excellence of opportunity through creative learning, ensuring diverse and marginalised potential is discovered, nurtured and supported. Articulate Hub exists to support access and participation in creative practices for children, young people and adults who have less chance to engage in creative activity and yet have the greatest potential to benefit from doing so. Their specialist focus supports improvements across a spectrum of issues: well-being and confidence; access and engagement; achievement and attainment; creative learning, training and skills development; enterprise and employability – with their goal being the positive impact the arts and creative learning can have on education, the economy and society.