March brought me some kind of ‘infection’, which has ‘taken hold’; been confined to house/bed for a couple of weeks – low level flu symptoms – physically and mentally depleted. Because they’re so easy to read, I’ve returned to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series of books; captivated again.
For information, Reacher is a former major in the US army’s military police – who now leads a nomadic life, roaming the USA, having adventures. He’s a towering slab of muscle – six feet five inches and seventeen stones – invincible. He has no address – travels with only a toothbrush – is totally unconcerned about money – never refuses a request for assistance. In ‘Never Go Back’, Reacher says: “I think ninety-nine of us grow up to love the camp-fire, and one grows up to hate it. Ninety-nine of us, to fear the howling wolf and one of us to envy it. And I’m that guy”. We’re reminded of an ‘epic’ manner of story-telling, thousands of years old; about mythic, archetypal characters. While Reacher is ultimately ‘moral’ – a good guy – his violence makes him close to being a bad guy. I’ve read every one of the 23 Jack Reacher books.
Next week, all being well, I’ll return to normal – to the moral confusion of the real world, where goodness and badness shade into each other by fine degrees; but this week I’m on sick leave – in a world where ordinary people stand for truth and decency – and Jack Reacher beats the sh** out of the bad guys.
We have now concluded our annual call for donations to support the production of this Bulletin. 120 individuals have signed up as full members – with 29 organisations signing up as associates. Please check if you’re name’s on the list – and, if not, please let us know. Many thanks to everyone who has donated – your support is appreciated. For info’, Senscot will be holding its 19th AGM in Glasgow on 24th May 2019.
I thought Wednesday evening was the worst speech Theresa May has ever made – almost unhinged. The Brexit shambles has squandered her authority and composure – but now she was abandoning responsibility for the mess; which makes her deluded. Increasingly, I find myself enjoying the Brexit commentary of Fintan O’Toole, of the Irish Times (a shared disdain for the English ruling class). This piece is a merciless examination of what drives Theresa May: “Her obsessional monomania for political power shaped the whole Brexit debate – the prioritisation of her own grip of office”. If O’Toole’s got it right – this woman will not leave quietly.
At one time, the ownership of land went to the most violent or cunning; this has left Scotland with one of the most antiquated and dysfunctional patterns of land ownership in the world. But a new, major review by the Scottish Land Commission is calling for radical reforms to the rules – towards land being more owned and used for the common good. Green MSP, Andy Wightman said this week that land reform has only tinkered at the edges – but if Scottish Ministers approve these recommendations, we can begin to challenge the centuries-long dominance of landed power.
The spectacular success of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) came from a fundamental change of direction – from prosecuting to ‘helping’ offenders; the understanding that change is more likely within a caring human relationship. The appointment of the VRU’s Karyn McCluskey, to lead Community Justice Scotland, changes the conversation about the prevention of offending – to embrace worldwide best practice. This is the context of a visit to Scotland last week of two American judges – advocates of courts treating people with more respect; particularly with regard to the introduction of new ‘mental health’ courts.
Either I’ve never known, or I’ve forgotten, where J.D. Salinger got the title for ‘Catcher in the Rye’.
“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be”.
Senscot, in partnership with Edinburgh Social Enterprise, will be hosting a Cultural and Health SEN meeting in Edinburgh next Thursday, 28th March – the final SEN event of 2018/19. It’s been another busy year of SEN activity – that has included the following highlights. Senscot’s core work still has a major focus on support and developing the 17 Local SENs (900 members) and 6 Thematic (450 members) – as best we can. During 2019/20, we will continue to participate in a series Govt/Agency-led Advisory Groups that include Creative Industries; Changing Lives through Sport; and Public Health Reform. In addition to these, the thematic SENs will continue to work with others on specific issues such as Loneliness and Social Isolation; Mental Health and Wellbeing; Health Inequalities; Community cafes; Cinema/film; Heritage and Tourism. Some of the progress made in these policy areas has been highlighted via our bi-monthly Senscot Briefings. The final Briefing for this year – Social Enterprise and the Heritage sector – will be available next week.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
A new round of Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) is now underway. Since its launch in 2011, CJS has seen over 8000 jobs created across Scotland’s third sector. The programme, administered by SCVO, is now looking to create a further 700 jobs between now and March 2020 – and is actively seeking employers for this year’s programme to provide young unemployed people – particularly those who are more disadvantaged in the labour market – with job opportunities. If you are interested , see further details .
The Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) was set up in 2004 – with the original remit of providing ‘action learning’ support to social entrepreneurs. Over the years, SEA has evolved into a provider of a series of personal development, leadership and entrepreneurship programmes – that include a raft of international ‘hubs’. Possibly its outstanding achievement over the years, however, has been its ‘SE in Education’ programme – reaching over 1000 schools across Scotland – giving young people the opportunity to experience social enterprise as part of their education. Their SE in Education Awards take place in June.
Brexit could be ‘the straw that breaks rural Scotland’s back’ – according to research just released by the charity, Scottish Rural Action. It claims that a historical over-reliance on EU citizens (freedom of movement) and EU funding streams, is already affecting economic viability of rural and island areas. Separately, an article in the Stornoway Gazette reports on the convening of a group, specifically to address the problems of sparsely populated areas – such as affordable housing, employment opportunities and access to services. As well as Community Land Scotland, others involved are DTA Scotland, Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Scottish Govt – as part of its 2018 Programme for Government – is committed to developing a new five-year Climate Change Adaptation Programme for Scotland. It has now begun a consultation process – seeking views on what should be included in the Programme: its vision, outcomes, sub-outcomes and the policies required to deliver on these. Closing date is Tuesday 9th April 2019.
This week’s bulletin profiles a healthcare service in Glasgow that provides an online platform for the remote delivery of personalised healthcare. Giraffe Healthcare (CIC) – a spin out from Glasgow Caley University – has been designed for people who have difficulty accessing traditional face-to-face clinical services because of work commitments, rural location, specific cultural and language issues, transport problems, mobility limitation, or significant symptoms such as fatigue. With many SEs and third sector organisations offering a range of services but, at times, unable to provide the service to all their clients who might benefit, Giraffe Healthcare hopes to offer a solution thorough the remote delivery of clinical services that will bring benefit to patients and service providers alike.