Senscot Bulletin: 22.04.16

Dear members and friends,

            April weather has been miserable – I’ve cut the grass but the temperature has mostly keep me indoors.  I paid £6 in Aldi for a perennial sweet pea plant but I think the cold has done for it; planting suspended.  I seem to be more impatient this year for the return of the sun’s warmth: “Nothing is so beautiful as spring – when weeds in wheels shoot long and lovely and lush.”  It’s comin’ folks – it’s comin’.
          Lunch in garden centre café today – a warm friendly buzz – good homemade broth – reading my book.  In a sheltered corner, behind a showcase, I notice a young woman is quietly sobbing; she’s in her thirties, well dressed, but in some distress.  Cissie, who’s clearing tables today, has youngsters that age – is also kind and sensible; I encourage her to go over.  Seems to work – after 5 minutes the girl gets it together – heads off with a brave smile. While I think about her I remember that I too have sobbed in that café; another story.
            I came across this quote from James Joyce, and though I’m not sure what he means, (from Ulysses!) it has ‘stalked’ me all week.  “Every life is in many days, day after day.  We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers in love.  But always meeting ourselves.”  Does Joyce mean that we each contain multiple people within ourselves; or that whomsoever we encounter – we experience as aspects of ourself.  It must be something like that.


I read all of Nicola Sturgeon’s manifesto speech – the SNP does not consider the Scottish electorate as radical as some hope: there is much to like in the speech – to examine and debate later – but the dominant vibe was competence, safety, security.  The launch event itself showcased the SNPs formidable campaign machine; bit too slick for me, no other party is near them – the Scots know fine the mess an over dominant party can get itself into.  I’m a big ‘yes’ voter – for whom the economics are secondary – but Nicola’s right – we need to persuade another 15% of Scot’s.  The problem could be, that while competence, safety and security are highly desirable, they don’t drive social movements – don’t get folk out on the streets.


For communities of place to prosper, they require effective local democracy – which must include control of the structures of their local economy.  Such structures can be community enterprises and co-operatives – the ownership of land and buildings – even individual and family businesses can be woven into local sustainability.  Community Shares Scotland (CSS) has announced an exciting new Community Benefit Company in Dingwall which intends to develop Scotland’s first community owned whisky distillery.  At £1.5m the scale of this venture marks a new level for CSS – opening the community shares model to whole new possibilities.


I’m one of thousands of Scots who have ‘nearly’ switched from a mainstream bank (first direct) to a credit union (mutual ethical banking).  I tell myself I’m waiting for credit unions to match internet and phone banking services.  Glasgow is already the UK’s credit union capital and across Scotland last year, 250 people joined each week.  I could start by switching my savings account.


On Sunday evenings at 7pm I watch Countryfile – have done so as long as I can remember – but it was a surprise to learn that it is now one of the country’s most popular TV programmes – with 8.7 million viewers.  They just seem such an honest cheerful bunch – big Adam in his wellies – blonde Ellie’s big smile… Simon Jenkins says that this 8 million constituency makes Countryfile a powerful political lobby on behalf of rural affairs.

When in 2008, taxpayers around the world had to ‘save’ the moneymarkets – it was the end of the neoliberal vision of the world order – bust; but free market capitalism persists as a ‘zombie’ system, awaiting replacement.  Following Paul Mason’s ‘Post Capitalism’ comes ‘Inventing the future’ by Srnicek and Williams; another glimpse at how our high-tech future will eliminate the need for work.  Central to any understanding of an orderly inclusive future is the concept of the universal citizen wage – which continues to attract advocates and supporters.  I’m trying to believe it could work.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: WHALE Arts, Crossroads Community Hub, The Scottish Afghan Society, Kilmartin Museum Trust, Balfron Dev Trust, Impact Arts (Projects) Ltd, Strange Town, The Pitstop Loganlea Miners Welfare
EVENTS: InstALL, 23 Apr; Northern Streams 2016, 24 Apr; Advanced Leadership Practice, 25 Apr; Girl Rising – Special Screening Event with Q&A, 25 Apr; Everyday Lives and Kinder Communities, 26 Apr;
TENDERS: Provision of Services for Glasgow’s ESF Employability Pipeline and Youth Employment Initiative, Mental Health Counselling Service for Adults with Mild/Moderate Mental Health Problems, Circular Economy Support Framework – Zero Waste Scotland and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes:  The Employability SEN met for the second time in Glasgow this week. Around 45 members attended to hear from Joanne Farrow (Scottish Govt) on the Govt’s current thinking on future employability services in Scotland – including updates on last year’s consultation and outlining the ‘Scottish Approach’. Joanne also highlighted some of the challenges being faced and welcomed further dialogue with the third sector including the Third Sector Employability Forum (TSEF) and the Employability SEN on addressing these. Alistair Cameron (TSEF) provided an update on the Third Sector Employability Forum and Margaret Wallace (SCVO) on the changes in Phase 6 of Community Jobs Scotland. Further update available soon. For more on the Employability SEN, contact Jayne (SFS) or Kim


Last week’s piece on Strathclyde University’s guide on the policy proposals of the respective Parties in our up-and-coming election proved hugely popular – so we’re running it for another week. See ‘online tool’.


This time last year, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) launched their Community Capital Fund – and raised around £400k from 27 private investors. This week, SIS announced the seven recipients of this investment fund. Pauline Hinchion (SCRT) comments: “ This is encouraging news – particularly as it backs up SCRT research in two specific areas: a) CDFIs need to be making cheaper loans available to the sector; and b) there is clearly a demand in the sector for smaller loans with five of the seven recipients receiving £50k or less.”


Bookings are now open for Community Enterprise’s event on Friday 24th June. –  ‘Where Community Meets Enterprise: The nature and scale of "community enterprise" within Scotland’s growing family of social enterprises. A debate and a celebration’. Many community-based enterprises focus serving and re-investing profit in their own communities – with limited aspiration to grow outwith their core purpose and local area. This event will ‘celebrate’ the critical role they play in local communities. To sign up, see Booking Form


This is the draft programmefor the Third Annual Hutters Rally – which will take place on 10th May 2016 at St Bryce’s Kirk, Kirkcaldy.  Following the achievement of an historic change in Scottish planning policy – the ‘Thousand Huts Campaign’ is preparing to take its movement to the next level.  I can imagine that the construction and management of hut sites will attract social enterprise start-ups.  On May 10th, Lesley Riddoch will compare Scotland’s huts with Norway’s ‘huttes’ – and she’s hosting the plenary session.


This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise, based in Cowie near Stirling that was established to providing employment opportunities at a time when the local coal mining industry was coming to an end. Cowie Panel Processors Ltd (CPP), originally known as Cowie Woodcutters Ltd, was set up in 1988 with the intention of manufacturing packaging materials for use in the wood panel industry. All CPP’s profits are allocated for use within the local community for various initiatives such as adult learning programmes, a bursary scheme for local students and support services for senior citizens. CPP’s packaging is produced almost exclusively for Norbord Ltd, who have their European headquarters in Cowie, and they currently employ over 20 staff from the local community.


When Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 (aged 44), he was half-way into a novel about a Hollywood mogul called Monroe Stahr – ‘The Last Tycoon’. In the text, someone asks the secret of the hero’s success:


“I’m afraid Stahr could never have answered that one; for the embryo is not equipped with memory. But I could answer a little. He had flown up very high to see, on strong wings, when he was young. And while he was up there he had looked on all the kingdoms, with the kind of eyes that can stare straight into the sun. Beating his wings tenaciously – finally frantically – and keeping on beating them, he had stayed there longer than most of us, and then, remembering all he had seen from his great height of how things were, he had settled gradually to earth”.


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




Subscribe to this bulletin:


To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail


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