Senscot Bulletin: 22-04-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


Returned from Spain on Sunday. Daffodils all flattened by wind and rain – that’s how I feel.  Black moods come from time to time – stay a few days – pass on.  Been waking at 5am – lie watching the light build – the blues take me back to basics – don’t expect much – engage automatic pilot.  Get up – shave – shower – clothes – coffee.  One small step – then another – but you must make each step.  Car’s still there – get in – start engine – drive off – and so on.  Don’t understand these moods – don’t understand anything much – judgement poor – don’t make decisions – stick to simple stuff – painting by numbers.

            Wednesday afternoon hit rock bottom – go to bed with large tub of Haagen Daaz ice-cream – watch film with Doris Day and Frank Sinatra – expect songs – make believe happiness.  No way: Sinatra is bitter writer from the slums – script kills him off in a car crash.  Actually don’t mind – suits my mood.

            Today, Thursday, attend graduation celebration at School for Social Entrepreneurs in Fife.  Great characters – projects – sharing family atmosphere. This is what it’s all about – grass roots stuff – no guff. Arriving back spot two swallows – first arrivals. Watching from my desk – several species of finches have found my bird feeder – spectacular flashes of green and yellow in the sunlight.  Some daffodils trying to stand up. Reckon I’ll start on pile of dirty washing.



A guy called Pete Garcia visited the UK last week – and made a huge impression.  He is President of one of America’s most powerful Community Development Agencies: Chicanos Por La Causa. Here is a short interview. CPLC’s power stems from its financial clout – it has a huge asset base – mostly property.  Pat Conaty of NEF took up this theme last week – highlighting the success of Coin St Community Builders in London, he said: ‘Capital is the most important force for production – not people.  Building an asset base is the way to power.’

            In Scotland there is  resistance to this message, but as we embark on another round of our inevitable ‘partnerships’ – a moment of reflection: the now defunct ‘New Life for Urban Scotland’ Partnerships – set up in just 4 areas – cost £485m. Most researchers agree it was not good value. Imagine if we had endowed each of these 4 areas with a community owned Development Trust – £120m each. Would that not have been better value? As Pete Garcia says, ‘You have to have some kind of locally owned vehicle – with credibility and staying power. When government and local authorities devolve power to local level – that’s when change will come about.’ Should we not be concentrating our resources to ensure that every community that wants one, can have its own Development Trust instead of ‘community planning’. What is it anyway?



The kind of enterprises Senscot enjoys, are the ones which are successfully working with folk ‘on the edge’ – folk finding their way, or their way back. Two such projects have happy news.  Mark Kelly and Duncan McMahon (Subliminal Directions) in Fife who have won the award for best business plan at the Junior Chamber International Scotland annual awards say they used the template on our website. And Galgael in Govan have just received a windfall from SE Glasgow which has enabled them to buy new premises.;



Next Tuesday 26th April, Wendy Alexander is the guest speaker at an EDAS Networking event in the Teacher Building in Glasgow.  Coinciding with the launch of her book, Wendy will speak on ‘The Future of Scotland’ hosted by Ken Symon of The Herald.  I’d like to be at that.



Over the last week, Senscot has been out and about at a series of different events across the country. Early in the week, the Ayrshire Social enterprise Network met for the 4th time, hosting a presentation from Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire. Also, the third Cultural SEN met in Lochgelly with their next meeting due on the 10th May at Out of the Blue in Edinburgh. For further info’, contact



YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 45 vacancies, incl. posts with: Healthy Valleys, Tighean Innse Gall, SACRO, University of Strathclyde, The Highland Council, The Collective Gallery, See me, Scottish Federation, Paul Zealey Associates, The Big Issue. 


EVENTS: BTCV training courses, 23/24 April – 20/21 May; Lothian & Borders Waste Strategy focus groups, 3-13 May; Toonspeak’s AGM, Glasgow, 4 May, Green Futures Environmental Fair, Talamh Life Centre, nr Coalburn, South Lanarkshire, May 7-8; ‘National Standards for Community Engagement’ Conferences, Dundee – 16 May, Glasgow – 18 May, Edinburgh – 20 May 2005; Chamber of Social Enterprise Launch, 11 May, at Tweed Horizons;



Still a steady trickle of folk from across our sector requesting the bulletin – which is encouraging – but there is another job to be done: getting our message into the mainstream. This is one of the most impressive aspects of ‘Jamie’s Kitchen’: its message reaches ‘ordinary people’. Social entrepreneur Liam Black, who left Cats Pyjamas to become director of Jamie’s Fifteen Foundation, has written a piece reflecting on the challenges of the first 6 months start up phase.



Land reform specialist, Andy Wightman, has offered his support to Dunblane community group, Holmehill Ltd, as they try to purchase a historic woodland in their town centre. Although the Executive allows groups to obtain registration after the land is put on sale, Holmehill Ltd have been denied this opportunity. After seeking advice, they are now set to take the Executive to court. The outcome of the court case will have implications for community buy-outs across Scotland. Any support, either financial or legal, would be greatly appreciated. Contact



This week’s bulletin profile features another social enterprise providing outdoor activities in the west of Scotland. Paisley-based Go Country offers a wide range of outdoor adventure training designed to improve personal, team and social development skills. Training packages and activity programmes are designed specifically with groups’ needs and requirements in mind and supervised by fully qualified staff. Go Country is registered with the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). Activities include Hill Walking, Rock Climbing, Abseiling, Mountain Biking, Orienteering, Kayaking, Ski-ing, Fishing, etc. Latest addition is a new indoor climbing wall in Paisley. For info’, see



I like Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bit too intellectual, but his genuineness makes me try harder.  He wrote a piece in Sunday’s Independent which warns that our continued failure to protect our planet could end in violence and social collapse.  Decided to cast my vote for the environment.



Read Saul Bellow’s Herzog on hols last week. Also a bit too academic, but rewarding.  Like the great 19th century novelists, he tries to tell what it’s like being a human being in modern times.  Bellow believed that our modern selves are bombarded, colonised and finally oppressed by the volume of knowledge we receive from TV, film, internet, newspapers, advertising, etc – and that this diminishes our own mental activity. Read, and enjoyed, Ian McEwen’s ‘Saturday’ – another writer concerned with conscience and consciousness, with our need for love, and for some kind of understanding of what it’s all about.  In homage to Bellow, McEwan put a passage from Herzog on the epigraph page of ‘Saturday’ – worth reflecting on.


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


Best wishes,



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