Senscot Bulletin 22-06-2007

Dear members and friends,

I got a 6 month driving ban and a £60 fine. Gutted? Back in court yesterday (Thursday) to plead my postponed case……wait my turn – sitting 2 hours with other losers – some scared – some scary – most poor. The black gowns at the top table come and go – clubby – precious – assured. Worlds apart. I adopt a chatty ‘I’m one of you’ approach – wrong move – “Your ban has immediate effect”. Train back to Dalmeny station and phone for a taxi – nothing for an hour – try two other numbers, same story. If it was raining I’d wait in a café – but the sun is trying to shine – something in my mood is penitential – I want to suffer. Set off to walk the 3 miles home.
 Grass verge, bumpy, dirty, littered – not for people. Cars thunder by – hostile steel boxes – our atomised world. Turn down a side lane – this is better – birdsong – trees – no traffic – peace. Pleasant hour trudging country tracks – rest on tree stump watching the local buzzards. Fearsome fourtrack wagon roars up: “What are you doing here?” Rude, aggressive – some sort of gamekeeper. Mock battle dress – guns – dogs – the lot. Find these ‘action men’ sinister like the Ku Klux Klan. I smile sweetly, “I live on the estate – could you please drop me at my cottage?” Ignores this – roars off in his stupid armoured car to find a war. When I gave up smoking and then the drink – I turned against cigarettes and alcohol. I think cars are going to catch it now.

It was announced yesterday that the Social Economy Unit will be integrated into the Scottish Executive Third Sector Team in the Public Service Reform Directorate, which is part of the responsibilities of Director General for Economy, Dr Andrew Goudie. The new Third Sector/Social Economy Team will work across Government as the issues it will be dealing are now seen to be truly cross-cutting.  Integration will take effect immediately in relation to policy development and from early August in relation to staff and budget transfers.

Following the Quirk Report on community ownership of assets and the Governments response: ‘Opening the Transfer Window’ – Ruth Kelly’s Department of Communities and Local Government has produced another excellent document which they call their Third Sector Strategy. The discussion paper’s big idea is the promotion of Community Anchor Organisations; independent, community –led, multi-purpose organisations which provide a sustainable focal point for communities. I think they’ve got this priority exactly right:  Starting with the Home Office’s Firm Foundations in 2004 there have been a dozen reports from English Departments which together advance a coherent policy and strategy for community empowerment. There is a clear line of progression – Ed Miliband’s and Ruth Kelly’s Departments are obviously ‘joined up’ and aligned. If they hold this course, we’re sailing into sunshine. Unfortunately, citizens of Scotland can get no sense that our civil servants are connected to this new community agenda. A distinctive Scottish policy development can benefit from reference to the English process which is much better resourced.

Many of you will be aware that HISEZ has been going through a period of transition. This has been, in part, due to a change in funding but also it has given the board an opportunity to re-assess its role as a deliverer of support services to social enterprises in the Highlands and Islands. This review will see the appointment of a new CEO (advert next week) and will see a more focussed approach to business development support to enterprises in the pre-Gateway category.  As these services are also under review in lowland Scotland (last week’s bulletin) there will be opportunities for partnership working.

Rocket Science is looking for some assistance from our sector in producing clear and practical recommendations to the Scottish Executive on how to enhance the business support service in Lowland Scotland. As part of their current research, they developed a self-assessment scorecard that will allow social enterprises to describe their perception of current provision, its strengths and weaknesses and how it could be improved. If you could you spare the time to complete the scorecard ( and return it to them, it would be a big help.

Couple of final places available for our AGM on Wednesday 27th June. If you’d like to come along , contact  Here’s the agenda for the day.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 

JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: MDV Ltd, Scottish Community Foundation, The Advocacy Project, Changeworks, Scottish Executive,

EVENTS: 10 events, incl. SME recycling collections seminar, Stirling, 27 June; Project Ability, short animations screening, 7 July, Glasgow; CRNS More then Furniture Conference, August 30, Glasgow;

Pass IT On collects donated computers, adapts them and gives them to people with disabilities in the Edinburgh (EH) postcode area. It’s having a sale of surplus refurbished IT, next Saturday, 30th June:

Network member Jackie Agnew from HomeAid, West Lothian, received an MBE this week for services to recycling reuse. HomeAid has been supporting individuals and families in West Lothian for over 20 years – before recycling became fashionable. Congratulations to Jackie and her team.

This week’s bulletin profiles an organization that has been on the go for nearly 200 years and is looking towards social enterprise as a means of generating additional income for their work and also to generate employment for young people in Dundee. Carolina House Trust, while still offering social care to young people, is now developing a wider range of services. As well as Supported Tenancies and a Furniture Project, they are now working on operating a Storage Space on a commercial basis. They also will be launching the Caroline 1815, a 42 sloop that will be offering expedition sailing around Northern Scotland. For further info’, see

Enjoying David Boyle’s ‘The Tyranny of Numbers’ – which asserts that we are all taking measuring too seriously at the expense of what is non-measurable: intuition, creativity, imagination, happiness. Two good quotations:
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, ‘The Little Prince’: “Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you’ve made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘what does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: “If it cannot get beyond its vast abstractions, the national income, the rate of growth, capital/output ratio, input/output analysis, labour mobility, capital accumulation; if it cannot get beyond all this and make contact with human realities of poverty, frustration, alienation, despair, breakdown, crime, escapism, stress, congestion, ugliness and spiritual death, then let us scrap economics and start afresh.”

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

Best wishes.

To receive this bulletin directly, you can sign up here:
Laurence’s book, ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ is available See: