Dear members and friends,
I have lived 6 years on this big country estate – thousands of acres and generations of titled folk – but they leave us in peace; I love my cottage and its surroundings – no desire to move. Directly opposite is 40 metres of ancient wall, fringed by an ugly strip of weeds; so on sunny days, I have been out taming this strip into a cultivated border of shrubs and wild flowers. I enjoy the ‘achieve’ of it. Last Friday I get a phone call from a new chap in the estate office – ”the fringe is not part of your lease – you are to remove the border – her ladyship doesn’t like it.” I was livid – I don’t want a tenancy subject to the whim of someone who won’t even speak to me. I’ll remove myself first.
I spent Easter 1980 on Eigg – when the island was still the fiefdom of its autocratic owner; I saw first hand the neglect of the environment – the demoralisation of the residents. If we are to make a good society, the relationship between communities and the places they live is fundamental; the ownership of land needs to be dispersed. Scotland’s massive hereditary estates symbolise a ruling class which our society has outgrown. The conversion of Eigg to community ownership – its subsequent flourishing – points the way forward for Scotland. ”Her ladyship doesn’t like it” no longer seems good enough. Problem is I really like it here – maybe some compromise is possible – don’t know what to do.
I wasn’t at Monday’s launch of the govt’s new third sector development programme – but John Swinney’s reported remarks were right on the button. The new measures are for the whole third sector – but Swinney makes clear that govt policy prioritises social enterprise and business readiness. When, however, it come to the local third sector interfaces, the policy falls down; the influence and the resources are going to Councils of Voluntary Service – many of which have not modernised – and, in some areas, continue to resist the social enterprise networks. Senscot is assisting the flow of information to govt about the uneven interpretation of policies across the country. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11292
Senscot was one of the moving forces behind the establishment in 2003, of the Development Trust Association in Scotland. Rather than start from scratch – DTAS opted to become an independent sister of the English Association – mainly because of how relaxed its director Steve Wyler was with devolved Scottish autonomy. Steve, who remains one of the UK’s leading champions of local empowerment, has written an essay called ”A new Moral World” which I highly recommend. He traces the philosophy of the DTA movement to the self-governing, co-operative communities of Robert Owens; contrasts it with the state-led, centralist model of ‘socialism’ which superseded it. In Scotland it could be seen that DTAS and COSLA symbolise community power and municipal power – now looking to find common ground. See Steve’s essay, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11290
J.P Morgan (USA Bank) has produced a report on Impact Investment: ”intended to create positive social or environmental impact beyond financial return”. The report says that these constitute a new ‘asset class’ with estimated profit opportunity of 500 billion dollars over the next decade. This of course is private sector activity and should not be confused with our world. But the ‘new asset class’ language is very similar to that of Ronald Cohen and other advisers to the UK Govt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Big Society Bank embraces private sector activity – a conscious blurring of boundaries. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11300
Senscot’s September seminar – looking at how social enterprise is evolving – continues to attract ‘think pieces’, this one from Alan Kay, a long time champion of Scotland’s community business movement. Alongside social and environmental impact – Alan places cultural impact, as the third aim of social enterprise. He views economic activity, not as an aim in itself, but as the central means of achieving the triple aims. See Alan’s paper, http://www.senscot.net/seminar.php
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: Migrants Support Services, Fair Deal, Social Enterprise Academy, Equality Network, Action for Children, Scottish Government, Moray SEN, Scottish Community Safety Network
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Notice Event, 27 Jul, Advocacy Providers Consultation Event, 27 Jul, What you need to know about contracts, 5 Aug, CEiS Annual Conference 7 Sep, Measuring Social Impact. 21 Sep
TENDERS: Construction of a UEFA/FIFA 1 Synthetic 3G Pitch in Argyll, Consultancy for Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator, Production of a Public Perception Study of Wildness in Scotland, Photovoltaic Installations in Glasgow
NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: It’s almost 8 years to the day since I started here at Senscot. Things have moved on significantly. Most people don’t just know what a social enterprise is now – many want to BE a social enterprise. DTAS, a fledging organisation at that time, now heads up a powerful membership of community ownership and is leading the charge on Community Assets. There are now 25 local and thematic Social Enterprise Networks (almost 300 members), with their own bespoke legal structure (a co-operative with the option of charitable status); a collective turnover in excess of £200 million, with thousands of employees, trainees and volunteers that are now a vital and growing asset for Scotland’s economy and public service delivery. Nothing like this level of connected, peer-to-peer engagement amongst social enterprises exists outside of Scotland. It’s been a pleasure to work in a complex, yet fascinating sector and I couldn’t have worked for a better organisation in doing so. Here’s wishing you every success for the journey ahead! For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=200
I continue to collect info about co-housing projects around Scotland – and attach links to an initiative called Bodhi at Burntisland, Fife (Buddhist inspired). We need a website which collates and compares this growing body of knowledge – legal, financial, architectural – and perhaps most importantly philosophical because this is a values based movement. http://www.bodhi-eco-project.org.uk/
Personally I’m not a fan of franchising – particularly among the SE community – but if you’re thinking of replicating your business, there is much you can learn from specialists in this field. Firstport is hosting a one day practical workshop (with franchising experts AMO Consulting) that will help you better understand the pros and cons. See details, http://senscot.org/docs/FranchisingGoodBusiness.pdf
The Scottish Govt wants to encourage SEs into the delivery of certain services – because there are some jobs which we are simply best at. But there is no comparison to the situation in England – where privatisation is intended to radically change the public sector. Here Philip Blond (Big Society guru) and Brendan Barber (TUC official) discuss the changes which are underway. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11303
In my twenties (1960s) I was a youth worker – retain an enduring respect for good youth work – heroic. Something called ‘The Space’ in North Berwick, has caught my eye, Adrian Girling and friends seem to have embraced the social enterprise model – sustainable youth work! Worth watching. http://www.thespacenb.co.uk/ Senscot is supporting an emerging ‘Youth’ thematic SE Network – Kim says its building momentum. The young people are coming together on the 15th August to discuss creating their own organisation – like the Commission for youth social enterprise which they visited in England; if your interested contact Kim@senscot.net
Still on the subject of making youth work sustainable – MY Adventure is an exciting new Social Enterprise set up by Muirhouse Youth Development Group (MYDG) providing high quality and highly enjoyable urban and outdoor activities in the Edinburgh area. MY Adventure seeks to ensure that outdoor activities, sports, urban cycling, camping & bike maintenance are fun, safe and accessible to all groups. They can tailor courses, group work programmes, sports and outdoor activities in the Edinburgh area to the needs, abilities, budget of groups or organisations. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11299
From Tony Judt’s excellent book ‘I’ll Fare’s the Land’.
”Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling of a legislative act: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no casy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.”
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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