Senscot Bulletin: 22-07-2005


(Going out weekly to over 2600; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,

Dear members and friends,

Up to St Andrews on Saturday for the Open – a great wee town.  Sort of old fashioned – with its yooni, and cathedral ruins – but it still has proper shops – a great beach – and the Fifers are sound, down to earth folk. The women in Mitchell’s the butchers were discussing the summer medal and their handicaps – there can’t be another town in the world so given over to the ‘gowf’
 Jack Nicklaus and I were both born in 1940 so I was interested in his decision last week to chuck golf – because over the past year I seem to have made the same decision.  Its partly physical decrepitude but it also started to seem a bit childish – our absorption with the game.  I suppose it’s all part of growing up – moving on – somehow sad.  But getting older has compensations – more confidence/poise and it seems to become easier to own up to aspects of ourselves lurking in our unconscious – reclaim banished bits.  Some old people who have done this seem lighter – more playful. A kind of earned innocence – as worthy of honour as that of children.
 On Saturday at pay kiosk into the old course they wanted £45. Outraged – no way.  Found a crowd control barrier up a side street and practised getting over it.  When I had the movements I walked round the boundary fence to a remote spot.  But waiting for steward to look away I got too excited – took a dizzy turn – had to pay (£35 OAP concession).  Every time I saw someone louping the fence I was livid. Felt like `shopping` them.

Increasingly I find myself describing what we all do in our work in terms of building social capital – the networks of civic friendship so fundamental to community life. Lewis Feldstein, a leading US civic activist, was in Durham last week telling regeneration professionals; ‘If you are not focussing on how to build social capital, you are far less likely to be effective.’ He said that in communities where social capital is higher people are happier, wealthier and feel safer. Things like schools, government – and the economy works better. ‘The statutory sector needs to rethink its targets and spending priorities to make social capital an explicit part of strategies. You have to build it into what you measure – because what we measure is what we do.’

Some time ago, when the Department of Trade and Industry started mapping social enterprises in the UK, the total was assumed to be around 5000 – with a notional 10% (500 enterprises) in Scotland. The DTI’s most recent work suggests that the UK number is nearer 15,000 – three times what they thought. Senscot operates on the assumption that there are probably around 3000 social enterprises in Scotland – it’s a matter of definition – and then finding them.
  In his piece last week, Alistair Grimes suggested that the Scottish social enterprise sector, trading businesses, would benefit from being distinct in policy and practical terms from the wider, grant dependent voluntary sector. Stephen Maxwell argued that these distinctions are false. This issue is the current topic of our website’s new `feedback` page. There have already been some interesting views – we’ll let it run for a bit. Check it out.
On Friday 05 August at 10.30 at 54 Manor Place, Les Huckfield is convening the first meeting of the nine or so organisations with which he has been in contact about their possible participation in providing services as part of the new NHS Complaints System.  Diane Henderson from CESEL will chair the meeting and Les will be sending out papers at the beginning of next week.  He says that there is still space for other interested organisations to join those which have already expressed an interest and they are welcome to attend.  If you need further info` or would like Les to send you the papers, contact him on
Last October, Senscot ran a workshop with Ernesto Sirolli. You might be interested in checking out this new
Website –
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: 60 vacancies, incl. posts with: South Lanarkshire Credit Union, Tayside Re-use & Refurbishment Group, Circles around Dundee, Art in Healthcare, The Initiative- Gorbals, Bield Housing Association Ltd.
Social Firms are looking for consultants to tender for a contract to undertake an impact assessment on the work SFS has done to develop social firms and social enterprises. Further details

EVENTS: Edinburgh Green Drinks, July 27, Social Enterprise Academy information and ‘taster’ event, Kibble, 27 July; Social Enterprise Academy information and ‘taster’, event, Aberdeen, August 10; 1st Festival of Politics, Edinburgh, Aug 24-26; More Than Furniture Conference 2005, CRNS, Perth, 26 Aug; ‘Making Knowledge Work’, social capital conference, Stirling, 25-28 Oct.
The Social Enterprise Academy now has confirmed dates for all 5 programme information events taking place through out Scotland, during July and August. Please contact them on 0131 220 533 for more details or visit their website –
We recently posted an article by Matthew Pike about tackling relative poverty in the UK. Matthew is a visionary social entrepreneur and is the engine behind the campaign to channel £1.5bn into communities from the dormant accounts held by banks. He has established a Commission to review how the money can be invested to achieve the most impact. Take a look at the team he has assembled – getting this lot together is itself an achievement.
This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social enterprise in Dundee, the Ardler Village Trust (AVT). AVT is an independent charity and limited company set up by a partnership that includes local residents, local churches, the Ardler Complex, Dundee City Council and Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association. Its objective is to develop projects that tackle community, environmental and economic issues that affect the community in Ardler and intends to ensure that local people can shape the future of Ardler in a sustainable, innovative and democratic way. The Trust is already involved in a number of initiatives that cover education, recreation, employment, the environment and housing. For further info`, see (project profiles)
For the first time that we’re aware of, our First Minister, Jack McConnell, has spelt out in plain language that the voluntary sector in Scotland is to assume a bigger role in the delivery of services. Speaking at Barnardos Annual Conference, he said, ‘We are moving away from a reliance on state delivery towards a much more flexible model of provision. And, within that model, the voluntary sector has got a big role to play. I want to see this balance continue to shift, with the voluntary sector taking more responsibility for the delivery of services.’ I wonder if he says the same thing to the private sector?
The American poet Gary Snyder used to jump about with Ginsberg and Kerouac – the Beat poets. He’s 75 now and lives in a remote ranch in the Sierra Nevada.  His work has always been concerned with ecological issues and I enjoyed a recent interview.
 ‘The Bush administration has made it clear that it wants the Environmental Protection Agency to be on the side of business.  The fox is in the chicken run and the fox is the oil industry.  As oil prices rise, I foresee a period of turmoil and turbulence and probably dictatorships.  People and subcultures who have the flexibility and know how to slip through this will do so.  If you can stay put – don’t move.  That doesn’t mean don’t travel – it means have a place and get involved in what can be done in that place.  Learn to be more self reliant – reduce your desires – and take care of yourself and your family.’

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

Best wishes,

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