Dear members and friends,
Forgive me for revisiting old news – but I was away last week when the citizens of Glasgow persuaded their council to leave the cone on Wellington’s head; a long established symbol of Weegie disrespect for pretentious authority. My dad grew up in Edinburgh (Lauriston) – my mum in Glasgow (Shettleston); I’ve always been aware that two very different cultures own parts of me. However, my attitude to the structures of power and privilege is West of Scotland – more comfortable outside the tent pi**ing in; leave the cone alone.
I was only away 10 days – but it always surprises me how stimulating it is to step outside our normal life for a spell – how different things can look from a different watch tower. Strange place – without email – my imagination goes ‘walkies’ – exploring strange new adventures. One aspect of growing old is that the urge to ‘make an impression’ recedes (mercifully). I still work part-time – but the explosive energy required to make something out of nothing – that’s gone now; excitement is something I prefer to avoid – there is wisdom in doing as little as possible – ‘let it be’.
I’m home a week – refreshing my to do list: hospital urology appointment – central heating losing pressure – Panda’s MOT due etc. and so we fold around ourselves the familiarities – the consistencies – the friendships that make life tolerable. Today I’ll try to do what needs done – same again tomorrow; that’s enough excitement now. But it’s nice to get away sometimes, isn’t it.
We still have copies of Kindness – Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage; or 2 for £20 – postage paid. Christmas pressies? See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
The Spanish province of Malaga has a population of 1.6 million – and 101 municipalities (the equivalent for Scotland’s population would be around 300). I spend time in a village with 311 voters – but its elected council has significant devolved powers – defined by statute. Some of us want to understand why Scotland won’t adopt this model of local democracy. At Senscot’s annual conference last week, I had the opportunity to ask the Minister, Derek McKay, this very question. From his reply, I formed the impression that he personally would be more comfortable with this general direction than his SNP colleagues. He was at pains to point out that the word ‘subsidiarity’ is now used by this administration – from the First Minister down to civil servants. It would be helpful to understand what they mean by the term. Philosopher, George MacDonald Ross unpicks the origins and usage of the word. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12753
The Guardian social enterprise network is useful – but it fails to fulfil its promise because it tries to please everyone. Someone there needs to put their ‘foot on the ball’ – state clearly the criteria and values which define our sector. An excellent current feature – where 50 kent faces tell what SE means to them – illustrates this confusion. On the left, lots of solid, impressive social entrepreneurs; on the right, private businesses with peripheral good works; in the middle, some mercenaries – who seem to deliberately muddy the waters. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16333 . Eminent charity lawyer Stephen Lloyd recently called for an ‘official definition’ of SE – based on a transparent asset lock. See,
Senscot keeps in touch with Locality – England’s leading community sector intermediary – which sold out its 600 strong convention last week. Speaker Bernadette McAliskey reminded the gathering of Tom Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’ – that authority comes not from on high – neither from monarchs nor governments – but only from the people. Love to have heard her. She also remarked that the ‘hard to reach’ are not the folk in poor housing estates; it’s the politicians in power who are hard to reach. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16330
Three linked pieces: First, the Dutch Govt. has announced that the present level of public services is unaffordable. Citizens will have to do more for themselves – in what they call a ‘participatory society’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16332 . Second, a report from the Carnegie UK Trust predicts the same move towards DIY – and tries to put some flesh on how this would look in ‘The Enabling State’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16331 . Third, an extract from a prescient paper by David Donnison from 2006 – which speaks of a new emerging professional worker – skilled in working with communities and volunteers. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16328.
Sensible Leader in Wednesday’s Guardian saying that in spite of the Co-op bank debacle – the Co-op movement is in robust health– but there are important lessons here. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16334
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: Whiteinch & Scotstoun Housing Association Ltd, TRAM Direct Theatre Company, The Action Group, Govanhill Baths Community Trust, Borders Environmental Education Services (BEES)
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Pop Up Shop, 23 Nov; Illuminated Letters: Literary Heroines, 26 Nov; Dragon’s Pen Event, 27 Nov; Drama Queens, 28 Nov, 2-day SROI Training, 28 Nov; Reading Hour, 29 Nov;
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: We’ve started trawling feedback on last week’s SE Conference and Ceilidh at the Westerwood. You can fill the form in here, https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RW62HPR. We’re delighted that the vast majority of responses have been positive although we are aware a couple of things could have been done differently. Most importantly though, people value the opportunity of getting together; making new connections; and mixing a bit of work and play – which, of course, was the original idea. We’ll have a full report shortly.
For more on The SENs, see http://www.se-networks.net/showupdate.php?articleid=323
Glasgow Caley (Yunus Centre) last week announced the launch of their £2m research programme – “Evidencing social enterprise as a public health and well-being ‘intervention’”. The new 5 year programme will focus on: evaluating SE in health and well-being terms; through empirical research, attribute outcomes to ‘interventions’; and the creation of a knowledge exchange forum. See details, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16317
With a few weeks to go until the deadline for tenders to administer the Lottery-funded Community Shares Support Service for Scotland (deadline for receipt noon on 12th Dec, questions on 6th)– see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16288 , it is timely, therefore, to hear of a community share offer on Mull that will seek to raise £1m bid to generate 40 years of community-owned clean energy on the island. The hydro-electric scheme is being driven by DTA Scotland member, Mull and Iona Community Trust and Sustainable Mull and will see the creation a newly formed Community Benefit Society, Green Energy Mull. We wish them well.
Development Trusts identify themselves by four primary criteria – one of which is generating income through enterprise – see, http://www.dtascot.org.uk/content/what-is-a-development-trust . There are many great examples of this amongst DTA Scotland (DTAS) members – but one particularly innovative one from South Uist catches our eye. The Lochboisdale Amenity Trust (South Uist) has set up a ‘Rent-a-Hen’ scheme – where eggs are collected from local crofts, taken to a packing station and distributed to almost every hotel and shop on the island. It has been such a success that plans to expand the scheme and create new job opportunities are already under way. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16327.
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that highlighted its work during the Showcase session last week’s SE Conference and Ceilidh event. Positive Steps Initiatives (PSI), based in Dundee, is the trading arm of Positive Steps – the health and social well-being charity. PSI offers clients a range of services that include: supported accommodation; enhanced education and research; as well as wider consultancy services. The purpose of PSI, as well as providing the above services, is both to deliver on social impact whilst also creating a sustainable stream of additional income to further develop the work undertaken by its parent company, Positive Steps. For more, see https://senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=16326.
In his influential book ‘What Money Can’t Buy’, Michael Sandel argues that in recent decades we have moved from having a market economy to being a market society. This is the book’s final paragraph
“Democracy does not require perfect equality, but it does require that citizens share in a common life. What matters is that people of different backgrounds and social positions encounter one another, and bump up against one another, in the course of everyday life. For this is how we learn to negotiate and abide our differences, and how we come to care for the common good. And so, in the end, the question of markets is really a question about how we want to live together. Do we want a society where everything is up for sale? Or are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?”
See here final page, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12334
That’s all for this week.
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