Senscot Bulletin: 23.01.09

Dear members and friends,

 In Scottish Review this week, Kenneth Roy contrasts the reactions of Glaswegian’s to two street sculptures.  The statue of Donald Dewar at the top of Buchanan Street – so abused that its pedestal had to be raised out of harms way (twice); and at the bus station round the corner – a statue of a young couple kissing which stands on the pavement with no pedestal – yet is treated with utmost respect.  Roy says: ‘The young lovers remind us of ourselves – the people we are – the people we were – the people we wanted to be – they are left alone’.  He doesn’t see attacks on Dewar’s statue as personal – simply a reflection of the general public disdain for politicians.
 I thought of this on `Obama Day` – over a million people standing in the freezing cold to hail their new chief – a great wave of joy and hope.  Made me think how demoralised our democracy has become – self seeking politicians remote from citizens.  But we have a new benchmark now.  A leader has stepped onto the world stage who believes that politics is a high calling – to serve with humility – rich and poor alike.  He asks us to find meaning in something greater than self interest – this is what we’ve been waiting for – a new role model for our young people.  It’s not my nature to allow optimism to visit very often – but on Tuesday I felt the audacity of hope.  With many across the world I shed a few quiet tears.  It was great.

Well attended conference this week in Glasgow (see looked at the interface between the Third and Public sectors – with local councils looking to convert some of their services to the social enterprise model.  This begs the question – ”what is a social enterprise?” – because our community shares boundaries with the Public, Private and Voluntary sectors – sometimes poorly defined.  Senscot would like to lead a discussion in Scotland about these boundaries – in the context of a UK wide mark of accreditation for social enterprises – but Scottish Government has declined to support this.  Whenever they speak, government ministers John Swinney and Jim Mather make clear their enthusiasm for social enterprise – as a business model distinct from charitable activity – but their civil servants act to blur this distinction.  If the decision of our Government has been changed – if there is no longer a differentiated strategy for social enterprise – it would be useful to know this.

”Community Powerdown” is a consortium of 27 local groups which want to reduce the carbon emissions from their communities.  The consortium has just received the largest ever grant (£1,494,000) from our Government’s Climate Challenge Fund – so that each group can now have its own development worker.  The consortium is supported by Community Energy Scotland and Development Trusts Association Scotland and here’s a list of its 27 members.  There is still work to be done to spread this movement into the urban areas where most of us live.

The transformation of the Isle of Gigha following the community buy out six years ago is now the stuff of legend.  Great job advertised this week for a Business Manager to continue the journey to sustainability.  Aye – if only I was a wee bit younger

At the start of each year Senscot invites subscriptions and donations.  Full company membership is only open to individuals (who pay on average £25). Numbers now approaching 50 – see list   A new category of Associate Member is now available for organisations – public, private or third sector – which support our work. ‘Kent faces’ will shortly get an email from Aidan.  Organisations pay £100 and have unlimited use of our jobs and events advertising service.  Those not interested in membership are invited to make a simple donation to the cost of the bulletin.  Payment is not a condition of receiving the bulletin.

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: incl. 10 posts with Impact Arts (, Social Firm Steering Group Stirling, Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, Evaluation Support Scotland, Evaluation Support Scotland, CVS Inverclyde
EVENTS: Burns Ceilidh for the Nepal Trust, The Nepal Trust, 24 Jan; Mental Health Awareness, Fife Employment Access Trust, 2 Feb; Fit for Purpose, Senscot, 3 Mar; CRNS, CRNS 4TH Annual Conference & Awards, 10 Mar; Stress Awareness at Work, Fife Employment Access Trust, 13 Mar

NETWORKS 1st News: Fit for Purpose ’09 social enterprise and health conference on 3rd March is filling up fast, with only around 20 places left. Shona Robison the Minister for Public Health will be the keynote speaker at the event. Also, Edinburgh SEN member Lubna Kerr’s Wellbeing Health and You (WHY), a social enterprise working to improve both mental and physical health, will be on hand with colleagues offering delegates health checks and massages. For more, contact  Network News, 

Senscot welcomes a new member of staff next month. Richard Brunjes joins our team as Networks Co-ordinator and will be working closely with Colin and Anna to support the work of the LSENs. Richard comes with a number of years experience working with East Dunbartonshire CVS. He starts on 16th Feb
and will soon be out and about meeting up with Network members.

The Social Enterprise Mark was awarded last week for the first time to a social firm. Pluss is a social firm that provides employment, training and equipment for disabled people in South West England. This reflects the appeal of the mark to a growing range of social enterprises. See

We’ve tried to polish up our list of venues and it’s now available on the website. If you’d like to be added to the list or update your information, contact We’ll update the list on a monthly basis. See list,

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Fife that is dedicated to delivering opportunities for young people in the fields of the Arts, Sports, Media and Street work. Kinetic is the trading arm of Levenmouth YMCA and has developed a philosophy that places young people at the centre of their own experiences and learning. Their initiatives include Theatre work, community work and sporting activities such as mountain biking. For more, see

I rarely finish a book these days – no longer feel guilty about the wee dusty piles sitting about the house – some will get another visit – most not.  One I did finish recently was Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture – its narrator Roseanne McNulty still haunts me.  Here’s a snippet.
”There is a moment in the history of every beaten child when her mind parts with hopes of dignity – pushes off hope like a boat without a rower, and  lets it go as it will on the stream, and resign’s herself to the tally stick of pain.  This is a ferocious truth, because a child knows no better.  A child is never the author of her own history.  I suppose this is well known.”

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

Best wishes,

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