Senscot Bulletin 23-01-2004



Dear members and friends,


Met an old priest recently who taught me as a wee boy, “What
I remember about you Demarco is that you were always darting about as though
your tail was on fire.”  This frenetic
energy stayed with me – impetuous – impatient – indiscriminate –
inexhaustible.  My recent neck surgery
caused a change.  For many weeks –
instead of 63, I felt 83.  I gave clear
commands, “Let’s just do it.”  But my
body said, “Nae chance.”  I use a
cordless phone – great for moving about the house – but sometimes, with a
squawk, it crashes.  No power – no
signal.  That’s how I felt.

            The late
Bette Davis said, “Old age is not a place for cissies.”  My ‘taster’ in September/October convinced
me – I couldn’t handle this – not patient enough.  We think the world will come along and change us – but it never
does. We are who we are until the end – unless we work at it.  So for when things get rough, I’m, trying to
prepare a place I can go to.  An inner
place – the absence of anxiety – “Out of the swing of the sea”.  A place that brings a smile to my face.

            My Buddhist
‘beginners’ book says that when we feel angry we should adopt a half smile –
breathe deeply.  Tried this yesterday
but caught my reflection in window – a twisted leer of rage.  Knelt on sofa and punched it for while –
‘til I felt better.  I suppose Buddhism
takes time.



On January 7th Barbara Phillips released the news
that the English Social Enterprise Unit is to be subsumed into their Small
Business Service.  The social enterprise
community, which is well organised down south, reacted vigorously to what is
perceived as a downgrading.  Glenys Thornton
led the charge and the Minister Nigel Griffiths got the message (

            The meeting
with senior officials took place on Monday – the movement of the unit is to go
ahead – the Civil Service is going to release a statement to smooth feathers –
social enterprise highly valued etc.

It was impressive to observe that our equivalent sector in
England can command political attention which we cannot do in Scotland.  Our long awaited Social Economy masterplan
meanders from draft to draft – months slip by – energy wilts – no one seems
much bothered.  We are a cowed and craven
bunch.  Have we been muted by government
contracts – is this inevitable?  The
first community we need to empower is our own.



As part of the launch of the Skoll Centre for Social
Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School, University of Oxford, a World
Forum on Social Entrepreneurship will be held from 29-31 March 2004 at the
School.  “The purpose of this meeting
will be to assemble for the first time the leading thinkers in the field of
social entrepreneurship from around the world together with a range of
outstanding global practitioners.”  Is
there a whiff of academic elitism about this event?  Will it be ‘in the clouds’? 
Story, info and an application form can be found at



Interesting piece in the US ‘Fast Company’ magazine called,
“Social Capitalists: The Top Twenty Groups that are changing the World”.  (  The article features the recipients of the
inaugural Social Capitalist awards which rank organisations according to
innovation, entrepreneurship, social impact, aspiration and sustainability.  Apparently more than 42 different US base
foundations are now primarily focused on funding social entrepreneurs.  The article profiles groups working in a
variety of issue-areas. It would be interesting to compile a Scottish top
twenty (



Payment is not a condition of receiving the Senscot Network
Bulletin – hope it never will be – but in 2003 it cost approximately £22 per
person to produce 50 weekly editions and maintain our website. We invite
donations for 2004 from individuals of £10, £25 or £50 – and from organisations
of £50 or £100.  Money collected is ring
fenced into a development fund for new Senscot projects. Please send a cheque
payable to Senscot, 54 Manor Place, Edinburgh, EH3 7EH or use a credit card at
our donations page.  (

YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday)
to and we’ll post them
on our site.  This week:


JOBS: 65 vacancies, including posts at SCVO, Broomhouse
Organic Garden Project, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Citizens
Advice Scotland, GCVS, Breakthrough Project, Children in Scotland.


EVENTS: Scottish Ecological Design Association symposium on
Solar Power: myths and benefits, Dundee, 29 Jan; EQUAL networking event,
‘Social Return on Investment’, Glasgow, 18 Feb; ‘Deepening Democracy’, free
workshop, Edinburgh, 18-20 Feb; Charity Law Reform Seminar, Glasgow, Feb 23; GCVS
training courses; Festival Of Middle Eastern Spirituality And Peace, Edinburgh,
27 Feb – 7 March, Glasgow, March-May.


For details on these and more:


NEWS: For the latest social enterprise news stories, see



The Community Fund is running a pilot scheme in Scotland, to
simplify and speed up the business of applying, “boost success rates and reduce
disappointment” It will include a 10-day turnaround for initial proposals.



This week’s bulletin profiles a community radio station in
Renfrewshire that has recently received a Scotland unLTD Level 2 award. is an internet based station
aimed at the 18-24 age group, living in the West of Scotland.  The station focuses on providing free
airplay for unsigned local bands – 
between 2000-4000 in Scotland at any one time.  It profiles local musicians, offers a retail outlet for CD’s,
T-shirts etc and provides a forum for listeners to discuss and select the music
played.  The aim of the station/website,
is to build a ‘rolling’ portfolio of new bands and support new, local musical
talent.  Local young people will be
involved as correspondents who attending gigs and providing news and info on
new up and coming artists.
see advertising revenue as the route to longer term sustainability.  For further info’, see



“The word ‘art’ first of all meant skill but though that
meaning is still the true one, we have nowadays almost completely forgotten
it.  We have come to think of art as
though the word did not mean all human works whatsoever, from drainpipes to
cathedrals, from paperweights to statues of saints, from street cries to songs
and symphonies – but only the special works of special people who paint
pictures, carve and mould statues, write books and poems, and design buildings
to be looked at.” (Eric Gill)



Tony Blair took this country into an unjustified war which
we did not want.  He did it in support
of an American President and administration which most of us distrust.  To overcome our doubts he was untruthful in
the presentation of the case for war. 
Domestic issues like top up fees are debatable but such poor judgement
in a matter of war is a red card. 



The speech by Charles Handy which we posted last week
contains many nuggets so here is the link again.  (  Handy on local empowerment:

“The end point of all this is ‘subsidiarity’, an ugly
word.  Call it trust instead.  Subsidiarity is a moral principle all the
same, introduced by Pope Leo X in the Renaissance, a principle which says that
you should put responsibility as low down as you can possibly find it and then
educate people up to exercise that responsibility.  I do believe that’s a fundamental principle of a good life and I
am appalled to continue to live in a country which is more and more centralist.  I want to see trust and responsibility
pushed right down in society because I think that gives people
self-respect.  I want it to start at
about the age of two in our schools.”


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

Best wishes,



If you would like to receive this bulletin directly, e-mail

We now have a ‘pay page’ on our site. To give: