Senscot Bulletin 23-04-2004



Dear members and friends,


I admire the Scots actor Peter Mullen – not only for his
work but also for his personal convictions. 
Recently, cast as a blind person in a film, he consulted Jill Daley, the
radio host – about her loss of sight through diabetes.  Mullen said of her, “She was frighteningly
honest about the emotional and spiritual darkness of it.  I hate the cliches about courage and despair
but Jill is one of the few people I`ve ever met who have achieved real insight
into what makes them who they are.” 
This phrase stays with me – keep asking myself – what does he mean?

Wake early on Wednesday with a
heavy nosebleed which I can’t stop.  At
10 I chap the door of my neighbour Ravi who’s a hospital doctor.  “You better go to the A&E to get that
cauterised.”  Things go fine at the
hospital except at one stage it feels like a golf ball is being forced up my
nose.  On way out I stop for coffee and
a jam scone – bump into Billy the plumber – he seems happy.  Tells me he had a heart attack in September
– aged 42.  Total collapse – paramedics
arrived fast – or he was a goner.  Fine
now – back at work on the tools.  “You
seem surprisingly happy Billy – did the experience give you any new insight into
what makes you who you are?”  He smiles,
“When I got home I withdrew all our savings and bought a new top of the range
Renault Megane Cabriolet.”  His smile is
beatific – “It does everything but dance.”



This short piece
in Regeneration Magazine summarises the delay in the publication of our Social
Economy Action Plan. (
That nothing has appeared in the Scottish press, indicates how casually our work
is regarded. As a woman in the Parliament’s press office said to a journalist
friend of mine, “What’s the Social Economy?” 
Enough said.  But Geoff Pope, who
heads the Social Economy team at Victoria Quay, read our piece about the
missing Phoenix Fund millions and has penned a reply. (

Just getting a
response is an improvement.



Bishop Jones of
Liverpool has expressed concern in The Times that Government is losing its
nerve on ‘community led regeneration’ in favour of ‘community involvement in
regeneration’.  Regeneration Minister,
Jeff Rooker denies this claim.  “There
is no reason at all why we should lose our nerve on community led
regeneration.”  But experience shows
that it’s the Regeneration professionals they need to look out for.  This editorial from Regeneration typifies
the ‘professional’ perception that local leadership inhibits progress.  (  This issue hardly applies in Scotland, where
the marginalisation of local people has already been achieved in most SIP



Tom Hunter the
millionaire tycoon is to make £100 million of his personal fortune available
for deserving causes in Scotland.  This
is a staggering amount and unlike Government funding announcements which are
routinely exaggerated – it’s probably true.

spokesperson for Hunter said, “We have not committed the money to anything yet
– we are inviting ideas from deserving causes.”  An over-riding aim of Hunter’s Foundation is to bring the rigour
of business to philanthropy.  Wonder if
he knows about social enterprise and social entrepreneurs?  (  



The Local
Government Association and the Development Trusts Association have jointly
produced a four page briefing document about Asset Transfer.  It’s called, ‘Assets for Enterprising
Communities’ and it merits a skim.  It
explains that in August 2003 the terms under which assets can be transferred
from public bodies to communities were relaxed in a new ‘general consent’.  (



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: 61 vacancies, including Edinburgh Cyrenians, Equals
Advocacy Partnership, Croy Miners Welfare, Callander Youth Project,
Possibilities East End Kids, Muirhouse Six Circle Project.


EVENTS: ‘Rural Affairs – Any Questions?’ RSA event, 6th May,
Edinburgh; EDAS Welfare To Work Event, Glasgow, 7 May; ‘Sustainability – What
Do We Mean: How Do We Do It?’, Glasgow, 8 May; Edinburgh 10 May; Share Your Eurovision!’,
15 May, ‘Startover’ training events, May 15, 29, June 26; 2nd
International Social Enterprise Exchange, Budapest, May 23-29; Edinburgh
Treefest 2004, 12-13 June; ‘Low Demand Housing: ‘Creating Safer Communities’,
crime and antisocial behaviour conf., 23 June, London;  Stopping the Rot’ Conf., Manchester, 8 July;
Socialising The Global Economy, International conf., 16-17 September,


little while back we brought up the case of Access North Ayr
Do you know of any other examples of social economy organisations falling foul
of state aid regulations? Contact:


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at: 



This week’s bulletin profiles a dynamic project in
Edinburgh. STIR (Sustainable Technology, Information and Research) Network is a
network of community projects linking business, environment and people. Started
as a pilot in 2003, STIR is a not-for-profit organisation aiming to create
opportunities for all.  Projects
are developed into small community businesses which compete in the
commercial arena, such as the CCBP, recycling timber into compost bins, and STIRpaper,
recycling office paper into quality bespoke paper goods, such as wedding
invitations. For further information, see (Project Profiles);



In recent
bulletins we’ve mentioned the amazing story told by the findings of the GEM
survey of 22,000 people in the UK.  If
the results are to be believed more people (6.6%) are setting up or running
social enterprises than mainstream firms (6.4%).  Additionally, social enterprise engages socially excluded groups
more than ordinary businesses. We’ve posted an article by Rebecca Harding who
co-ordinated the English bit of the study. (



If you already know about Local Exchange Trading Schemes
(LETS) – this piece from The Sunday Times won’t tell you much new – but it’s
good that the movement is attracting mainstream interest.  There are currently 26 LETS networks running
in Scotland – the largest involving 400 families in Forres near Elgin. (



“Very gradually and with wonder, I have realised that social
enterprise in the sense of an activity linking economic, social and often
environmental benefits, has a much longer history than either Communism or
Capitalism.  Traditional economies,
based on subsistence and reciprocity, the medieval guild system with its mutual
support and just prices, and the Co-operative movement, its ideals and
practical accomplishments, all point to the fact that other approaches are not
only practicable, but have the norm for most of human history.”  Nadia Johanisova


“Capitalism and Communism are twin systems.  It is immaterial that they differ on where
they wish to centralise their wealth – Communism in the state and Capitalism in
the hands of the most powerful plutocrats, both succeed in crushing the small
individual by taking his property from him.” 
G.K. Chesterton


“The real work of planet saving will be small, humble and
humbling and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding.  Its jobs will be too many to count, too many
to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make
anyone rich or famous.”  Wendell Berry


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

Best wishes,



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