Senscot Bulletin: 23.05.14

Dear members and friends,

            In my shed – above the workbench – hangs a framed photo titled ‘Hibernian FC, league champions 1951/52’. This image conjures the glory days of my team – which now struggles against relegation from the top flight; what causes such dramatic institutional decline. Pat Fenlon – Hibs most recent failed manager – said last week that there is something wrong at the heart of our great club – not as simple as tactics or coaching: “the club needs to go back to its roots – to find itself again”.
           In 1990, Hibs was in a sorry state; like a neglected child it was taken into care/administration – put up for adoption. It went to Tom Farmer – an individual of substance – good with money, property deals etc. His culture of accountancy brought much needed financial stability – but he never claimed any love of football or ambition for the club. In the early days of his ownership – prior to an important cup-tie – Farmer tells the pre-match gathering in the Hibs board room – that he’s off for a haircut. This simple incident – and many like it came to represent the new culture at Easter Road; leadership without any interest or respect for the club’s long history and traditions; folk who don’t share the passion – or sing the songs. It’s probably inevitable that, in the hands of non-believers – an institution will lose its soul. 
         I believe in the fan ownership of football clubs; like in the German Bundesliga – I would make it a condition of membership. Market disciplines are important for sports clubs – but ultimately these are social enterprises – that should be owned by the communities which love them. 

We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See,

The headline in Saturday’s Guardian said ‘Child Social Services for Sale’; this almost unbelievable proposal from Michael Gove’s department – to privatise child protection services etc – triggered a protest from 37 respected academics – see, The Scottish Govt has avoided the wholesale marketising of the public and third sectors which England endures. The Scottish model recognises –that depending on your social vision – markets have limited usefulness. In 2012 Senscot circulated a discussion paper about social investment that was well received. Today we publish an update on this discussion – reflecting on subsequent events and thinking. Spent time on this – 4 pages – hope it’s useful. See,

George Monbiot is having another rant here about Scottish landowners – how they rip off the public purse – damage the environment. This is one subject I agree with him about. He says he’d vote ‘yes’ just to get rid of feudal landlords, see The Land Reform Review group – set up by our own government – reports today – a massive 10,050 words; will take everyone time to absorb this – hope Andy Wightman blogs – word is, there are bear traps here for the landed class. Good to hear. See,

Since Senscot helped launch DTA into Scotland in 2003 – we have enjoyed cordial relations with Steve Wyler – the ‘about to retire’ CEO of Locality. For 15 years Steve has been a key leader in the development of the English Community Sector; in the linked interview he touches on some major current issues – including the campaign ‘Local by Default’. “We hear rhetoric about the drive towards localism – but when you follow the big money it’s going to highly centralised ways of working”. See,

Enjoyed Kevin McKenna’s Observer column this week – celebrating the current political awakening in Scotland. “A renewal is taking place across the country. The turnout on 18 September is expected to be between 80% and 90%, perhaps the biggest for a democratic plebiscite in recent European history. In my lifetime, I have never known so many Scots to be politically engaged.” I can feel it myself – I’m starting to get excited. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Dundee Social Enterprise Network, Social Enterprise Academy, Glasgow Bike Station, EUSA, Community Alliance Trust, WorkingRite, RAMH, Helm
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Introductory Workshop, 28 May; Learning to EATS, 30 May; Community is the Answer, 9 June; The Art of Participatory Leadership for System Change, 24-26 June;
TENDERS: Building Community Capacity to Support Palliative Care, Highland Hospice; Hermitage Park Restoration, Design and Feasibility Team; ITT for hydro feasibility, preliminary design & development work, Sandbank Community Development Trust;

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: The Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health (Glasgow Caley) hosted a Knowledge Exchange Forum this week to give an overview of their research programme – ‘Developing methods for evidencing SE as a public health intervention’. The 5 year programme could have a significant bearing on future Scottish Govt policy on health inequalities and SE’s contribution in addressing these. This will be the single biggest piece of SE research carried out anywhere in Europe and we’re fortunate to have it in Scotland. The work will not focus solely on health-based SEs – the World Health Organisation defines health as involving our physical, mental and social well-being – but equally in the work of SEs in other thematic areas. See
For more SENs News, see

REMINDER: Closing date – Monday, 26th May 2014.Senscot, with our SSE Alliance partners – Social Firms Scotland and Social Enterprise Scotland – has secured Scottish Govt support for a new post of Partnership and Procurement Officer. This will involve providing practical support to social enterprises and social firms in identifying and responding effectively to emerging tender opportunities, including facilitating partnerships and consortia development. See,

Big Issue Invest Scotland (BIIS) – the new joint venture (launched in March 2014) between Big Issue Invest and DSL Business Finance – has now announced the appointment of its new General Manager. David Cousland will be taking up post at the start of June. David will be familiar to many from his days at Triodos where he supported many social and environmental organisations with their business finance requirements. BIIS – established by social entrepreneurs for social entrepreneurs – will provide investment and loan finance to social enterprises, social ventures and third sector organisations in Scotland.  We wish David the best of luck in his new post. See more,

One of the embedded traditions of the third sector is the practice of transparency and accountability; important for the public trust we enjoy. Some of the larger organisations in our community are importing regrettable practices from the commercial world: a creeping managerialist mindset – which wants to count everything. Another practice to be resisted is the ‘under the radar’ inflation of executive salaries; I would like OSCR to make the publication of senior salaries mandatory – a kind of peer policing. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Dumfries and Galloway that supports disabled people and people living with long-term conditions in the Dumfries and Galloway area to take control of their own care and support needs. Direct Inclusive Collaborative Enterprise (DICE) offers a range of support that includes mentoring, peer support, brokerage and practical help – all with the aim of informing and guiding as many people as it can towards managing their own support and accessing the resources they need. As a social enterprise, all income generated is used for the benefit of disabled people and people living with long term conditions in Dumfries and Galloway. For more see,
This is a famous Zen parable which has many iterations; it speaks of the wisdom of equanimity.

Once upon a time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210