SENSCOT MEMBERS’ BULLETIN
No. 162, FRIDAY 24th JANUARY 2003
Dear Members and friends,
On recent Spanish visit we had use of modest flat near sea.
Each morning I walked half an hour up the beach (towards Gibraltar) then walked
back. Route passed posh hotel (Kempinski?) so one day I wandered in. The
understated ambience of serious money – recline on spectacular poolside terrace
– freshly squeezed orange juice (7 euros).
Startled recognition! Wow! One of my heroes – author John Le Carre is
sitting nearby, reading The Times. Looks gaunt, unwell. His woman companion is
younger – striking blue eyes, black hair – ‘high maintenance’ sheen. Suddenly,
unbelievably, I’m standing in front of him speaking: “Won’t disturb you – just
to say your books have meant a great deal to me.” But he doesn’t reply. No
change of expression. Looks at me briefly – back to The Times. Blue Eyes stares
at me blankly. Return to my orange juice. Still cringe at the memory. Maybe it
wasn’t him at all.
Next day in
Pedro’s Beach Bar, Anne says, “That young chap over there used to be in ‘East
Enders’ – he was the guy who witnessed the guy hitting his former girlfriend
with an ashtray.” “Don’t go over and speak to him!” I blurt. Anne frowns. “Why
would I do that? Folk who approach celebs are sad.” “Absolutely.” I say.
Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) wrote. ‘We
would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk about ourselves at all.’ I
think this is true of me.
From the bridge at Senscot it looks like the social
enterprise sector is getting into full swing after the break. There seems to be
a log jam awaiting decisions at ministerial level, but the launch of the social
economy report on the 27th Jan may get things moving. The increased
flow of notices to Senscot (see below) includes the typical day conferences
costing hundreds of pounds. Senscot will not promote these events for the
simple reason that they are beyond the means of our core membership, and
‘Poverty Industry’ professionals should not be encouraged to discuss inclusion
policies at gatherings which exclude people financially. One would hope that
this is obvious.
An important part of Senscot’s
income is collected from members. Please take the time to send your
subscription for 2003. More info at this link: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/Bull_Sub_2003.asp
Last week SCVO called for the devolved distribution of
lottery funding to a new Scottish body with distinctly Scottish priorities.
Unltd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs has been negotiating this very
issue with the Millennium Commission for nearly two years and has now
established the principle that grant making can be delegated to a separate
Scottish organisation (subject to contract conditions).
however, the main issue with regard to Lotto funding is the determination of
government to further control where the money goes. When the ‘People’s’ lottery
was created, the British public was assured that that it’s proceeds would not
be absorbed by government, but now they want to merge NOF with the remaining
independent bit – The Community Fund. The word on the street, however, is that
the CF board will not go quietly. Maybe this battle was lost some time ago
(when NOF was created), but the public need to know the implications.
Traditionally, our sector performs a unique rôle for society – inventing new
social solutions where there is injustice and suffering. Lottery funds hijacked
into government spending will no longer reach these frontiers. (See News item: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/Single_Scot_Lot(21.01.03).asp)
It seems that for a while, journalist Polly Toynbee swapped
her posh London house for a slum council flat, and has now written a book about
being poor. Every time I hear about some upper class person doing this, it
rankles – can’t they see that such behaviour is offensive? Can you really
pretend to be poor if you’re not? Is it not inherently upper class to think
that anyone is bothered about your ‘social experiment’ in the first place? If
she really ‘cares’ what it is like to be poor, why not listen to poor people,
who know what they’re talking about? It’s not like a trip to the Amalfi Coast.
Social Enterprise London has a series of social enterprise
guides (for those developing an existing organisation, doing business with
social enterprises, absolute beginners. Sectors covered so far: Childcare;
Housing; Social Care for the Elderly; Environmental Recycling. £10 each. See www.sel.org.uk (Publications section), or
tel. 020 7704 7490
Four Winds Centre, Inverleith, Edinburgh, is running a 6-day
course on Wind-turbine Construction: hands-on experience of carving wooden
blades, winding coils and fitting magnets, etc. With Hugh Piggott (www.scoraigwind.co.uk) Mon 17 – Sat 22
Feb 10am-5pm. £210.00 per place. Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel/Fax: 0131
332 2229 www.four-winds.org.uk
Scottish Co-operative and Mutual Forum conference on options
for co-operative care, Fri 28 Feb 2003, Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot
Watt Uni. Aimed at local authority councillors & officials, health board
members, trades unionists, community activists, simply interested etc. Speakers
incl. Frank McAveety MSP & Roger Poole, ex Dep Gen Sec, Unison. Info &
booking: Alex Smith: email@example.com
‘SeeSaw’, fellow bulletineers from the south west, point us
to ‘Co-active online’, monthly update on social enterprise activity from
Plymouth. Latest one has examples of/ideas on: community recycling; social
enterprise work with young care leavers; turning a nursery faced with closure
into successful social enterprise; farm co-operatives. (www.co-active.org.uk)
Today, the bulletin profiles one of Scotland’s most
successful childcare organisations, the One Stop Childcare Project in
Edinburgh. Founded in 1998, One Stop now employs around 60 permanent staff,
over 40 sessional workers and is providing a range of services for almost 300
children every week. It originally catered for the community of Wester Hailes,
but its services now reach throughout and beyond the west of Edinburgh and
beyond. In January 2002, One Stop started up a trading company called One Stop
Enterprise Ltd; this now has a strong portfolio of mainly community-based or
voluntary organisation clients requiring creche support for conferences,
training events and meetings. Since start-up, the company has consistently
achieved a year-on-year increase in the percentage of ‘earned’ income. Accounts
for 2001 show a 50% contribution to revenue from parent fees ands other
non-grant sources. For further information, see www.senscot.net Project Profiles.
Member Alastair McIntosh, who wrote ‘Soil and Soul: People
versus Corporate Power’, is speaking today at Edinburgh’s Centre for Human
Ecology on a common problem: ‘Working for social or ecological justice can be
deeply draining and frustrating. As the oil in the lamps of our lives burns
low, it is easy either to sell out or burn out.’ Alastair argues that
spirituality represents a very practical body of knowledge, and can replenish
the activist’s oil and keep the flame burning. More on this and other CHE
lectures: www.che.ac.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel 0131 624 1972.
Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (1653–1716), the great Scottish
Statesman and champion of independence wrote: “If a man were permitted to make
all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.” Less
than fifty years later, along came Rabbie Burns to prove him right. Even to
this day, the enduring distinctness of the Scottish psyche owes more to the
philosophy of our national bard than to our lawmakers: Every year on 25 Jan I
am reminded to read again: “A man’s a man for a’ that” – iconoclastic, independent, egalitarian:
Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord / Wha struts, an’ stares, an’
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word / He’s but a cuif for a’
For a’ that, an’ a’ that / His ribband, star, an’ a’ that
The man o’ independent mind / He looks an’ laughs at a’ that
That’s all for this week. Send us news of your adventures.
Quietly, inexorably, the network is growing.
If you would like to receive this bulletin directly, e-mail email@example.com.