Senscot Bulletin: 24.09.10

Dear members and friends,

 It suited me that this Spanish trip coincided with the papal visit – to escape the media hysteria.  Benedict may be an outdated conservative academic – a remote Vatican bureaucrat – a disastrous world leader for our times – but he is not a Nazi – nor an apologist for child abuse; even the Guardian was printing drivel.  In the event I saw much of the Scottish visit on TV – was won over by Ratzinger’s personal charm – his gentle spiritual manner, particularly with children.  It surprised me how much I got caught up by the theatre of it all.  By coincidence, the very next day, I’m wandering in Marbella’s old town, when thunder rolls – the heavens open and suddenly everyone’s getting soaked; so I dive in the side door of the cathedral.
 As my eyes accustom to the dark – it occurs to me that this visit may be ‘meant’ – the setting for some spiritual ‘revelation’.  I sit for half an hour, but nothing much happens – I feel remote from this dank mausoleum – these over-decorated effigies of suffering, peering out of the gloom.  And yet, some part of me has never been able to finally disbelieve in the existence of the Holy Spirit – the mysterious movement of ‘grace’ in the human ‘soul’.  Sitting next to a priest at a recent wedding, I discussed this remnant of my belief.  Yes, he said, that’s the Spirit deeply embedded in your soul.  I resented him saying that – but at the same time I hoped that it was true. 

I have enjoyed Craig Dearden-Philips thoughts on the progress of the social enterprise sector for sometime – he writes well, with unusual candour.  Recently, he has been sharing with readers of his blog, the reasons why his new venture is NOT to be a social enterprise – but a private business.  I find it helpful that he’s willing to discuss this in public as I know others who struggle with the same decision.  The more common issue is the one of control – entrepreneurs resist the hassle of trustees, regulators etc. – personally I have sympathy with this.  Craig is the first person I know who has come straight out and said “It’s for the money” – which I have less sympathy with.  For me this is the defining characteristic of what we do – that it’s not for personal gain.  Ours is a whole new way for society to organise which challenges the values of the current order – a kind of revolution.  His assertion that serious social entrepreneurs need to be motivated by serious money – is simply not my experience.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll find out what the Scottish Govt`s budget is going to be and how that will impact on our sector. Negotiations and discussions are already underway. This week, SCVO hosted a roundtable discussion between representatives of the third sector and John Swinney. The meeting was held to begin to give a third sector perspective on the Govt`s recent Independent Budget Review (IBR).  SCVO is to be commended on initiating such an event and we’re glad to hear that social enterprise was well represented at the roundtable through our Coalition, Social Firms Scotland and Community Recycling Network Scotland. One of the issues on the table was the role and contribution the third sector can make to public service delivery. Let`s hope the Govt is listening. Here’s an excerpt from SCVO`s response to the IBR earlier this year. See,

In its (impressively user friendly) new website, SCVO proclaims itself "the national body for Scottish charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises". Considering that for the best part of 10 years, SCVO resisted the very concept (social enterprise deniers!), it’s interesting that they now imagine themselves as representing our community – thanks but no thanks. Senscot was one of the founder members in 2004 of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, created specifically as our national body and currently a strategic partner with Scottish Govt. See more,

A handful of places are still  available for our Annual General Meeting which takes place next Friday 1st October at EVH`s new premises at 137 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow between 12.30 – 3pm. Our keynote speaker is Christine Carlin, Head of Scottish Govt`s Third Sector Division who will talking about Scottish Govt`s vision for the third sector over the next three years and, specifically, about the role that social enterprise can play. A Q&A session will follow. If you’d like to attend, contact  Here’s the agenda

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: Ecole Enterprise, Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, Gift Street Fundraisers, Preshal Trust, Rape and Abuse Line, Partners In Play, Upper Nithsdale Arts and Crafts Community Initiative, University of Edinburgh
EVENTS: Getting Ready to Buy, 22 Sep; Hatches, Matches and Dispatches, 28 Sep; Youth Justice: Another Lost Generation?, 28 Sep; Good Deals 2010: The UK Social Investment Conference, 16 Nov
TENDERS: UK-Glasgow: refuse recycling services; Bus Shelter Cleaning Contract; Bring Back Sites – Collection & Recycling Service for Glass; Framework Agreement for Repair and Maintenance Services;

NETWORKS 1st: Yesterday, the quarterly SEN Reps meeting took place at our new Glasgow office in Bath St. This was an important meeting with presentations from Paul White, Director of Networks (SCVO) and Geoff Pearson (Scottish Govt Third Sector Division) giving updates on the SVA programme and progress with the Single Interfaces.  SEN Reps took the opportunity to share their views with both Paul and Geoff on difficulties they were still encountering in engaging with the process at a local level. Assurances were given that every effort will be made to allow social enterprises to participate more fully. We’ll keep you updated on how this progresses. For more Networks News, see

Ready for Business, the online register that allows social enterprises to access tenders, search partners in consortium bids etc, has been short-listed for Government Opportunities (GO) magazine Excellence in Public Procurement Awards Scotland 2010-11, under the Best Supplier Engagement Initiative Category. Winners will be announced at a big bash at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow later in October. We`ll keep you posted on the result. See

The Social Enterprise Academy is running a residential for social enterprises over the weekend 29th Oct – 1st Nov. This event is targeted at social enterprises that are looking to scale up (beyond start up but not yet firing on all cylinders). The residential will help 20 social entrepreneurs identify key motivations, clarify goals, and plan the next steps for organisation growth. It is FREE. Closing date for applications is w/c 27th Sept. For more, see

The campaign to save the Blindcraft bed factory in Craigmillar in Edinburgh is gaining momentum. Blindcraft, founded in 1793, provides employment for 70 people with disabilities but is threatened with closure by Edinburgh City Council. Prominent supporters include Robin Harper (MSP) and former Labour Minister, John Prescott. Last year, Glencraft in Aberdeen faced a similar situation but, following the personal intervention of our First Minister, a solution was found to safeguard its future Campaigners are hoping a similar lifeline can be provided for Blindcraft.  See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles a Community Health Initiative based in Cambuslang and Rutherglen that aims to provide local people with opportunities to take an active part in ensuring their family’s and their community’s health and wellbeing. HealthynHappy was established in 2004 following a merger between a local Healthy Living Initiative (HLI) and a Health & Food Project (CHAF). The organisation has over a dozen staff, around 50 sessional workers and over 100 active volunteers and runs a variety of initiatives in response to local health issues and needs. See more,

A quote from the American writer, Jack London (1876-1916).

 “ The ultimate word is I LIKE. It lies beneath philosophy and is twined about the heart of life. When philosophy has maundered ponderously for a month, telling us what we must do – the individual says in an instant – I LIKE – and does something else – and philosophy goes glimmering. It is I LIKE that makes the drunkard drink and the martyr wear a hair shirt……philosophy is very often our way of explaining our own I LIKE.”

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

Best wishes,


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