Dear members and friends,
Jacqueline Novogratz is a New York social entrepreneur – who in 2001 founded the Acumen Fund. She tells – how growing up, she had a favourite blue sweater – with zebras on the front, and Mount Kilimanjaro across the chest; wore it every day until she outgrew it – handed it in to a charity shop. Ten years later – when helping to launch the first micro finance bank in Rwanda – she spotted a young man wearing her sweater; she checked the tag – sure enough – her name. This incident impressed Novogratz – with the interconnectedness of everything in our world. Physicists now confirm what Buddhists have always known – that there are no isolated things or events – in the entire cosmos.
Family birthday party on Sunday – my new found ‘connectedness’ makes me more appreciative of company. 60 folk – plentiful bevvy and nosh – but the noise drives us auld yins into a side room – some rewarding exchanges. Ask old friend John (75) to single out something that life has taught him. "Well I know we must make it enjoyable" he says "what do you do for fun Larry?" Can’t think of anything – ask him to go first. "My wife and I recently bought a camper van – we have great fun planning and making trips." Reply that I don’t do anything like that – mumble something about the garden. He’s right of course – ashamed to realise that I no longer have the expectation of ‘fun’ – and now I’m wondering why.
At the start of a new year, Senscot, once again, invites financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin. Not a condition – but a real encouragement – considering that some of our comment is too ‘spirited’ for the usual channels of funding. Senscot’s Board is accountable to our company members – around 100 individuals who support our work – and pay an average of £25. See 2013 list – to date (and last year’s), http://www.senscot.net/companymembers13.php. Organisations can also take out Associate membership (£50/100). To donate this year, see http://www.senscot.net/donate.php
I support the idea of a constitution – where citizen’s rights (and responsibilities) are enshrined in law – and entrenched privilege is challenged. Alex Salmond painted a handsome picture recently of a Scottish version – where every Scot would have the right to a home and free education. Lesley Riddoch wrote a good piece last year about the Icelandic experience – where citizens pushed politicians aside – wrote the new constitution themselves. Obviously, our democratically elected parliament would pass our new Scottish Constitution into law; but the drafting process should be for the people. If the political class can be silenced – a whole new constituency will step forward – to speak on human rights – to define the future – "the early days of better nation". See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13111
A report from the Third Sector Research Centre – suggests that a division might be emerging – between big charities geared to deliver public services – and the rest. In the pursuit of contracts – some big charities behave increasingly like private corporations; including in the amounts they pay senior staff. The question arises – have they left us? – have they departed from third sector values? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13106 Last year, Senscot called for the brokering of public sector contracts to consortia of small social enterprises. Another report – ‘Collaborating for Impact’ – calls on commissioners to give the small SEs a fair chance; and it outlines the factors which contribute to successful partnerships. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13103
How many SEs are there in the UK? How many in Scotland? Does it really matter? Good piece by David Floyd in the Guardian – which suggests that most UK estimates are in the ‘wild guess’ category; Floyd references a paper from Simon Teasdale called ‘The Politically Motivated Modification of the Truth’. As the definition of SE continues to widen south of the border – Senscot believes a case can be made for a Scotland count; to identify and quantify the size and scale of our SE community. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13102
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: Edinburgh University Students Association, GALGAEL TRUST, Youth Football Scotland, Buddies Clubs & Services, Sporsnis, Social Care Ideas Factory, Highland Small Communities Housing Trust
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 26 Jan; Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change, 31 Jan; Edinburgh Vintage Kilo Sale, 2 Feb; Portobello Market, 2 Feb; Getting your message across, 6 Feb;
TENDERS: The Scottish Government have published a tender for the Administration and Management of the Enterprising Third Sector Growth and Sustainability Fund. See, http://tinyurl.com/ajv62y6
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Scottish Govt is now inviting tenders for the contract to administer the new Enterprising Third Sector Growth and Sustainability Fund – deadline for responses 13th Feb 2012. The Fund will run between 2013-15 – and distribute up to £6m. The contract blurb says they are anticipating up to 1000 applications with around 200 awards being made. Last year’s Growth Fund (£4m) generated huge interest – over 600 applications for approx. 60 awards. There’s maybe an argument for tighter criteria – that would lighten the administrative burden; allow quicker turn around; and also avoid many SEs and third sector organisations wasting time on speculative applications. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13112 For more Networks News, see
In the run up to our independence referendum – many different groupings – across the political spectrum -jostle to ignite the public imagination; nothing decisive yet. One such grouping grew from the recent Radical Independence Conference (RIC) – which has published a declaration. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13108
Another emergent left wing influence is the Jimmy Reid Foundation – which hosts its inaugural annual lecture next week – Tuesday 29th Jan – in Govan – to be given by Alex Salmond. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13109
The Social Enterprise Exchange is only a couple a months away – 21st March at the SECC in Glasgow. Places are still available for day delegates or to book stall/exhibition spaces. Here’s the updated Programme, http://socialenterpriseexchange.com/programme/ To book, see senscot.net/?viewid=12926
West Dunbartonshire Council has set up a Social Enterprise Challenge Fund that will invest approx.£225k in helping set up new social enterprise businesses in the West Dunbartonshire area. The Fund will be delivered in partnership with Firstport. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13107
A new report – called "Does Social Investment Understand Social Need?" – claims that it does not; that instead of adapting to the investment needs of SE – institutions like Big Society Capital, Unltd and NESTA – are lending instead to for-profit businesses – which meet a prescribed standard. Those who were charged with the supply of investment to social business – have chosen to re-arrange how SE is defined – and more importantly – how it is delivered. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13105
This week’s bulletin profiles a new social venture from CEiS Ayrshire (www.ceisayrshire.co.uk). Catalyst Catering was set up in May 2012 – providing transitional jobs and training opportunities to local people looking for employment and career openings in the catering and hospitality industry. As well as offering a cafe and canteen service to those at the Olympic Park Industrial Estate in Irvine, Catalyst Catering provides a high quality external catering service at low prices for meetings, conferences, parties, training events, etc. Catalyst anticipates providing employment opportunities to 20 young people each year. For more, see
Barbara Kingsolver, in ‘Small Wonder’.
"Oh, how can I say this: People need wild places. Whether or not we think we do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know once again that we desire it. We need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda moves at the pace of speciation and glaciers. To be surrounded by a singing, mating, howling commotion of other species, all of which love their lives as much as we do ours, and none of which could possibly care less about our economic status or our running day calendar. Wildness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future generations, we ought to choose carefully. Looking out on a clean plank of planet earth, we can get shaken right down to the bone by the bronze-eyed possibility of lives that are not our own."
That’s all for this week.
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