Senscot Bulletin: 25-02-2005



(Going out weekly to over 2500; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site,


Dear members and friends,


My pals at the golf club seem scared to confront their teenage kids.  They’ll drive uptown at 3am to collect them half drunk, from some dive. Jim’s daughter (17) ran up a mobile phone bill of £849 – and he paid it.  I was sounding off about the shallowness of the young – how there is nothing whatsoever a teenager can do which an adult can’t do better.  Alistair, who’s a doctor, said “sexual potency in humans peaks just after puberty.  I can assure you there is at least one thing they can do better than you.”

            Come May I’ll be an old age pensioner – seems incredible.  I’ve noticed that my stress threshold has dropped – so I’ve stopped gambling, public speaking – the high adrenalin stuff.  Like a plate that used to go in the oven – now only good for the fridge.  But there’s good bits – slower means better balanced.  I’m finding a new calmness .  And I understand now that when Bill Gates looks in the mirror he has the same thoughts as us. “I’m getting a pot” – “Why is my mother not speaking to me?” and a’ that, and a’ that.  Burns knew – we are none of us much different. The young have still to learn this – glad I don’t have to go through all that pain again.

            A Philip Larkin moment. “Groping back to bed after a piss I part thick curtains, and am startled by

the rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness. One shivers slightly, looking up there. The hardness and the brightness – the plain far reaching singleness of that wide stare – a reminder of the strength and pain

of being young – that it can’t come again – but is for others undiminished somewhere.”



More than two years on from its conception, the English Futurebuilders programme has made its first 13 awards, totalling £4.2m. Beneficiaries include a cross section of those who live on the margins of society. Third Sector magazine’s editorial this week approves: “It looks as if this is a fund that intends to offer help at the sharp end, where smaller voluntary organisations wrestle with society’s least popular and intractable problems with limited resources…Quintessential third sector territory.” The editorial ends, “The key to Furturebuilders’ encouraging start is its relative independence. The Home Office has set the parameters and handed the show over to a board with voluntary experience that has clearly decided to follow a bold progressive agenda.” Cautionary note: in Scotland, Futurebuilders will be doled out by the Executive – and civil servants are not renowned for creative risk-taking.  



Last month in Manchester, the government published a consultation on its plans to hand over partial control of public services to neighbourhood-based organisations. Resident empowerment could be one of the big ideas of a Labour third term – but what impact will all this have on Scotland’s Labour City Councils? This question needs to be asked on our Parliament.               



The body charged with improving architecture in Scotland used to be the Royal Fine Arts Commission Scotland. Its successor, Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS), will be launched in April, and the man selected to chair it is Raymond Young. This is good news for those of us who believe in engaging ordinary people in the design of the built environment – in place making. Profile of Raymond Young-



Chief Officers and senior managers of third sector organisations are invited to attend a summer school at the university of Urbino, a beautiful medieval-renaissance town in central Italy – from 11-15th July. Leaders of the sector from UK and Italy will exchange ideas and good practice. Agenda item for your next management meeting? You can always ask.   



The Fairtrade label guarantees world farmers a fair and stable price for their products. Fairtrade Fortnight runs between 1 –13th March this year with over 7,500 events organised across the UK. Labour MSP, Christine May has secured a members debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 2nd March. Have you been to a debate yet? Details



YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 57 vacancies, incl. posts with: Friends of the Earth,  Turning Point Scotland, Ask clyde, Port of Leith Housing Association, Create Ltd, Open Secret.


EVENTS: Golspie Recycling and Environmental Action Network, and Mobius, open day, March 3; The Social Economy in rural Scotland – leading the way? seminar, 17 March, Dumfries; ‘Making it happen – integrating Scotland’s new communities’, 24 March, Glasgow; Asset-based development: the risks, rewards and routes to success, Apr 5, Edinburgh; Voluntary Arts Scotland ‘Mapping the future’ events;



The Social Enterprise Academy launches two more programmes in April. The ‘Praxis Programme’ is designed to strengthen and support entrepreneurial leadership, and takes place in an action learning group of 10-12 over a 12-month period. Praxis can be offered in any geographic or thematic community in Scotland. The 6-month ‘Get Into Social Business’ programme provides business start-up knowledge and skills for creating, developing and sustaining a social enterprise, for those at the stage of exploring the feasibility of their business idea and preparing a Business Plan. More:, ‘Our Programmes’.  



A new Home Office initiative, ‘Payroll Giving Grants’, is offering up to £500 to small and medium-sized companies who encourage their employees to donate to charitable organizations, including, potentially, their own. See The money, donated from gross income, will be tax-free and the first £10 of each employee’s donation will be matched by the scheme for the first six months. The scheme offers an easy, feel-good way of generating income for social enterprises with charitable status.



Senscot’s ongoing work to develop local networks specifically for social enterprises continues to gather pace. The Networks bring local social enterprises together to share their experiences and to identify issues that can be addressed jointly. It’s planned that the networks can establish links with local social economy partnerships. Two further meetings are imminent. The second Cultural Social Enterprise Network meeting is on 7th March at West Lothian Youth Theatre, Livingston. Representatives from the Cultural Commission and the Scottish Exec will be there to discuss the network’s input to the Commission’s Public Consultation. On 15th March, the third Aberdeen Social Enterprise Network meeting will be taking place at Instant Neighbour in the Bridges Centre, Poynernook Road. For further info’, contact   




This week we profile a childcare organisation located in Greenock, Inverclyde. Enterprise Childcare (EC) has been operating as a social enterprise for a number of years. Established in 1992, through the merging of two mobile childcare projects, EC is now able to offer a range of childcare services including Mobile Creche Services, Out of School Care, a Pre 3+ Centre and their own Enterprise Childcare Training Centre. In recent years, EC has developed working partnerships with James Watt College and Inverclyde Leisure Trust for their Pre 3+ provision and with Reid Keir College in Paisley for their Training Centre. EC prides itself on the flexibility and the quality of its services. Further info:



From a piece in the Guardian by Slavoj Zizek.


“Remember the old story about a worker suspected of stealing. Every evening, when he was leaving the factory the wheelbarrow he was rolling in front of him was carefully inspected, but it was always empty – till finally, the guards got the point: what the worker was stealing were the wheelbarrows themselves.  This is the trick they try to pull on us who claim today that the world is none the less better off without Saddam.  Yes, the world is better without Saddam – but it is not better with the military occupation of Iraq – with the resultant rise of Islamic fundamentalism – with our leaders ready to wreck our democratic world out of fear and loathing of the Muslim other” (  


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


Best wishes,



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