Dear members and friends,
Over the years I’ve read a lot of stuff about Buddhism and Taoism etc, and there’s no doubt that Eastern culture is far more comfortable than we are with subjects like old age and death. When you think of it, life is a voyage on a boat that is going to sink – no matter how much we, in the west, live in denial of this. Readers of this column frequently murmur when I tell stories about my own ageing and discouragement – as though it’s taboo to be in decline. But the Eastern sages know that there are also good points about our mature years. As the drives for power, sex, fame etc quieten, there comes a new freedom – a turning inwards, towards aspects of ourselves which exist outwith time – like awareness. I still consider myself to be an explorer – with parts of me that are not formed yet – and “I have not unlearned how to begin”.
Discovered recently that I have a new lump – like I’m growing a third testicle. God – what now? Doc says that nearly all such lumps are harmless cysts – thankfully confirmed 2 weeks later by ultrasound scan. I’ve a good pal from the West with a kind of Billy Connolly gallows humour. Anxiously awaiting scan, I told him about my lump – he was sensitive and supportive – but next time I see him, he says, “ Her comes 3 ba`s.” My reaction was indignation – but the look on his face made me smile – then laugh. Hey – you’ve got to laugh.
(200 of these intros can be browsed here – https://senscot.net/index.php?W21ID=172)
Jim Mather, minister for enterprise, spoke at the S2S gathering in Dundee on Wednesday. The social enterprise sector, he envisioned, comprises large successful businesses – delivering public services and contributing to the Scottish economy. We are all proud of the Kibbles, the Aberdeen Foyers, the McSenses. Let us hope that they flourish and that Scotland can bring forth many more major pathfinding social enterprises. But we need to remember that very few people enter the Third Sector to deliver public services under contract or to contribute to the economy. Most are motivated by a sense of social justice. If our work assists the economy – good and well – but it is a secondary consequence. Our purpose is humanity and community. Mostly, we comprise groups which are small, local, often anonymous and financially fragile. Which Scottish Minister speaks for them. Jim Mather`s speech will be available after 1pm today https://senscot.net/?viewid=7188
Billy Maxwell, a community development (CD) professional from Blackburn in England has written a strong piece in this week’s New Start magazine which asks if community development is now dead. He argues that CD enshrined rights, independence and the need for a sophisticated awareness of power. If CD is now to be replaced by the 23 proposals in the Government’s community empowerment action plan then lets not pretend that it’s the same thing. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7185
The allocation of unclaimed assets in obsolete bank accounts to Third Sector activity has turned out to be a real marathon. Sir Ronald Cohen, who is the main driver behind the idea of a Social Investment Bank, has got fed up waiting on the decision from the Treasury and has gone ahead and set up ‘Social Finance’ to research the market and identify new financial products for charities and social enterprises. “Our role is to improve the link between the Third Sector and the investor community.” In Scotland, the decision about the allocation of the unclaimed assets will be made by the Scottish Government. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7186
Following our recent ad for a new Network Development Officer, we’re delighted to announce that Anna Roscoe will be joining us next month. Anna, who is currently with C-Mee in Alloa, will be working closely with our Colin and will be out and about to meet all the SEN members over the next couple of months.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/index.php?W21ID=86&W21SUBID=0. This week:
JOBS: 23 vacancies, incl. posts with: Fife Community Food Project, Triodos, Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust, Gift, Young Scot Enterprise, Eric Liddell Centre, Scot-pep, Scottish Government, Sleep Scotland
EVENTS: 17 events, SURF seminar, 8 May, Edinburgh; Edinburgh Treefest and Woodmarket, 15 Jun, Edinburgh; Southside Festival, 28 Jun, Glasgow; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh
Networks 1st: Attended the 3rd S2S Trade Fair this week in Dundee. Jim Mather (Minister for Enterprise) talked up the opportunities opening up for the sector over the next three years and his confidence in our ability to link to the Govt`s ambitions and to thrive and grow in the new climate of enterprise for the Third Sector. This year, two SENs had their own Stand at the event – Moray and Tayside. Senscot booked a Stand again this year and we were joined by members from the Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Aberdeen and Clacks SENs. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=6310
Senscot banks with Triodos who have had a presence in Scotland over the last few years with David Cousland. David writes to tell us that, with business on the up, they are recruiting a new Relationships Manager. See http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7177
We often hear stories of local councils `mainstreaming` ideas picked up from social enterprises. This week Aberdeen Council announced their intention to `spin out` an existing social work service into the Third Sector. The idea also has the backing of a prominent private entrepreneur. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7157
A major issue for the sector in the coming years is how to measure the impact of our work. Social Return on Investment (SROI) is gaining increasing credibility as a means of doing so. One of SROI`s leading advocates, Sheila Durie, writes to tell us about the launch of a SROI UK Network in Manchester nest month. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=7176
Many of you will remember Andrew Robinson who preceded Duncan Sloan as Head of Community Banking at RBS. Andrew is a risk-taker and seedcorn funded some of Senscot`s early projects. Met him at a `do` in London last week – telling me about his new project – CCLA. They are basically fund managers for the charity sector – a social enterprise. If you’ve got reserves lying in an instant access bank account – this lot give you better interest on your account. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7178
This week’s bulletin profiles a member of the Moray Social Enterprise Network (www.moraysen.org.uk) , that aims to support rural community regeneration by providing land and building sustainable, innovative, low cost and energy efficient housing. Down to Earth (DtE), set up in 2006, aims to show it is possible to do so using reclaimed and recycled materials. As a recognised Rural Housing Body, they are currently working with Housing Associations and statutory agencies to take forward their proposals. For further info, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7187
I’ve met several people recently who have settled for less cash and ‘security’ to do things they care deeply about. A reader sends a link to this blog which argues that you should chuck your boring job and follow your ‘bliss’. Maybe a bit hippy for some readers but one gets the feeling there’s some kind of counter-culture building. Howard Thurman the writer, philosopher and civil rights activist put it memorably: “Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. The world needs more people who have come alive”. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7179
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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