Senscot Bulletin 25-04-2003



(Going out
today to: 1131; back copies of the bulletin are available at our web-site,


Dear Members and friends


The ad says, ‘Malaga – £40 return’, so I phone – “Best I can
do on that day is £170.”  She says, “I’m
flexible,” I reply, “What dates can you do for £40?” – Transpires they’re all
sold out – basically it’s a scam. Recently, car battery packs in – so I phone
around – cheapest quote is £38, but when I get there – across town – “Those
ones are sold out – I can do one for £69.” Basically it’s a scam. Go to wee
owner garage near house. “How much would you charge to replace my battery?”
“£65” “That’s a bit steep – I’ve been quoted £38.” “Well, take it,” He says.
“They’ve run out,” I reply. “Yes,” the guy scoffs, “When I’ve none they’re 38
quid here too.” He was rude but he was right. His price was real. His battery
was real. I paid up.

            The worst
financial predator in my life right now is my bank. After 25 acrimonious
minutes on the phone, get them to credit £160 which they had ‘mistakenly’
deducted from my account.  Basically
it’s a scam.  It’s taken me years to
realise that some banks, with impunity, will take as much of your money as they
can get away with.  I grew up respecting
bankers, lawyers etc – but the greed for money has stolen our dignity.  From government down – the culture of
impunity spreads. 



Decided this morning – Anne and I are going to Seville for
the UEFA cup final – no tickets for the game but that doesn’t matter – I’m a
Hibby – Anne loves Spain, and we’ve a friend with a spare couch.  Glasgow patter meets Flamenco Sevilliano is
something we can’t miss. The café crack will be memorable.



Talking of banks – during the 20 years I worked in Wester
Hailes, not even Malcolm Rifkind while Secretary of State for Scotland could
persuade any of them that they had a responsibility to offer services to this
community of 16,000 people. Historic launch on Wednesday of Prospect Plus, an
imaginative partnership between Prospect, the Community Housing Association,
and Bank of Scotland which will give hundreds of local tenants access to save
and loan facilities. This is a pioneering business which leads the field in the
UK and will be much copied.  Eoghan
Howard and the other founders of the Wester Hailes Community Banking Agreement
are to be congratulated.  I can remember
when the main banks wouldn’t even touch the social housing market – it’s good
to see them now competing for housing association business. Senscot’s woman in
the London banking sector informs us that Treasury officials have recently been
to USA taking another look at their Community Reinvestment legislation. Gordon
Brown is keeping the pressure on banks to do more at the social end of the
economy. It’s sad that our money system has to be dragged screaming and kicking
into these social benefit markets.  (



In partnership with other organisations, Senscot works to
improve the range of provision available in Scotland to stimulate and nurture
social entrepreneurs and their enterprises. An important piece of this
infrastructure is Scotland UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs,
which provides grants and support for social entrepreneurs to start up and run
projects of community benefit. Today saw the official launch and award ceremony
for the first 36 awardees, and the event, which is just over, was one of the
most heart-lifting gatherings I’ve attended in years. Richard Holloway, as
usual, was inspiring – Denis Mooney the chairman in Scotland got it just right
– but the special ‘charge’ came from a roomful of social entrepreneurs talking
about their projects. Wow!  Details of
them are on our site and we think you’ll be inspired:
And if you have an idea for a social enterprise and are thinking applying
yourself, contact Eileen Inglis, 0131 226 7333,



While we’re on the subject of support for social enterprises
in Scotland, it would help considerably if the Scottish Executive could develop
the habit of answering e-mails. A number of Senscot members in recent weeks
have complained that their communications went completely unacknowledged. There
could, of course be technical reasons for these lapses, but if not, they should
beware a reputation of aloofness.



NOTICES: See ‘Listings’ at
for more on these and other items and job vacancies. If you have a relevant
notice you’d like posted, send it to


Sustainable Communities Project Fund is coming to an end,
but there are unallocated funds remaining and community project ideas may be
eligible for funding – particularly projects concerning energy and travel.
Contact Diane Alderdice  0141 222 5635
or visit


The post of Senscot development worker is advertised in the
latest Third Force News and the Big Issue. The application date has been
extended to May 6th. Meanwhile, we have work available for a short
period for a research and mapping exercise. See


CORRECTION: re. Ceilidh Place weekend in Ullapool. Nov
21-23, on ‘The Scots and Confidence’ (price £30 for weekend); wrong contact
e-mail given for Gerry Hassan last week. Correct:


Your assistance is invited with a short market testing
survey for the proposed Social Enterprise Academy.  Would you be willing to help? 


Bunker Roy who famously founded The Barefoot College in
Rajasthan, India in 1972 will be in Scotland on May 13th.  Senscot has asked this legendary social
entrepreneur to address a members meeting



A brief technical problem means e-mails sent to us on
Tuesday (22nd) afternoon may not have reached us. If you mailed then
and still await a reply please send again. Thanks, and sorry for any



AGM: Just to remind you Senscot’s 2003 AGM will be in
Edinburgh at The Hub (on the Royal Mile), 13th June. Lord Puttnam of Queensgate
is scheduled to be the guest speaker. 



This week the bulletin profiles FEAT Enterprises, based in
Falkland in Fife. Founded in 1994, FEAT`s primary objective is to increase the
employment opportunities available to people with disabilities or mental health
problems in Fife. The path FEAT has chosen through which to achieve this is through
the development of social firms that are able to provide a supported setting
for their participants and are self-financing, stand alone and expanding
businesses. Amongst the initiatives already developed by FEAT are The Burgh
Lodge – a budget priced hostel and Sugar Acre – a horticulture and garden
maintenance project. FEAT is currently seeking to develop an event organisation
and management project, FifeFEST. For further information on FEAT and their
current businesses and future plans, see
(Project Profiles)



Over the years we adopt certain individuals as influences on
our thinking – probably they agree with our own inner promptings. Ben Okri, the
African writer who grew up during the Nigerian civil war, is one such for me –
I am frequently nourished by his understanding of the human spirit. The
following extract is from his speech on April 15th for the opening
of the British Museum’s exhibition, ‘The Museum of the Mind’:

“In Iraq, The need of the
Americans to protect oil fields, but not hospitals, museums and libraries, is a
catastrophic failure of imagination and a signal absence of a sense of the true
values of civilisation. The end of the world begins not with the barbarians at
the gate, but with the barbarians at the highest levels of the state. All the
states in the world.  The real war
always has been to keep alive the light of civilisation everywhere; to keep
culture and art at the forefront of our national and international endeavours.”


The full speech is at


That’s all for this week. Don’t forget to vote, folks.

Best wishes,



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