Senscot Bulletin: 25.06.10

Dear members and friends,

The Occidental Coral Beach is one of the many hotels around Marbella which I’ve always considered beyond my means – but an amazing price popped up on the internet so here I am, for a week of ‘living high on the hog’. A great price, although mine is probably the worst room in this house – but I don’t care – both the ambience and the courtesy of the staff are exceptional. I also love the Andalucian decor  – warm terracotta tones, Moorish tiles – a grand atrium with palm trees – moving water – exotic fish and turtles. There’s also a definite sheen about the punters – but I feel ok – shorts and polo shirts don’t vary much – in the evenings, I wear my posh pullover. For some reason, I’ve started noticing marvellous perfume smells when women waft by. Blind Al Pacino in "The Scent of a Woman" could name all these fragrances.
 Before I came away, a friend loaned me a book about Chi Kung – an ancient Chinese practice for becoming more aware of your body, and its patterns of energy. The method is based on simply standing still – the mental image is "like a tree" – combining immense strength with the most delicate sensitivity. My body has not had an easy life – it deserves more consideration – so several times a day, I’m out on the balcony practicing being a tree. Below – round the pool – better tended bodies are browning gently in the sunshine. Some real ‘stoaters’! I could get used to this. 

I have never been a left wing activist – more a social democrat; regulate markets – nationalise or mutualise banking – redistributive taxation etc. I’ve never doubted that expanding public services is one of our most effective instruments for creating a fairer society. For the past 40 years I’m proud to have participated in this expansion. It’s therefore with surprise (and some guilt) that I find myself with little motivation to fight the impending cull of the numbers of state employees. Iain MacWhirter wrote well about it in Sunday’s Herald. "There is a new kind of social divide: between those within the state with their comfortable and secure lives, and those out in the cold with their noses pressed against the window". The tragedy is that lots of good stuff will get lost in the purge. See,

Interesting piece in Third Sector Mag from social entrepreneur Duncan Fisher who suggests that, in the current climate, the charity model is `broken`. He predicts a crisis for the funding of all kinds of services at every level that will result in a shift towards social enterprise and self-help and believes the CIC model is the way forward. His mantra is, "don’t mix the business management with the social sector politics…and to focus on clients rather than funders". The future belongs to those who can eliminate grants from their financial planning. See more,

John Swinney has written to all local authorities and NGOs about the impending financial climate. His message perhaps does not do enough straight talking – but you’ll get the general tone. We gather that Scotland will know what money is available around October – then Govt departments will start bidding for their respective budgets which should be known by December. Here’s Swinney`s letter,

Ed Mayo (Secretary General, Co-operatives UK) writes to tell us about their new venture – Co-operatives Fortnight. This is a first for the UK and includes a series of events and reports as well as a co-operatives summit being held next Saturday in Plymouth. The summit will see contributions from Will Hutton, Phillip Blond and Richard Wilkinson amongst others. See more,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: Dean and Cauvin Trust, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Turning Point Scotland, Elite Linguists C.I.C, Spruce Carpets, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living (GCIL), sparqs (Student Participation in Quality Scotland), BBC Children in Need, New Caledonian Woodlands, Children in Scotland, Edinburgh Cyrenians
EVENTS: Events at Glasgow Women’s Library, 26 Jun; Prove, Improve and Account, 8 Jul; More Than Furniture 2010, 24 Jul; Realising Potential – next steps for social enterprise in Scotland, 2 Sep; Understanding Social Enterprise, 9 Sep; The Facilitative Manager, 17 Sep
TENDERS: Waste Management, Working with people who have a learning disability and complex needs – the essentials, East Glasgow Community Food Project, Supply and Distribution of Fresh Bread and Rolls, 10/0015 Paper, Card & Plastics Recycling Contract, Provision of Training Services Framework

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: This week saw two further SENs signing off the Model Rules – taking the total to four. Clacks and Dundee have now joined Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Meanwhile, Edinburgh SEN, as well as signing the Model Rules, has also agreed a Service Level Agreement with Edinburgh City Council to deliver peer support for social enterprises in the City as well as taking on the Chair of the Edinburgh Social Economy Partnership. For more Networks News, see

A couple of weeks back, we mentioned that Unity Enterprise was now `on site`, delivering the catering contract during the construction of the Velodrome for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. They held the official launch this week of the two year contract that will see the creation of 10 new jobs with an anticipated turnover of £200k. Unity won the exclusive contract through Glasgow City Council’s community benefit clauses for major construction projects. See more,

This week, Highland and Island Enterprise unveiled a new initiative to stem the `brain drain` in the Highlands. The Talent Scotland Graduate Placement Programme (£2.4m over 3 yrs) will help up to 350 young people stay or return to the area after they have finished their studies. Businesses and social enterprises will be supported to employ university students, graduates and post-graduates for up to a year. Read more:

Alastair Davis (Investment Director, Social Investment Scotland) provides us with an update on progress with the Scottish Investment Fund. The Fund is now approaching the £20m mark in terms of investments made or pending drawdown to around 30 organisations. Recently approved investments include support for New Start Highland; Fife HARCA; and Changeworks Recycling Ltd. Demand for the fund remains high and Alastair is encouraging all potential applicants to, at the very least, register their interest. See current available list of awardees,

This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social enterprise, based at Lossiemouth in Moray that provides a range of services and products to young people, families and the wider community. Outf!t Moray, on the go since 2003, provides outdoor activities as a medium for developing self esteem and currently works with up to 1,000 young people each year. They are developing a number of related income streams including family and adult summer programmes, equipment hire service, 2nd hand outdoor kit sales as well as a contract and consultancy service. For more, see,

I enjoy the insights of the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875- 1926) – particularly on the issues of relationship and solitude.
" Once the realisation is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky…Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other…At the bottom no-one in life can help anyone else in life; this one experiences over and over in every conflict and every perplexity; that one is alone. That isn`t as bad as it may first appear; and again it is the best thing in life that each of us should have everything in ourselves; our fate, our future, our whole expanse and world".

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

Best wishes,


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