Senscot Bulletin: 25.07.14

Dear members and friends,

             Strolling around North Berwick recently – I keep noticing wee green memorial plaques on the walls of houses – so I make enquiries.  Recent research has found it seems – that in the 30 years between 1894 and 1924 – 120 young men and women left East Lothian – to take the game of golf all over the world; from this list, 45 have been honoured with a heritage plaque – to celebrate where they hailed from.  If 120 from East Lothian – how many from all Scotland; Europe and America will soon contest the Ryder Cup; these young hopefuls took our game to both continents.  The ability of Scots to prosper in other lands is undisputed – but I wish we could keep more of our young people.

            Watched Kirsty Wark’s programme about ‘Scotland’s Art Revolution’ – where I learn that Glasgow’s art scene is vital enough to match the pull of London or New York; and that it attracts international artists to live and work in the city.  The programme credits the influence of David Harding – who founded the Environmental Arts course at Glasgow Art School; and whom I remember from his work with communities in the 70s and 80s.  I enjoyed reading this lecture of Harding’s – his take on Scotland’s remarkable artistic flowering.  He’s surprisingly muted about the Scottish arts elite – who wouldn’t give community arts the time of day – forcing him to leave the country to get work.  But it seems that the baton has been successfully passed to a new generation of artists – young people who show no inclination to leave.  See,


 In the lecture/essay linked above – David Harding of Glasgow Art School shares his personal understanding of the factors which contributed to the remarkable success of the Glasgow art scene.  He considers the camaraderie and socializing among the artists themselves to be a major contributor; but Harding insists that an important part of the story is the city of Glasgow itself – the warmth and friendliness of its citizens.  Watching on TV this week – the sheer exuberance of Glaswegians enjoying the Commonwealth Games – I feel again a warmth for their warmth.  Those who count social capital as the true wealth of a society can learn much from this big-hearted city.  See,


 I’m a great fan of Pope Francis – love much of what he says and does; last year he told the world’s priests – ‘a shepherd should smell like his sheep’ – which goes straight to the heart of the matter.  But what I find most stimulating is his willingness to go head to head with the ‘barbaric philosophy of neoliberalism’.  This piece from ‘The Conversation’ – covers reactions to Francis from the right wing press. (Economist, Telegraph etc.)  See,


 Senscot subscribes to the Civil Society daily newstream – where journalists still probe third sector shenanigans.  Like a terrier – Tania Mason has been unravelling a two year scandal around the Cabinet Office, the Lottery and NESTA sweetheart deals with Big Society Network and its sister charity.  Her perseverance secured a National Audit Office enquiry – which has now issued its highly critical report.  It’s worrying that a Government department can behave in such an arrogant and incompetent way.  The whole thing smells.  See,


 Robin McAlpine’s recent speech about Common Weal fielding candidates in the 2016 Scottish General Election had predictable results (last week’s bulletin).  I was saddened, but not surprised, to read in Sunday’s Herald about ructions at the Reid Foundation.  McAlpine has sensibly posted a forthright statement on the Bella Caledonia site – sharing his thinking around the broad possibilities for Common Weal – both as a ‘loose banner’ or as a new political organisation.  I recognise the landscape McAlpine describes; his vision is bold and hopeful; his achievement is already significant.  See,


 NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:

JOBS: Instant Neighbour, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, Turning Point Scotland, Paws for Progress CIC, Raploch Community Partnership Ltd, The Salvation Army, East Ayrshire Women’s Aid

EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 26 Jul; Unique Dyslexic Get Creative Visual Art, 26 Jul; Dream Time, 7 Aug; Those Were The Days, 8 Aug;

TENDERS: Provision of Recycling Scrap Metal – Scottish Borders Council, Provision of Childcare Vouchers Scheme – APUC Limited, Bute Community Power Wind Feasibility


 The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: The summer months tend to be reasonably quiet on the SEN front and can give us an opportunity to reflect on developments/changes etc. A notable development this year has been the significant increase in SEN membership – up by around 100 (17%) to 670 SEs engaged with local or thematic SENs. What do we attribute this to?  The increasing level on activity and connectivity of local SENs; the increased profile afforded to SE at a national level; an increase in joint working, particularly between the thematic and local SENs; the impact of support programmes such as Just Enterprise; greater engagement with TSIs. With statutory agencies – Govt, the BIG Lottery, HIE, EU – all developing longer term strategies to support the third sector, it is clear the SENs and their members have a considerable contribution to make. See,

For more SENs News, see


 Following up on our piece on the EU publication of a ‘new standard for measuring social impact’ – see, – we are grateful to Alan Kay for his response: “If you go through the stages outlined by the European Commission’s new standard, you will find that it is essentially Social Accounting and Audit as it is now understood – and seems to borrow nearly all the steps that have evolved from the work of John Pearce and others working in Scotland since 1990. What the European standard does not offer, however, and which is essential, in the process is an external ‘audit’.  The Social Audit Network offers that…”.  See,


 DTA Scotland hosts its annual conference on 31st Aug/1st Sept at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld. The theme this year is ‘Our Communities – Our Future’. Over 150 places have been snapped up but they still have space for around 50 more delegates – but don’t leave it too late! Amongst the key note speakers will be Bernadette Devlin McAliskey who will be sharing her experiences on South Tyrone Empowerment Programme. To book your place, see


Still on EU Funding, the BIG Lottery in England is committing over £600k to raise awareness of EU Funding opportunities for third sector organisations. In addition, BIG (in England) is expecting to commit around £260m to lever/match EU funds. It would be good if the BIG Lottery Scotland was able to make a similar commitment.  See,


Senscot is working Forth Sector and Rocket Science on the Village SOS Campaign in Scotland. The campaign will focus on signposting rurally-based SEs to the wide range of services and support currently available. See more,  To kick off, a survey is being carried out to get views on the most appropriate support for community enterprises in rural areas – see, . It takes about 10 mins to complete. Thanks


With the Commie Games getting under way in Glasgow, this week’s bulletin profiles not one social enterprise but 15 emerging social ventures that are part of Firstport’s ‘Beyond the Finish Line’ programme.  Each of the 15 enterprises has received £2014 as part of the Glasgow 2014 Legacy Project – and opened for business this week and all involve young people looking to regenerate local areas in Glasgow’s communities. Projects include a youth culture magazine; an upcycling enterprise; an illustration company; confidence workshops for young mothers; and a community cinema. ‘Beyond the Finish Line’ is based at 7 Trongate in the city. For details on each of the new ventures, see,


The weekend Guardian’s review section carried brief statements from a clutch of Scottish writers about the referendum.  Richard Holloway’s piece got my vote as the most intelligent.

“Economics strikes me as no more conclusive a science than theology, which is why I have been more irritated than enlightened by the use each side has made of the dismal science in the debate; but while the arguments of the yes side may not have persuaded me, the arguments of the no side have propelled me in the opposite direction.  Rather than making a positive case for the union, the Better Together campaign has wasted its energy on attacking the idea that Scotland could go it alone, a tactic guaranteed to anger those of us for whom the question was never whether we could but whether we should.”  See,

That’s all for this week.          

Best wishes,



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