Dear members and friends,
Carol’s dad and I were close friends – I knew her growing up – a child of unusual poise and grace;
watching her with a football reminded me of the Dutch ace Johan Cruyff. Carol lives now in Linlithgow with 4 year old daughter Gaby and her mum – occasionally I drop in for a coffee. In town on Tuesday, I ring their bell and invite Gaby over to La Ronda Café for ice cream and a chat. 4 year old friends are very special – they tell it the way they see it – what some Buddhists call ‘beginners mind’.
”Can I tell us a secret, Laurence – just for just us?” – her wee earnest face. I nod and smile – sure. ”When you came, mummy looked out the window and said F**k – the last thing I need right now is a visit from Laurence”…… Like a slap in the face. Hearing this really hurts – Gaby wouldn’t invent it. My mind races – manage to smile and say ”That’s not a nice word, Love – don’t think you were meant to tell me that.”.
I see Gaby safely into her house and drive off. When the expected phone call comes that evening from Carol, I’m still hurt and angry – but composed. She seems genuinely contrite – not been herself lately – it just slipped out etc. When we hang up, it’s not really sorted – but we both want it sorted – a bit of time will do the rest. Caring for people opens us to hurt. But that’s the deal we make with life – because it`s worth it – I think.
Senscot recently asked the proprietors of the Social Enterprise Mark in London if Scotland can stick with the CIC dividend cap of 35% as opposed to SEM`s relaxation to 50%. This request has now been rejected – they are not minded to permit distinctly Scottish National Criteria for their SEM – so we must now decide what to do. Do we, as many have been suggesting, create a distinctly Scottish Mark with our own criteria and culture? Or do we walk away – leaving Scottish social enterprises, which are so inclined, to go for the version on offer? Over the next few weeks Senscot will ask this question through our networks. Difficult one to call. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9230
Senscot was one of the 10 organisations which hosted the ‘Civil Society Summit’ in Edinburgh last week – different elements of the third sector joining forces with Trades Unions, Academics, Faith Groups, Citizen’s Campaigns etc. I came away even more convinced, that the different voices of Scottish civil society are in broad agreement about how to address some of the critical challenges facing our society. I believe that we can now proceed to articulate a shared ‘platform’ – with perhaps 8 core elements – to impact public debate. Stephen Maxwell made a start on this list – he and others are working to refine it – comments invited.
On the same theme, there is a valuable feature in the online Guardian just now about ‘Citizen Ethics’ (including a 60 page pamphlet). Some of my favourite thinkers have contributed pieces and a vigorous debate is in full swing. As public frustration with polities builds – its time to define the kind of society we want to create. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9224
NESTA is a quasi govt agency which promotes innovation in the public, private and third sectors. It has never really discovered Scotland – so I tend to ignore it – but there are recent signs of invigoration. This week, NESTA published a discussion paper called ”Mass Localism: a way to help small communities solve big social challenges”. It’s impressive – seems to understand the immense resource of intelligence and energy latent in our communities. As always though, there’s the same elephant in the room – that municipal councils dislike independent community action. But maybe the imminent economic tsunami will change the rules of that game. http://www.senscot.net/view_res.php?viewid=9221
The achievement of a sufficient supply of affordable homes is not just about money – it requires a specialist infrastructure to develop and manage properties. Scotland’s Housing Associations, particularly the community based ones, are an achievement to be proud of – building social capital deep into communities. The problem is that Scotland’s affordable housing budget drops this year from £670m to £470m – because this year’s money was drawn down in advance. The shortage of affordable homes and the shortage of work for builders surely make it a priority to find this money. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9223
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/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: Fairbridge in Scotland, The Scottish Government, Open Door Accommodation Project, Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project, Portobello Transition Town, Oxfam Scotland, Turning Point Scotland
EVENTS: HISEZ Annual Conference, 26 Feb; Introduction to business planning and strategy & measuring social impact, 10 Mar; CRNS 5th Annual Conference, 17 Mar; DTAS & The Glasshouse Building Design Study Visits & Support, 20 Mar; Business Acquisition: Getting Ready to Buy, 24 Mar;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Ready for Business (http://www.readyforbusiness.org) is a public social partnership (psp) pilot project involving Senscot, Social Firms Scotland and CEiS. It’s aim is to help social enterprises increase their trading through increased access to tender opportunities. Public contracts are increasingly adopting Community Benefit Clauses and already opportunities for social enterprise are starting to flow through the Ready for Business programme. Over 120 social enterprises are already receiving regular updates on these opportunities. http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/shownotice.php?articleid=136.
For more Networks News, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=130
Aidan writes: Having just got back from 10 days in sunny New Zealand, I can report that the Kiwi social enterprise community is alive and kicking. Whilst they may not have same support infrastructure or Govt buy-in that we currently benefit from in Scotland, there is no denying that, at a grassroots level, there is plenty to build on. They are actively looking at establishing their own Network for social entrepreneurs and enterprises and Senscot will be glad to help them in anyway we can – one idea being mooted is a `buddying`
link between SEN members and their New Zealand counterparts. If you’re interested, let us know.
The failure of banks to serve poor communities is a hobby horse of mine since my community work days – Faisel Rahman, a true warrior on behalf of poor people, agrees with me that banks must be forced to connect to communities. Good piece in the Guardian. He urges us to join the Better Banking Campaign. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9220
A report from the New Economics Foundation claims that we all work too hard – that it would be to everyone’s benefit if the working week was cut to around 21 hours. If we opted for less money and more free time, it would reduce inequality and unemployment – make us better friends and neighbours – partners and parents. I know people who have realised this – made the changes. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9190
The Coalfields SEN is holding its first seminar on 26th March. The host venue is the Blantyre Miners` Community Resource Centre. The Centre was recently refurbished in 2008 and now provides a range of services and facilities for the local community that include multi-purpose hall, a gym, training rooms, 3 business units and an exhibition area. In their drive to become self-sustaining, the Centre is looking at new ways to generate their own income. A particularly interesting initiative is the Blantyre Community Cinema due to open this Easter with their own Film Festival planned for 2011. See more,
The Saturday Guardian Review of books has a weekly feature where celebrities celebrate a personal hero in 300 words. Philip Gross honours the heroism with which his father John bears old age. Here are the first 100 words – beautifully told. ”Here’s an old man, older than he ever reckoned to be. He doesn’t look much like a hero – hair and beard a bit unkempt, and you can tell his eyesight’s not up to the job of catching a food stain here and there. But he’s got his walking stick and his eccentric beret, and he strides through the backstreet, rain or shine. Don’t ask him where he’s going; he’ll just see your lips moving, your look of slight impatience or concern… because his hearing has crumbled, from the top registers downwards: birdsong went first; now there’s mainly the confusing growl of traffic…’ See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9225
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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