Senscot Bulletin: 26-05-2006

Dear members and friends,

Almost exactly twenty years ago I became mentally ill. Nervous breakdown tends to bring us back to feelings we experienced in the childhood trauma which left us damaged. I felt waves of the ‘terror of annihilation’ against which I had no defence. I thought I would go mad. During the crisis weeks I attended Edinburgh’s Andrew Duncan clinic and then I spent two years working with a psychotherapist to try to understand what was going on. Jung saw breakdown as an opportunity – the psyche telling us that our psychological life is defective – that things need to change.
 Folk are willing to tell us about physical ailments – yet mental illness remains somehow shameful. But having been there, I agree with Jung – illness has something to teach us. So I try to explore my unconscious mind – befriend my banished demons. Self-discovery can be painful – I’ve found rage, envy, arrogance, hypocrisy etc. Welcome to the human race. But I’ve made changes: When sadness comes, I no longer try to escape it – as valid a part of me as any. Once driven to make things happen, I’m learning to discern and go with flows of energy. In spite of many failures, I try to remain vulnerable in relationships. Fear remains a familiar part of my experience – but even that becomes more manageable.

I have believed for some time that New Labour is judging the mood of the British electorate too materialistically and ignoring our other deeper values and concerns. I think that David Cameron’s adoption of the well-being agenda is a clever tactical move, which will set the cat among the pigeons. The New Economics Foundation, which is well to the left of New Labour, has been trying to promote its ‘Well-being Manifesto’ to Government for two years. They would have been better punting it to the Tories. Of course it remains unknown whether the Tories will ever develop their social enterprise/ green / well-being agenda, but it’s building into an attractive package:

The Government conducts an annual UK wide survey of small businesses. In 2005 they included a new group of questions related to social objectives, profit distribution etc and from the results they now estimate that there are around 55,000 social enterprises in the UK. At 10% of the UK, this would mean 5500 in Scotland. Senscot thinks this is a bit high. We assume about 3000 – but it depends on definition.

Last week Ed Miliband, the new minister for the Third Sector at the cabinet office, was due to launch a new ‘action plan’ intended to refresh the 2002 English ‘Social Enterprise Strategy’ He decided to postpone the launch so that he personally can talk with more people and give it his own stamp. Speaking to an invited audience at the Hoxton Apprentice, he said that the kind of things he wants to learn more about are the difficulties facing social enterprises trying to get started. See his five questions:  

Senscot’s AGM is in Glasgow this year on June 16. We are now a limited company and the AGM is for company members only. See Company Register: If you’re interested in joining, contact  A condition is that company members agree that they can be approached occasionally to assist other social entrepreneurs.

Regeneration and Renewal magazine reports that the next tranche of money for Futurebuilders in England ‘has been held back amid rumours that it could be allocated elsewhere’ due to significant underspending. Is this down to bureaucratic ineptitude or a lack of ‘investment ready’ enterprises?

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs ( or events ( and we’ll post them on our site. This week:

JOBS: 27 vacancies, incl. posts with: Community Voices Network, CVS Fife, Forth Sector, Volunteer Centre Dundee, Voluntary Action Fund, Midlothian Sure Start, North Glasgow Community Food Initiative. 

EVENTS: Responsible Sustainable Growth, 30 May, Edinburgh; Scottish Institute for Enterprise Social Enterprise Conference, 31 May, Glasgow, CRNS Masterclass, 5 June, Cumbernauld; Gorbals Youth & Community Theatre – Rock Monster Show, 10 June; Comrie Alive, 11 June, Comrie.

CESEL, the Borders social enterprise network, informs us of the new ‘Books for All’ initiative. The project is a joint venture between local network members Bookdonors and Parent-to-Parent (Borders). For more info’,

New Labour will not enjoy the Church of England’s new ‘Faithful Cities’ report, which condemns the UK’s increasing economic inequality. The tone of the report marks a change of attitude of the Church towards the government. Rowan Williams also points out that there is the potential to mobilise the immense capacity that religious groups have to bring stability and leadership to poor communities.

Edward Harkins sends an excellent (as usual) summary of the recent SURF forum on the Scottish Executive’s ‘Regeneration Policy Statement’. I was heartened to read that ‘for many participants the priority issue was the need to provide adequate and appropriate channels for the community and voluntary sector’- that ‘community representatives on ‘partnership’ boards are not always enough.’

It is a mistake to assume that social entrepreneurs operate exclusively in the Third Sector – they are also active to great effect throughout our public services. The Guardian’s public service awards programme is in its third year and is now open for 2006’s nominations:

This week’s bulletin profiles a relatively new social enterprise, Step Too, set up by the Housing Charity, Positive Steps in Dundee. While Positive Steps concentrates on providing specialist housing and living skills support to vulnerable adults, Step Too, a trading company, assists people in the next stage of their journey to independence and/or employment. Step Too undertakes work contracts with businesses and voluntary sector organisations in Dundee. Current contracts include property maintenance and refurbishment, contract cleaning and gardening, undertaken on behalf of clients such as Dundee Industrial Association and Hillcrest Housing Association. Due to its success in Dundee, Step Too is looking into opening in Glasgow in the near future. For further info’, see

Revisiting Alice Millers ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child’?
 ‘The drama is this. We came as infants ‘trailing clouds of glory,’ arriving from the farthest reaches of the universe, bringing with us appetites well preserved from our mammal inheritance, spontaneities wonderfully preserved from our 150,000 years of tree life, anger well-preserved form our 5,000 years of tribal life – in short, our 360-degree radiance – and we offered this gift to our parents. They didn’t want it. They wanted a nice girl or a nice boy. ‘
The pain of this rejection is probably stored in some pre-verbal place. As children we did the only sensible thing we could – we constructed a personality more acceptable to our parents. Alice Miller says the proper attitude to this drama is mourning.

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

Best wishes,

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