Senscot Bulletin: 26.06.09

Dear members and friends,

Sunday was midsummer’s day – in glorious sunshine we drive to St Andrews – the scenic route – through Auchtermuchty and Cupar. Short detour to buy strawberries – eat them by a burn – amongst the scents and colours of summer. Table booked at `The Doll’s House` – one of our favourite Sunday lunch places. My wild mushroom risotto is memorable – finished with shavings of Parmigiano and drizzled with truffle oil. Then a leisurely potter round the charity shops – Barnardo`s has 4 biographies of Hemingway I haven’t read – £14 the lot – there’s something about his life that hooks me. Ice cream from Janetta`s and a stroll round the oldest part of town – the cathedral ruins – the quadrangles and chapels of Scotland’s oldest university.
Our final walk is down that wee lane which adjoins the 18th hole of the famous Old course – for golfers the world over – this is Mecca. 4 Americans with caddies are on the fairway – waiting for a family with toddlers to cross from the beach – pleasantries exchanged. St Andrews Links is held as common land for the citizens of the Kingdom of Fife and operates as a social enterprise for the benefit of all the community. There’s an admirable down-to-earth quality about Fifers – this is Willie Gallagher country (the communist MP).  These people love golf – took it all over the world – it’s safe in their stewardship – safe from the Donald Trumps who would privatise our heritage

The Calman Commission on Scottish devolution comprises 15 appointees of the Westminster political parties. Its purpose was to stem the Scots` growing appetite for sovereignty by enhancing devolved power. Any establishment will screen its members through bestowing honours and titles – 11 of the Calman group are already `screened` so we were hardly expecting revolution – but this is very thin gruel indeed – stuff like the control of airguns isn’t going to cut it, chaps! If the English elect Cameron next year more Scots will get restless. The Calman Report runs to 700 pages, which I have no intention of reading. Here’s Stephen Maxwell’s take on it.

Muhammad Yunus talks movingly about that amazing moment of “institutional transformation” when a social business is able to break even – the move from philanthropy to the limitless world of business.  Senscot believes that Scotland has hundreds of social enterprises moving towards the tipping point – and the Government’s Enterprise Fund is specifically designed to help them get there.  At an average of £70K the Fund has resources to help around 140 businesses.  It’s well worth your time researching the kind of activities they’ll fund.  Specifically, it’s not about projects, it’s about organisational change. Here’s an update from Scottish Govt – plus latest awardees.

Yesterday I attended a roundtable meeting along with a broad cross-section of the civil society institutions – to explore whether there is an appetite to try to agree a collective response to Scotland’s various crises.  The mood of the meeting was very positive and I’m optimistic that this process will continue to develop.
The scoping paper prepared by Stephen Maxwell is worth your attention – a thoughtful essay on the various crises which coincide in our times – and the spectrum of possible responses.

I’ve stopped believing that there is any sincere political intention – either in Scotland or the UK- to decentralise power to communities.  Those Communities which achieve any level of independence will do so, not from political patronage, but through the collective economic activity of local people – through successful community enterprise.  A survey of 80 local authorities, by the English Audit Commission, concluded recently that it is unlikely that the Quirk Review will have much effect on the transfer of assets from councils to committees. The main reason given by council officials was that local people lack the necessary competence. They would say that wouldn’t they.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: incl. posts with Centre of Health and Wellbeing, Voluntary Action Fund, Show Racism the Red Card, Hamilton & Clydesdale Women’s Aid, ARC Scotland, YMCA Scotland, Sustainable Scotland Network (Keep Scotland Beautiful), East Renfrewshire Women’s Aid, Bethany Christian Trust, Christian Aid
EVENTS: West End Women’s Heritage Walks, 28 Jun; Contracting for Government Programmes – a focus on DWP 2009 – 2014, 29 Jun; Assertiveness Skills, 30 Jun; Bruncheon! Featuring the Sound of Muesli, 7 Jul; Compassionate Living Fayre Edinburgh’09, 25 Jul; Stress Awareness at Work, 21 Aug;

NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: On Wednesday, I attended the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition’s 5th AGM in Edinburgh. The day included three policy debates – how the sector and the Scottish Government communicate the value of social enterprise; the Third Sector Interfaces; and the Social Enterprise Mark. Next week, we’ll publish a report on the events Senscot has held over recent months on the Mark. It also became evident that there is an increasing desire within the Coalition to work more closely with the LSENs over the coming year. For more Networks News, see

Three Scottish organisations are included in a shortlist of 6 for this year’s Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneur award. The three – the Gladiator Programme, Maggie Cancer Caring Centres and Columba 1400 – are in the running to win prizes that include either a £5m interest-free loan or a one off cash donation of up to £500,000. See more,

A few weeks ago, we carried an online survey on behalf of the Social Investment Scotland (SIS). The purpose of the survey was to enable them to design/improve existing products for social enterprises. Full results will be available shortly. Here’s an initial summary.

A great Scottish success story was recognised in London recently when Community Energy Scotland (CES) won a major award from the British Renewable Energy Association. CES uses a community empowerment approach – helping local people to develop their own wind and hydro projects.

This week’s bulletin profiles DTA Scotland’s new practitioner consultancy service – The Pool in Scotland. The Pool is a collaboration between DTA Scotland and its member organisations with the aim of generating income for both DTAS and its member trusts. By drawing on the grassroots experience and knowledge of its members, The Pool has already secured a number of contracts including establishing a community newspaper in West Edinburgh and the potential purchasing an army camp on behalf of the community in Stornoway. For more, see

From last week’s Bristol Evening Post:

Outside Bristol Zoo is the car park, with spaces for 150 cars and 8 coaches.  It has been manned 6 days a week for 23 years by the same charming and very polite car park attendant with the ticket machine.  The charges are £1 per car and £5 per coach.  On Monday 1 June, he did not turn up for work.  Bristol Zoo management phoned Bristol City Council to ask them to send a replacement parking attendant.  The Council said “That car park is your responsibility.”  The Zoo said “The attendant was employed by the City Council… wasn’t he?”  The Council said “What attendant?” Gone missing from his home is a man who has been taking daily the car park fees amounting to about £400 per day for the last 23 years…!

That’s over £100K a year- tax free.  Hope it’s true!

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

Best wishes,

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