Senscot Bulletin 26.06.15

Dear members and friends,
Looking back – I’ve never been big on financial planning – overrated. Committees enjoy financial plans – the semblance of control – but other things matter more. At the start-up phase, I’ve always prioritised freedom to shape ventures ahead of financial security; we rarely get the chance of both; an entrepreneur can expect a period of flying solo into the unknown. But if you’re brave enough to be doing something you really love – boldly – this has its own genius; something always turns up to provide the resources; it has for me.
            In the same spirit of freedom – I find myself in support of the anti-austerity protestors on the streets of Europe. My intuition has long understood that there is no such thing as money – not as is presented to us ordinary people; true money is a mechanism of the wealthy – to make them wealthier. This accords with the narrative of the protestors – that the international financial system is in essence fraudulent and illegal – designed to facilitate the control of the world economy – by a very small group of people. We are prevented from exploring the truth of this – because the same few people effectively control the world media.
             It is difficult to predict where these anti austerity protests will lead – but a growing number of people want something done about the neo-liberal ownership of our money system. History tells us that the ‘new order’ does not always flow seamlessly from the old order; sometimes it has to form itself out of disorder


Only time will tell – as policies gradually unfold – what is the model of social democracy being pursued by our SNP Government. I’m thinking specifically about procurement policy – the potential encroachment of the private sector into public service delivery. I hesitate to reference the opinions of Brian Wilson (too much automatic Nat bashing) but his piece in the Scotsman tells a worrying story about Serco being lined up to displace CalMac’s West of Scotland ferry services. Apart from Serco being a discredited company – everyone knows that CalMac exists to serve fragile communities rather than maximise profit. It employs local people on decent terms and conditions – has long been an integral part of the communities it serves. If it is replaced by Serco – the Scottish Government will be sending a very unfortunate message.


Last year I went to hear Muhammad Yunus in Edinburgh – Tom Hunter was in the gathering – clearly an enthusiast for social business. This recent, short piece by him is interesting in that it offers a perspective on our world from a successful, no-nonsense serial entrepreneur. He clearly ‘gets’ the power of the market to achieve social aims – the potential of this movement; but there’s an oversimplification that makes me uneasy. The private and third sectors have very different aims and values; bringing them together involves tensions which are not simple.


The killing of nine black people during a church service in Charlestown, South Carolina has passed from the news – but I can’t get it out of my mind. I have the DVD of the film Selma – which revisits the famous Civil Rights March in 1965; some telling scenes, which evoke the terror of being black in a society governed and policed by white supremacists. Barack Obama told the American people, “These kind of mass shootings don’t happen in any other western societies – and we have it in our power to do something about it.”

Another important new piece of legislation – the Land Reform Bill – will shortly be introduced to our parliament – and will doubtless cause much heated debate; the ‘landed’ will fight this every inch of the way.George Monbiot of course is delighted. Many of us agree that the ownership of land should be for the benefit of the communities who live and work on it – the principle of the common good. Andy Wightman says that while the Bill doesn’t do everything that’s needed – it’s still an important moment.
I watched ‘The Fall of Scottish Labour’ on BBC with mixed feelings; having lived through most of these events – there was some nostalgia; but this movement was inspired by the spirit of international socialism which is long gone – what’s it for now? I like Kezia Dugdale – real spirit – but I can’t see anyway back for Labour – can you? I wonder if a new political voice will emerge on the left of SNP. There’s a well written but unforgiving piece about the programme posted on


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Wood RecyclAbility Ltd, Huntly and District Development Trust, WorkingRite, DSL Business Finance, Fife Employment Access Trust, Instant Neighbour, Action for Children, Church of Scotland
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 4 Jul; Social Enterprise Work and Wellbeing Conference and Exhibition, 24 Sep; Art of Participatory Leadership, 2 Oct;
TENDERS: Social Justice Public Engagement Events Management – Scottish Government, New Skatepark at Strathmiglo Play Park – Fife Council, Provision of First Aid and Medical Provisions at Events – Glasgow Life and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: This week we welcomed our newest member of staff – Alan Johnston. Alan has taken up the role of Partnership and Procurement Support Officer. This follows a ‘pilot’ period over the last 12 months that was delivered by Joan Riddell. This is a joint initiative between Senscot and Social Firms Scotland working with Senscot and Social Firms Scotland. Alan will be providing a dedicated programme – providing practical support to social enterprises in identifying and responding effectively to emerging tender opportunities, including facilitating social enterprise partnerships and consortia development. Alan brings with him a wealth of experience in procurement and partnership working. You can contact Alan at  


Today, Senscot – in partnership with Social Firms Scotland, DTA Scotland and the Scottish Community Alliance – is hosting a EU Funding Masterclass – with contributions from Scottish Govt and Les Huckfield. The masterclass is designed as an information session on the new round of EU Funding that will be on stream later in this financial year. The idea was always to host a series of such events around the country – over 50 folk signed up for today’s session – and we’re pleased to announce that the next ‘masterclass’ will be taking place in Aberdeen on Friday, 31st July at Home Comforts, 9 East Terrace, Union Sq, Aberdeen (10.30 -1pm). Hosted by Aberdeen SEN, the event is open to social/community enterprises and third sector organisations from across the North East. To book your place, see here.


DTA Scotland’s Annual Conference and AGM is now open for bookings.The event will be taking place at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on 30th/31st August – on the theme of ‘Assets, Enterprise and Creativity`.


We hear this week that Sandy Watson is stepping down from his position at Scottish Enterprise (last day 10th July). Sandy, a well-kent face, has always shown significant support and encouragement to our SE community over the years and we wish him all the best. In the interim, Sarah Deas will be covering Sandy’s ‘desk’. You can contact Sarah at


This week’s bulletin profiles a re-use and recycling enterprise that is providing an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep reusable materials out of the waste stream. Yooz – the trading arm of the charity, Active4All – was set up in 2009 with the intention of diverting profits from Yooz’ activities into Active4All and, in longer term, helping to grow a fund to build a Scottish Sporting Centre of Excellence for people with disabilities. As well as selling on the items they collect, Yooz has also branched out into making their own garden furniture including garden benches, chairs, tables etc.  To date, Yooz has already diverted over 4,000 tonnes of waste from going to landfill and carries out regular collections across central Scotland.


Pope Francis’ new encyclical treats with the climate as a moral issue – a game changer. Giles Fraser writes the Loose Canon column in the Guardian: Last Saturday, he offered a personal responseto the message.


“The call in the Francis letter is simple: there is no alternative but for us to make do with less. It’s not all about recycling and carbon credits; we need to develop a proper respect for limit. We need to value what he calls ‘sobriety’, a sense that there is such a thing as having enough, and finding contentment with having enough. And no, this is far from a counsel of despair. There is an enormous personal freedom to be discovered in being content with not having everything. This is the sort of boundless freedom reflected in the life of Saint Francis, who gave up wealth to live with nature, and from whom the pope took his name”.


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210