Senscot Bulletin: 26.09.08

Dear members and friends,

 From the 8th century, until the end of the 15th, the Moors occupied Spain and in the south, created the mighty Kingdom of el Andalus – its capital Cordoba a world centre of learning and culture.  To the highlands, around the mountain fortress of Ronda, came Berbers from the equivalent Rif mountains just over the Med – uniquely gifted at making things grow in the unlikely terrain.  Some of the settlements they established have survived as the white villages (pueblos blancos) of Andalucia – and this protected wilderness of the Genal valley is one of my very favourite places.
 I’m staying with friends who settled here 4 years ago, with their 3 kids, in a pueblo of under 300 souls – they consciously chose a different way of life.  Fluent in Spanish, they live as part of the community and through them I’m enjoying unusual access to village life.  Everything here is much slower – with more sharing – and the ‘auld yins’ retain a deep attachment to the land and its ways.  But as they die off, it seems inevitable that this pre-industrial way of life will die also.  Local municipalities are actively helping wee hotels and restaurants to open in the area – outsiders with money are sniffing around village properties – perhaps construction and rural tourism will replace the old economy.  My Italian grandparents were similarly grateful to escape the tyranny of the land – but they knew fine that their economic deliverance came at a price – that it involved the loss of traditions older and wiser.  Perhaps it’s inevitable.

Scottish Government was slow to understand the potential of the social enterprise movement, and resistance to change – from powerful Third Sector interests – meant that for a time we lagged 2 years behind England.  But give them their due – when the Communities Scotland team got to grips with the task – they produced on excellent strategy, fully funded, which in my opinion will result in a support infrastructure superior to England’s.  At Senscot, we’re hoping that this pattern will repeat itself with the community empowerment agenda – where the forthcoming English White Paper places them a full year ahead – whilst it’s clear that our political administration has still to awaken to the potential latent in our communities.  Scottish Government has delegated the development of Scottish community empowerment policy to a sub group of COSLA – an Action Plan is expected in the spring – here’s Local People Leading’s written evidence to that process.

This week the Office for the Third Sector (OTS) in England published a report, stating that social enterprise is misunderstood, confused and would benefit from being repositioned within the economy and to be distinguished from the voluntary sector ( This backs up recent research from RISE who have been championing the notion of a `social enterprise mark`. They believe that the `mark` as a social enterprise `identifier` is a critical part of the solution and will help social enterprise differentiate themselves, both from the charity sector and from corporate social responsibility. Here`s their response to the OTS Report.

Two major elements within the Scottish Government’s Action Plan for the Third Sector are the Scottish Investment Fund (SIF) and the Enterprise Fund. The Investment Fund opened for business earlier this month ( and now we hear that the Enterprise Fund will be open for applications from January. Awards of up to £100,000 will be available. As with the Investment Fund, it will be largely based on the assessment of business plans and social outcomes. The split is expected to be £2.7m in 2008-09, £5m in 2009-10 and £4.3m in 2010-11. For more, see

The Lottery this week announced their next round of funding through the Dynamic Inclusive Communities (DINC) strand. This round has specifically been targeted at organisations providing support services that will improve the infrastructure of Scotland’s Third Sector. Senscot also submitted an application in this round but we’ve been deferred till next month. We’re keeping our fingers crossed! Here’s the list
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: Camphill Blairdrummond, Central Scotland Forest Trust, Avante Consulting Ltd, Development Trusts Association Scotland, The Waterways Trust
EVENTS: Viability not Liability! – Asset-based development for enterprising communities, 27 Sep, Shetland; Digital Switchover Event for Third Sector Organisations, 9 Oct, Various; Climate Change: Effective Communication, 23 Oct, Edinburgh; Facilitation Training Day, 23 Oct, Edinburgh; Health & Wellbeing Fair, 1 Nov, Aberdeen; ‘Progress beyond Politics’ – the social change debate, 4 Dec, Stirling

NETWORKS 1st News: Fife SEN members The Ecology Centre are in the mix for up to £500,000 as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Primetime programme on the BBC. Primetime is the largest public involvement initiative in Scotland deciding where Lottery players’ good cause money is spent. A total of £3 million is in the pot, split into six regional areas, whittled down from an original 149 applications. Julie Samuel and Ronnie Mackie will get their chance to go for glory on 29 September 8pm, BBC TWO Scotland.
For more NETWORKS News, see

The shortlist for the 10th Enterprising Solutions Awards was announced this week. CEiS and the Wise Group are in the running for the main award and Stonelaw High (Rutherglen) and Dunbog Primary in Fife in for the Schools award. See list

Social Capital is gaining more and more credence as an important aspect of our work. The business world is clearly alive to its importance. Here’s a quote from a US business journal ( Remember there are still places available for Assist Social Capital’s Learning Day on 29th October at the Melting Pot in Edinburgh. For info`, see

My story last month about exploring an `oldie co-operative` triggered quite a big response. Amongst them was info` from Douglas Westwater (Community Enterprise Ltd) on research they are carrying out on behalf of the Vivarium Trust. It’s looking at co-housing options for oldies. Have a look and fill in the form if you’ve got time.

This week’s bulletin profiles the Gladiator Programme, based in Easterhouse in Glasgow. The programme  provides a play and sports programme for youngsters and has been built on the back national strategies relating to many aspects of young people’s health and wellbeing. They have sought to put these into practice at a local level, and are working on initiatives to address child obesity, oral health and anti-social behaviour.
As well as creating sporting opportunities and sporting excellence in the local community, the Gladiator Programme is also able to generate its own income that is diverted into sustaining other local activities
For more, see

I had never heard of the American writer David Foster Wallace, till I read in Saturday’s Guardian Review that he has taken his own life while under treatment for depression.  I was much impressed by this commencement speech to a graduating class at Kenyon College, Ohio.
 ‘‘In the day to day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism.  There is no such thing as not worshipping.  Everyone worships.  The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual type thing to worship is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.  Money and things – your body and sexual allure – power – intellect; if you worship any of these things you’ll never feel you have enough.  At one level, we all know this stuff already – it’s been codified as myths, proverbs – the skeleton of every great storey.  The trick is keeping the truth up front is daily consciousness.’’

Link to full speech Guardian Review, Saturday 20th Sept.  ‘‘Plain old untrendy troubles and emotions’’.

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

Best wishes,

To receive this bulletin directly, you can sign up here: