Senscot Bulletin: 27.02.09

Dear members and friends,

February’s a grim month, but I’ve wintered well this year – snug and warm in my wee cottage – no power cuts – escaped the flu (touch wood) – realised that I enjoy extreme weather – (through the window). The snowdrops are glorious just now and occasional bright spells have coaxed the daffodils to push through. Sunshine this morning even coaxed me out for walkies – up on the meadow the wind chill cut me in half – its not spring yet – older folk need to watch the cold.
 So my mind drifts to a certain wee house by the beach near Estepona. Bare feet, bare tummy, trudging along the lapping surf – on and on till hunger stops me. Lunch reading my book or just watching people; `cos it’s the sun, isn’t it, which makes all the difference – and the light – and the wash of the sea. Some evenings, I stroll around the old town – places I know – the piano bar where Eamon sings Lionel Ritchie – Stevie Wonder – blues classics. And walking back – pungent tang of conifer hedges – a waft of jasmine – big starlit skies.
 Here at home, my worktable faces a window with good morning light – peanut feeders alive with bustling garden birds. But every day, the majestic sparrowhawk swoops – and Tilly, my neighbour’s
agile cat, crouches. Death from above and below. If you don’t watch out, you won’t make it. I remember Hemingway’s mantra, ‘First we must endure.’ I’m going to find myself some sunshine. Paddle my tootsies.

I’m a strong supporter of the idea of a People’s Bank – based on our Post Office Network and incorporating the credit union and other financial inclusion networks. Such a state bank would make sure that deprived areas get good quality financial services even during economic downturn. I also like the idea of a bank being connected to its community through the local development trust – community chest – housing association etc. The Post Bank Coalition (which includes the New Economics Foundation – NEF) will shortly publish a report which calls for the Post Bank to be state owned but embedded and responsive locally.

The English office of the Third Sector has released a £42m action plan of support for the sector ‘in the difficult economic climate’. Page 23 says ‘The Government will support the sector to create a clear, workable way for social enterprises to explain what they offer that is widely taken up and is self-funding in the longer term. It will enable social enterprises to market themselves more successfully to consumers, the public and potential investors…’ This is an obvious reference to a Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) and Senscot is hosting a meeting on Wednesday March 18th in Edinburgh’s Melting Pot between 1.30 – 4pm to discuss whether the Scottish social enterprise community support the introduction of SEM in Scotland. If you’d like to attend, contact

Scotland’s 57 Councils of Voluntary Service (CVS) have voted to break away from SCVO to form their own independent network. They are in discussion with Volunteer Centres and Local Social Economy Partnerships (LSEPs) with a view to forming a new collaboration.

The English Department of Health (DoH) will announce next week whom it has appointed to run its £100m Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF) – to promote the development of social enterprises in the health and social care sector. Our Fit for Purpose conference next week (oversubscribed) indicates that there would be an appetite for a similar fund in Scotland.

The Scottish Investment Fund announced its first awards yesterday. Momentum Scotland Ltd and Out of the Blue received £400k and £425 respectively. Congratulations to both. See Govt press release,
Also this week, 10 Scottish community recycling social enterprises received £1.2m through the £7.5, INCREASE III scheme. Here’s who got what . The fund is distributed by WRAP whose Scottish Director Iain Gulland comments in the attached piece

Unfortunately most UK citizens are still unaware that a social enterprise is a business with a social purpose and an asset lock. But I would have expected that the chief executive of the Directory of Social Change would have a better understanding that she shows in this tetchy outburst.

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 Central Scotland Forest Trust, Wasps Artists’ Studios, Gigha Renewable Energy Limited, Social Enterprise Academy, Ayrshire Initiatives, Northmavine Community Development Company
EVENTS: 2009 Middle East Festival, Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, 3 Mar;; Alternative Finance for Community Assets, DTA Scotland, 19 Mar; An evening with Mel Young, The Melting Pot, 26 Mar; Financial Management, Social Enterprise Academy, Several in March;

NETWORKS 1st News: Colin writes: Another big event in Fife coming up. The 2nd Annual Social Enterprise Business Awards – a collaboration between the Fife SEN and the Local Social Economy Partnership – will take place in Kirkcaldy on Wed 18th March. Once again, our friends in the Kingdom have pulled out all the stops with an impressive list of speakers that include Liam Black (former CEO of Fifteen).
For more Networks News, see

A big `Thank You` to everyone who has donated to Senscot`s annual appeal. Full totals next week. See list for 2009,

This year, Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEiS) celebrates its 25th birthday, commencing with Gala Dinner on 2nd April at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow. If you’d like to join the celebration, see more,

One 23rd March at Barrhead, Scotland’s new Communities Minister Alex Neil, will launch the awaited Community Empowerment Action Plan. The SNP made strong manifesto commitments on empowerment – but, in government, this has diluted to a community engagement approach – which is very different. The word on the street is that Neil is as municipalist as the Labour Party – but his boss Nicola Sturgeon has made community empowerment noises – we shall see!
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that is part of KibbleWorks. Knibbles is a catering business that provides a service to KibbleWorks staff group and visitors, as well as to outside customers that include other social enterprises, charities and the general public. Knibbles aims to provide good quality food as well as offering high quality training to the youngsters involved. This month, they have secured the contract to provide food for the Skills Development Scotland at their Paisley offices. For more, see

Resurgence magazine carries a scary article by Andrew Simms of NEF which tells how precarious our food chain of supply really is. He ends his piece with this quote from the Roman statesman, Seneca:

‘What difference does it make how much is laid away in a man’s safe or in his barns, how many head of stock he grazes or how much capital he puts out at interest, if he is always after what is another’s and only counts what he has yet to get – never what he has already? You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth. First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.’

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

Best wishes,

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