Senscot Bulletin 27-02-2004



Dear members and friends,


“Why will a mother rabbit –
trapped in a burrow by a ferret – put her babies behind her and allow her
throat to be ripped out?  Why?  In two weeks more she would not even
recognise them!”  Read this on Sunday –
keeps coming into my mind.  There’s
something about elemental courage which asks us – “Could I do that?”  Apparently my nonno won a serious medal for
valour in the First World War – but he always mocked it – said he was drunk at
the time.

was introduced to combat aged 12 – weighing in at 7st 5lbs I boxed for the
school three times – lost three times. The instructor, Sergeant Solly, said I
lacked aggression – that I congratulated my opponents too much when I
lost.  I was pointed to the Glee Club –
learned to sing songs like the Lincolnshire Poacher, in three part harmony.
Growing up playing rugby, as a back I knew that stuff was getting sorted in
front of the scrum that I didn’t want to know about.  Life was something which responded to wit and persuasion –
violence was for others.  If unavoidably
along the way, we encountered ‘warriors of darkness’ – as long as we faced up
to them – no matter how scared we were – they couldn’t harm us – and if our
life was reasonably lucky – it didn’t ask us the big questions – not very often
– not like that poor rabbit.



There is no doubt that
Communities Scotland got off to a disappointing start – especially the
Regeneration stuff.  For a long time
it’s been difficult to discern any shape to their work.  Much heartened by recent meetings with new
staff coming into post – both centrally and in the areas.  Open, keen to learn, enthusiastic – morale
and momentum is building.  The new boss
Angiolina Foster is liked.  Spent an
hour chatting and scribbling with Ian Mitchell who is acting Director of
Regeneration.  I hope you’ll find my
note a useful fix of where Communities Scotland is positioning its Regeneration
work.  It’s starting to take shape.  (



You may have followed the
letters about the project on the Isle of Lismore – asking if the LECs treat
social enterprises on a level basis with commercial businesses.  We attach a letter from a regular Senscot
correspondent who clearly knows a bit more about this than we do, it’s a bit
complicated.  Senscot will try to
extract a clear statement from both SE and HIE as to how their LECs relate to
social enterprises.  (



Scotland’s attitude to waste
management and our performance is among the worst in Europe.  The next few years will see a huge
investment and growth in this industry and it offers a significant opportunity
for the social enterprise sector.  The
Community Recycling Network Scotland (CRNS) is a network of 131 community
enterprises engaged in recycling at the local level.  They are holding a conference in Stirling on Wednesday April
7.  Laurence is chairing it (Flyer:



Frustrated by the ‘glacial’
movement of the Scottish Executive on the issue, Andy Wightman Scotland’s
leading land campaigner has called for communities to be given powers to
compulsory purchase land around their villages to address the problem of a
rocketing housing market in rural areas. 
Tenants of such community housing would not have the right to buy – and
housing campaigner Di Alexander has proposed that housing associations should
have first rights to buy back properties at the original cost (adjusted for
inflation).  Both these social
entrepreneurs should be given careful attention.  (



Our target for this year is
that 200 folk will contribute £5000.  So
far 53 have donated £2217.  Thank
you.  We’ll give occasional
updates.  If you need an invoice contact (



constraints mean we can’t carry every notice you send. But please send in any
relevant items (before noon Thursday) to
and we’ll post them on our site.  This


JOBS: 39 vacancies including
Muirhouse Millennium Centre Ltd, Scotland UnLTD, CVS West Dunbartonshire,
Gorbals Initiative, Castlemilk Youth Health Spot, Broomhouse Centre, SHST.


Changin Scotland event No. 4, Ullapool, March 12-14; Scottish National Nappy
Conference, Stirling, 16 March; Regeneration & Community Planning – the
Aberdeen Experience, SURF open Forum, Aberdeen, 17 March 2004.


School for
Social Entrepreneurs (Fife) is recruiting for its 2004 course, to start in


CAN YOU HELP? Ranui Action
Project – RAP is a community development pilot project in Auckland, New Zealand
( Di Jennings is
coming to the UK to find out more about setting up an enterprise arm to help
the project become sustainable and would welcome the chance to meet brokers,
community co-ordinators and community organisations in and around
Edinburgh/Glasgow in mid April.


CAB Borders seeks
independent volunteer to facilitate meeting of CAB representatives, Wed 31
March, 7pm, Galashiels; travel & expenses paid. Contact Maureen Bennett,


For details on these and
more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:



Research work on social
enterprises in Scotland – has now been published by the Hunter Centre for
Entrepreneurship.  Would anyone who has
read it offer comment for circulation?  


Senscot is a founder member
of UnLTD (Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs) which benefits from an
association with McKinsey the consultants. A McKinsey paper  called ‘Challenges to the Development of the
Social Enterprise Sector in the UK’, may be of interest.  (


David Bornstein’s new book,
How to Change the World, addresses large-scale social entrepreneurs and what it
is that is unique about them that makes them achievers. Member Eddie Harkins
has reviewed it for us:



This week, the bulletin
profiles HomeAid Caithness, an independent community organisation committed to
providing essential household furniture and electrical items to people in
Caithness and Sunderland who are struggling to survive on low income.  The project is an example of how re-using
household items donated from businesses and individuals can benefit local
communities and contribute to a reduction in landfill, thus benefiting the
environment too. HomeAid also offers volunteering and training placements and
works closely with the Criminal Justice Service. Further info: (project profiles).



“If you want to see what
your thoughts were like yesterday, look at your body today. If you want to see
what your body will be like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today.”  – An old Indian saying.



From ‘Comfortable with
Uncertainty’ by Pema Chodron.  One of
the classic Buddhist teachings on hope and fear concerns the eight worldly
dharmas.  These are four pairs of
opposites – four things that we like and four things that we don’t like.  When we are caught up in the eight worldly
dharmas, we suffer.  First, we like
pleasure, we don’t like pain.  Second,
we like praise – we try to avoid blame. 
Third we like fame – we dislike disgrace.  We are attracted to gain – we don’t like losing what we
have.  We might feel that we should try
to eradicate these feelings but a more practical approach is to get to know
them intimately.  See how they hook us –
see how they colour our perception of reality – see how they aren’t all that
solid.  Then the eight worldly dharmas
become the means for growing wiser as well as kinder and more content.


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

Best wishes,



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