Senscot Bulletin 27.04.18

Dear members and friends,

We ‘oldies’ are naturally resistant to change – but for twenty years, email and Google have been an indispensable part of my life; email replacing the phone as my main conduit with others – less intrusive.  I asked a youngster recently why she wouldn’t switch off her mobile – she said it would create a ‘barrier’ between her and her friends; I need such a barrier – so no mobile.  Anyone can email me anytime – I choose when and what response – this ‘pause’ makes it work for me.

Social media however, is something which I’ve still to reconcile – which I’ve tried to simply ignore. Craving ‘external validation’, by posting video clips of the cat or suchlike – no thanks. I also blame Twitter/Facebook for the rise of misinformation and extremism.  But (rather late) I’ve come to accept that it continues to grow – will not go away – that my ‘sniffy disdain’ is not an adequate response; if the future belongs to those who can spread their ideas better and faster – we need to learn some new skills.

For lovers of freedom, there are many encouraging aspects of social media; probably the most important is, that it’s going to be very difficult for those ‘who own everything’ to manipulate its dynamic; it is leaderless, structureless, and owes more to amateur enthusiasm than ordered expertise.  So, we are seeing a rerun of humankind’s eternal struggle between the ‘robber barons’ and ‘the commons’ – only this time it will be a more equal contest than ever before – because of social media.  ‘The message is in the medium’.



In my opinion, the disgraceful treatment of the ‘Windrush’ UK citizens results from the deliberate ‘hostile environment’ policy of Theresa May and her successor at the Home Office, Amber Rudd.  We no longer live in a political culture where we expect Ministers to ‘resign honourably’ – but I am hopeful that the building anger of the UK public will make it impossible for them to continue.  No one is suggesting that we don’t need immigration controls – but the misdirection of the Home Office, to persecute the British Caribbean community, goes beyond the requirement for apologies – it requires the removal of those responsible. Our media have done well exposing this disgrace. Events will indicate how tolerant of racism we Brits are.



Scottish Govt. has a National Performance Framework (NPF) which is worth a skim – as it focuses our Govt’s priority values and aims; significantly, the ‘top line’ of the NPF is: ‘increasing sustainable economic growth’.  In a 2012 report, environmentalist Simon Pepper argued that an over-emphasis on economic growth displaces our country’s social and environmental concerns; he proposed ‘sustainable wellbeing’ as a better ‘headline’.  Working in the third sector, ‘benefit to the economy’ is often a welcome by-product – but not our priority.  To justify our public funding in terms of the economy is to misrepresent ‘what we’re for’.



The Misak people of Colombia were displaced from their lands and almost disappeared as a people; over the last forty years they have reclaimed their territory and their culture, against all the odds.  They did this by developing an exceptional approach for communities to re-envision and take control of their lives – which has been adopted by indigenous communities across South America and beyond. In partnership with Scottish charity, Life Mosaic, Misak leaders are presently on a tour of Scotland – sharing their valuable insights into community rebuilding.  This two-minute video clip introduces Liliana Pechere and Jeremiah Tunumbula.



Scotland’s National Lottery is a subsidiary of its English parent – but ever since the launch in 1994, it’s difficult to overstate its impact on our third sector; an influence sadly in decline.  Recent changes of policy and personnel in Scotland are difficult to interpret – but the problem is deeper.  From TV adverts we can watch the gathering momentum of the Postcode Lottery et al. – private companies regulated by gambling rather than charity legislation.  This week, Kelly Holmes asked the Tories to remove legal restrictions to their growth; our national, public institution has its faults – but do we really prefer profit-driven fundraising?



NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.

JOBS: Govanhill Housing Association, Craigsfarm Community Development Project, One Parent Families Scotland, The Ripple, WHALE Arts and Tasting Change, Craigsfarm Community Development Project

EVENTS: Dundee Soup #3, 3 May; Disability Confident Event, 11 May; Health SEN meeting, 15 May;

Word Up Communications presents a one-day workshop on content writing, 16 May;

TENDERS: Occupational Health Contract – Angus Council, Associate Trainers (Health and Wellbeing) – ITT –  Edinburgh College, Collection, Treatment, Recovery/Disposal of Tyres – Aberdeenshire Council


The SENs Weekly Update: Senscot welcomes the Scottish Govt’s draft strategy on loneliness and social isolation – particularly its recognition of the crucial role that communities play in addressing the many issues in this area. It is also worth noting that the draft strategy acknowledges the need to address loneliness and social isolation within a broader policy context. Based on input and discussion amongst SEN members, Senscot has submitted a response to the consultation – which closes today. Social enterprises are already making a valuable contribution to tackling social isolation and loneliness through a wide range of activities and services. SEN members have identified a need for a ‘whole system approach’ that addresses the many factors that contribute to this complex issue – highlighting the importance of comprehensive and integrated solutions. You can read more about this in the Senscot Briefing produced last year.



Senscot is holding its 18th AGM on Friday 25th May 2018 (11am-1.30 pm) at the Scottish Youth Theatre, 105 Brunswick St, Glasgow G1 1TF. This year’s discussion topic will focus on resilience within our SE community – and will include a series of contributions from speakers offering their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities being faced by grassroot social enterprises. Last year’s SE Census reflected a sector that – despite being much hyped – remains fragile for the vast majority. If you’d like to attend, please see booking form. The event is free – although, due to space, priority will be given to company members.



Initiatives to address homelessness in Edinburgh are in the news. The Social Bite Village is nearing completion – and a new proposal from Street Soccer Scotland to develop a football-themed homeless complex in the city has also been unveiled. The work and energy of the two young social entrepreneurs behind these initiatives has to be applauded – but you cannot help wondering why it has taken the drive of two individuals to provide practical steps to addressing a problem that many of us consider to be a statutory responsibility of national and local government. On this same issue, Channel 4 News and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism are compiling a record of the number of death of homeless people on UK streets.



The Trussell Trust this week reported the continued rise in the number of people using food banks. Their figures alone say over 1.3m food parcels have been given out to over 650,000 people – an increase of 13% on the previous year. The debate around food banks has created a ‘strange dynamic’ between those who think in a country as wealthy as the UK they shouldn’t exist – yet the fact remains that the number of people turning to foodbanks continues to grow year on year.



Last year, Scottish Govt announced it was to establish a new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency – to meet the distinctive economic needs of communities in the South of Scotland. The new Agency will cover two local authority areas – Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway – and will take on a similar role to that of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – including the ‘strengthening communities’ remit that Scottish Enterprise does not have. As part of the setting up process, a consultation is underway across the South of Scotland – running until early June. If you’d like to participate, see details.



This week’s bulletin profiles a community cinema in Campbeltown that has recently re-opened following a major refurbishment. Campbeltown Picture House was one of the first purpose built cinemas in Scotland, built in 1913. The refurbishment – the ‘Centenary Project’ – was completed in December 2017. The restoration of this magnificent building saw the creation of a modern cinema destination complete with a second screen, new foyer and café, and spaces for exhibitions, displays, education and community activities. Campbeltown Picture House is wholly-owned by Campbeltown Community Business Ltd and is another example of the growing number of community-owned cinemas across Scotland.



A quote from the humanist philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm (1900-1980)


“The crucial difficulty lies in the fact that the development of our intellectual/technical capacities has far outstripped the development of our emotions. Our brain lives in this century, but our hearts still live in the Stone Age. Most us have not yet acquired the maturity to be independent, or rational, or objective.”


A quote from the American stand-up comedian Marc Maron.


“It amazes me that we are all on Twitter and Facebook. By “we” I mean adults. We’re adults, right? But emotionally we’re a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment, when you realize that every ‘status update’ is just a variation on a single request: “Would someone please acknowledge me?”


That’s all for this week.


Best wishes,




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