Senscot Bulletin: 27.05.11

Dear members and friends,

 Changing a wheel on my Panda recently – I realise I’ve forgotten where the jack goes – as I wind, instead of lifting the car, it crushes the sill – nice one.  I’ve changed dozens of wheels – this is a clear indication of decline – the loss of a competence I once had.  These wee lapses of memory become more frequent.  The rate of this deterioration is beyond our control – inherited – just luck – what if it accelerates?  I suppose its loss of independence we all dread – the return to being looked after.
 Visiting someone in an ‘institution’ recently, I am offered milk and sugar with my tea – but notice that the ‘residents’ get theirs as it comes – ‘ready-mix’.  When I inquire, I’m told ”that’s what they’re used to – given the chance someone would eat all the sugar or drink all the milk!”  I have a recurring dread of ending up in such a place – being wheeled through each evening to see Coronation Street – like it or not.
 So while I have my wits about me, I’ve been giving some thought to the kind of environment where I’d like to grow old; I attach a one page outline. See,
I readily admit that not all the pieces of my vision are yet in place – and I would be particularly pleased to hear from anyone who has a few acres of surplus land – or a couple of million of ‘patient capital’ to invest.  I feel I have a valuable contribution to make to an enterprise like this – though maybe not around car maintenance. 

John Swinney has been a very good minister for the Third Sector – but his portfolio is extensive – so his grasp of our issues is broad brush.  As things settle, I would expect that some ‘young turk’ from the new crop will be identified to understudy Swinney – mug up on the detail – visit the trenches.  Following departures, the Third Sector team of civil servants is re-organising – it will be interesting to see the new ‘organogram’ when it’s ready.  Govt’s linkage with the front line – where the rubber meets the road – is the ‘single interface’ arrangement – which still needs ‘sorted’.  SCVO, VAS etc must stop saying that they represent the social enterprise community; the voluntary sector has old and admirable traditions – but it’s something quite different. Our community has evolved our own leadership. See next item.

Last week’s bulletin told of the difficulties being encountered by local social enterprises in their efforts to fully engage in their respective local Interface process. It also questioned whether the Interfaces could genuinely fulfil their ‘developing social enterprise’ function without properly engaging with the local social enterprise community. Alasdair Nicholson (Social Enterprise Spokesperson for Voluntary Action Scotland) has taken issue with our comments. See Alasdair’s response,
Arrangements are in hand to meet up with Alasdair over the coming weeks.

I spent 3 years going up and down to London – as the Scottish end of the new millennium endowment to fund social entrepreneurs (UnLtd).  In general, it was a disempowering experience – stoking my resentment of Scotland’s subordination.  One of the many institutions which we need to ‘liberate’ from the rule of London is our lottery.  Meantime, the recent appointment of Jackie Killeen as the Scotland Director is welcomed by everyone who has worked with her – Good luck, Jackie.

David Cameron’s good ship ‘Big Society’ is wallowing in heavy seas – looks to have shipped water – may sink. It’s specially enobled ‘supremo’, Lord Nat Wei threw in the towel this week and Scottish Govt looks to have got its relationship with Big Society just right – they ignored it. Yesterday, in our Parliament, the First Minister outlined his alternative vision – for a Scotland with a stronger social contract – not a ‘Big’, but a ‘Fair Society’.

Maurice Glasman (the new Labour Peer who advises Ed Miliband) attacked the English community organisation, Locality this week – and by implication its founder members, BASSAC and the Development Trust Association. He said ”They are well intentioned busybodies – that’s what they have always been. A paternalistic, eat-your-vegetables-and-don’t-smoke type of organisation”. What utter tripe. I know a great deal more about DTA than Glasman – proud to be part of the group who brought a sister organisation to Scotland. I hope for Miliband’s sake that his Lordship’s opinions on other things are more considered. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week:
JOBS: Station House Media Unit (SHMU), Community Land Scotland, The City of Edinburgh Council, Turning Point Scotland, Forth Sector, Museums Galleries Scotland, Garvald Edinburgh, TalentScotland Graduate Placement at Stornoway Port Authority
EVENTS: Wait Until Tomorrow: A Daughters Memoir, 31 May, Branding-all you need to know to get your business off the starting blocks, 1 June, Making sense of reports: Getting the best from funded, 2 June, Mystery History Session, 9 June
TENDERS: Community Rehabilitation Service, Services for Older People Living at Home, Extra Care Housing, Scaffold @ various addresses, Ballingry Area, Supply and Fit of Ceiling Tiles,

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: The Scottish Govt’s £70m Change Fund is targeted at improving community-based health and social care services for older people. The Local Delivery Plans (Change Plans) are now available for each area online. See,  With many SEN members active in the field of health and social care, we are trying to highlight specific references to social enterprise/third sector engagement/opportunities for each of the 32 Plans over the next couple of weeks. This week, we have the first 12 (in alphabetical order). First impressions suggest there is acknowledgement of the role of the third sector in the successful delivery of local Change Plans. Specific references to social enterprise are less common and serve to re-iterate the need for the engagement of the social enterprise community with their local Interfaces. See,
For more Networks News, see

Next week’s Social Enterprise and Sport Conference – the first of its kind in Scotland – is almost full. Over 100 delegates have registered and we only have a handful of places still available.. If you’d like to book one of the final places, see The event is taking place on 1st June at the Stirling Management Centre. Keynote speaker will be Mel Young (Homeless World Cup). See programme,

The updated ‘Who’s Who’ Guide to social enterprise in Scotland seems to be proving popular – over 500 folk have downloaded it since we went public two weeks back. We’ll be continuing to update it over the next few weeks. See,

On June 15th, Reforesting Scotland will launch a campaign called 1000 Huts – to promote and expand ‘hutting culture’. Huts are seen not only as educational and adventure opportunities, but as a sustainable and affordable housing. Andy Wightman will be there and Lesley Riddoch and Nigel Lowthrop – lots of other warriors of light. Tickets £10 – I’ll take a look at this.

The ‘must read’ book at the moment among the commentariat of both Washington and Westminster, is David Brooks’ ‘The Social Animal: A story of how success happens’.  Brooks may be a Republican but much of his stuff rings my bell.  Like myself, he’s a fan of brain science and the understanding of consciousness.  How it fills a gap left by the demise of theology and philosophy – its ‘revelations’ that trust and reciprocity are as important as wealth and status for human flourishing.  Reviewed by Ben Rogers in the Guardian. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles the Springback Group which is the trading name for a portfolio of well known names in the community recycling world – Feat Enterprises; Grangemouth Enterprise; and Springback itself. In 2010, it was agreed to give the organisations one identity under the same trading name and in turn, a higher profile for them nationally. Their recycling and re-use services include mattress recycling; furniture (including office); IT; uplift. See more, 

Bluebird by Charles Bukowski.  ”There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him, I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anybody see you.  There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke and the whores and the bartenders and the grocery clerks never know that he’s in there.  There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too clever, I only let him out at night sometimes when everybody’s asleep.  I say, I know that you’re there, so don’t be sad… then I put him back, but he’s singing a little in there, I haven’t quite let him die and we sleep together like that with our secret pact and it’s nice enough to make a man weep, but I don’t weep, do you?”

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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