Senscot Bulletin: 27.05.16

Dear members and friends,

Throughout my life, one of the most enduring pleasures was our weekly golf group – around a dozen of us; some great memories of doing battle on the links around Gullane, East Lothian. An occasional visitor’s ticket for Muirfield was expensive – but included 2 rounds and an excellent lunch. The clubhouse was presided over by a retired naval captain, P.W.T. (Paddy) Hanmer – who ran a tight ship; he once reprimanded me for not replacing a divot – which he’d observed through field-glasses. Under Hanmer’s regime, Muirfield was sometimes called ‘the rudest golf club in the world’ – but I sensed it was carefully contrived rudeness – a bit like Ryanair. We don’t really want you here – was the message – you’re an interloper.


            Our weekly golf group was, of course, all male – ‘the boys’; no-one would dream of inviting a woman. We were, after all, engaged in intense surrogate warfare – man stuff (aka male posturing, which women tend to ridicule). Single sex gyms are equally understandable – where women can work-out without feeling ogled by men. But the recent decision of the Muirfield club to remain ‘men only’ is different – because hosting ‘the Open’ happens in the public realm; their decision shows arrogant disregard for the wider golfing community and the community of East Lothian – ‘interlopers’. In my version of Future Scotland, land use will be determined according to public benefit; the citizens of Gullane, who already operate 3 excellent golf courses, would acquire another; what happens to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers doesn’t interest me – different planet.


The Euro referendum has become embroiled in a ferocious battle for control of the English Tory party; the information we are fed becomes increasingly negative and dishonest.  But don’t you think that when the moment comes – we make this kind of decision from an inner position deeper than facts and stats – deeper than evidence; call it intuition, emotion, even ‘comfort zone’.  Do we feel more comfortable as part of an evolving European identity – or more comfortable with a distance between ourselves and ‘the foreigner’.  I know there are issues like democratic sovereignty, migration, the cost of health and social care etc; but I want to work these out collectively – from the inside – as a fully participating member.  I’ll vote ‘remain’ on June 23rd for the emotional reason – that I want our children’s children to be able to ‘roam free’.


My Dad lived from 1911 to 1990 and never saw Hibs win the Scottish Cup. When Gray scored the winner on Saturday, I was mostly dazed – I probably didn’t believe it would ever happen. As mayhem reigned on the pitch, the TV picked out Judy Murray (Andy’s Mum) taking a photo of an older chap who must have been her Dad, Roy Erskine, who was with Hibs in the 1950s: the look on his face said it all. It will take me some time to adjust to this.


The organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) promotes polices that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.  In its latest review of educational approaches, the three most successful western nations were Finland, Estonia and Switzerland – all of which have a mandatory play based kindergarten stage for three to seven year old children.  An alliance of parents and early years’ practitioners called Upstart Scotland campaigns for such a change in the ethos of Scotland’s early years’ provision.  They want to delay the start of school and formal learning to age seven – in favour of opportunities for paly – especially outside.  This wee film (11 mins) convinced me of their case.


Those readers who share our interest in the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) – will enjoy this new report commissioned by Compass.  As well as scoping the ‘desirability’ of UBI – this report explores its ‘feasibility’ by sketching two simulations: a full scheme, replacing most means tested benefits – and a modified scheme that leaves these in place.  UK wide, the modified scheme would cost £8bn – could be set up quickly – and could be seen as transitional to a full commitment.

A bulletin tribute to Ken Loach – in his 80th year with 50 films in the can; these include: Cathy Come Home – Kes – The Wind that Shakes this Barley – and now we hear that his latest ‘I, Daniel Blake’ has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.  A life-long social reformer – Loach received the award with these words: “Our world is in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity – driven by ideas we call neoliberalism – that have brought us to near catastrophe.”  Keep swinging Ken.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Social Investment Scotland, Ullapool Community Trust, Govanhill Housing Association, Lifeline Project, Stepping Stones for Families, The Melting Pot, Victim Support Scotland, Impact Business Leaders
EVENTS: Community landownership briefing session, 1 Jun; Dementia Awareness Week National Conference 2016, 3 Jun; Portobello Market, 4 Jun; Volunteer Management Training – Edinburgh, 14 Jun;
TENDERS: Manifesto Analysis – Scottish Rural Action, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Civil Society Project, Website renewal and development – Stirling Council and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes: There are still some places available for the Joint Thematic SEN event in Perth on 16th June.  This is the first in a series of joint thematic meetings to be held across Scotland. The event will provide a space for in depth discussion; strategic thinking; influencing and making broader connections; sharing good practice and developing ideas and /or pieces of work; and will hopefully lead to greater involvement for social enterprises within specific policy areas.  We’re delighted to confirm speakers include Emma McGregor (Stirling Community Enterprise) and Lesley Young (Re-Union). See agendahere and you can sign uphere. If you are a social enterprise/firm operating in any of these areas, you are welcome to attend – there is no charge for this event


Airdrie Savings Bank, Scotland’s only independent, mutual bank, yesterday launched its ‘Social:Mortgage’. The Social:Mortgage is a cashback mortgage targeted specifically at employees, trustees and volunteers of social enterprises and third sector organisations – and can see their organisation benefit by £250. Developed in partnership with SCRT, the mortgage is the first of its kind in the UK and is a further example of ASB’s commitment to be a bank ‘of and for the third sector in Scotland’. Offer is available from today. See FAQs


Except for The National and the Sunday Herald – the entire mainstream press rubbishes the idea of Scottish Independence; those of us who want the indy option to be fully explored appreciate Scotland’s vibrant (financially flimsy) alternative media. Two stalwarts of this digital sphere – Bella Caledonia (this week) and CommonSpace (next week) – are launching their annual crowdfunding appeal – and Pat Kane offers background – even some numbers. ‘Yessers’ can be distinguished between the ‘both votes SNP’ brigade and the ‘indy left’; but hopefully both camps accept the other’s good faith – support the positive dialogue and flow of ideas which these sites promote.


This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Edinburgh that works with people who have been affected by homelessness and trains them to become walking tour guides. It also promotes alternative social minded tours of the city. Invisible (Edinburgh), set up in 2015, offers local and friendly tours of the city, that are all focused around the great life of the city – showing the traditional monuments etc , but also great social projects that make the city what it is. Invisible (Edinburgh) looks to challenge stereotypes, demonstrating that everyone has great potential. They provide good quality training to all their guides have the opportunity to show you their Edinburgh.


Raymond Carver is one of my favourite poets – thrilled recently to find, in a charity shop, an original copy of the 1996 edition of his collected poems: ‘all of us’ – published by Harvill. Here’s one I don’t think I’ve shared before: ‘My Daughter and Apple Pie’: it’s about domestic violence


“She serves me a piece of it a few minutes out of the oven. A little steam rises from the slits on top. Sugar and spice – cinnamon – burned into the crust. But she’s wearing these dark glasses in the kitchen at ten o’clock in the morning – everything nice – as she watches me break off a piece, bring it to my mouth, and blow on it. My daughter’s kitchen, in winter. I fork the pie in and tell myself to stay out of it. She says she loves him. No way could it be worse.”


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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