Senscot Bulletin: 27.06.08

Dear members and friends,

I’m sleeping badly – dreams full of fear – my unconscious is telling me something’s wrong – alarm bells – no logical reason.  Heraclitus of Ephesus (500 BC) wrote ‘‘the waking, have one world in common – but the sleeping turn aside – each into a world of their own’’.  Recently my sleep has been in the cosmic night – among dread and demons – a reminder that we owe the very structure of our minds to countless millennia of primitive ancestors.  The last few generations of our species have seen the advance of critical reason and technology – but these are milliseconds in our evolution.  We come from hunters and warriors – our bodies are attuned to fight or run – the content of our unconscious mind is primordial – mythic.  Unfortunately the mythic side of humankind is out of fashion – the dominance of reason impoverishes life – we no longer create fables – as a result a great deal escapes us – we have lost the appetite to speak of incomprehensible things.
 I feel most connected these days when engrossed in one of my garden projects.  Sometimes the absorption brings me back to when I was wee – building my Meccano or model aircraft.  Heraclitus again!  ‘‘People are most nearly themselves when they find anew the seriousness they had as a child at play’’. It’s pleasing to think that I may have learnt again to play like wee Laurence – now if I can only learn to sleep like him.

Earlier this year Local People Leading challenged Scottish Government’s Third Sector people about their failure to recognise our distinct Community Sector. This is what we wrote: “The great majority of Scotland’s community-based organisations are small, single purpose groups, embedded in the community they serve. They are mostly without paid staff or formal governance – organizationally and financially fragile. They are numbered in thousands, but are mostly invisible – a constituency with very different needs and characteristics from the traditional voluntary sector. The failure of Scottish Government to recognise these differences is a serious omission from your Third Sector Strategy which has left our Community Sector underperforming – without national leadership or voice.”
The revised Third Sector Strategy released last week still doesn’t acknowledge this taken for granted force. Local People Leading will continue this campaign until the Scottish Community Sector is recognised.

With last week’s announcement from Scottish Government on its £30m Scottish Investment Fund and its proposed application process, it was interesting to hear this week’s developments at Futurebuilders England. Their CEO – Jonathan Lewis – is determined to reduce bureaucracy and is planning to ditch application forms. He states, “You don’t invest in organisations, you invest in people. And you can tell quickly whether someone is worth investing in. So why do you need all that paper?”. A lot of folk up here would share these sentiments. See

In November 2007, the English Government allocated £600k for a bunch of celebrity social entrepreneurs (called Ambassadors) to go about the country promoting social enterprise. I remember thinking at the time that the idea was a `cringe` – then we heard nothing more. A meeting of them last week seems to have concluded that the scheme is a flop.

Yesterday, Senscot’s 10th AGM was held in Glasgow – our thanks to all who attended – particularly our speaker Roddy McDonald who announced that he will be leaving the Third Sector Division in September.  Roddy has a feel for our sector – one of the best we’ve had – he’ll be missed.
Interesting piece in New Start this week about how the credit crunch is effecting specialist social lenders. Senscot banks with Triodos who only lend the money they get from depositors – so are not exposed to inter-bank lending. This applies to most of the institutions in our sector who are in good shape because they didn’t get caught up in the greed frenzy.
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: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Social Investment Scotland, Church of St John the Evangelist,  The Big Issue, Govanhill Youth Project, Business Community Connections, Social Enterprise Academy, Feat Enterprises
EVENTS: 15 events Southside Festival, 28 Jun, Glasgow; Summer Networking BBQ for New Social Entrepreneurs, 16 Jul, Glasgow; More Than Furniture 08 – Bigger, Better, Bolder, 27 Aug, Glasgow; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus

NETWORKS 1st: Good news this week for Edinburgh SEN. They will work with CEiS providing guided tours of Edinburgh social enterprises to delegates at the Social Enterprise World Forum in September. In return, Edinburgh SEN members will receive 10 invites to the Forum. Again, I would urge all SENs to get in touch with their LSEPs to try and secure sponsorship to the September event.

Colin was away this week at the `Healthy, Wealthy and Wise` debate in Newcastle. The event, organised by the North East Social Capital Forum, looked at the evidence and experience of whether social capital really can make people `healthy, wealthy and wise`. Almost 300 folk attended and heard contributions from, amongst others, Robert Putnam (Harvard University) and Hazel Blears. Colin thought it was great. Here`s some biogs on the speakers.

This month seems to be the `awards` season` for the social enterprise sector. A couple of weeks back, Spruce Carpets picked up the Scottish Community of Business award. This week, we hear of two more. Transition Extreme in Aberdeen won an accolade at the Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise. . And down in London, Forth Sector beat off stiff competition to win Social Enterprise of the Year at the 2008 Edge Upstarts Awards

Alistair McIntosh is a writer and campaigner for justice – whose book `Soil and Soul` sold 10,000 copies. I’m looking forward to getting hold of his new book at the Edinburgh launch this Wednesday, 2nd July at Wordpower Bookshop – 43, Nicholson Street (7.15pm). It’s called `Hell and High Water: Climate change, Hope and the Human condition. Alistair’s ecology is human ecology – embracing the realms of the human spirit. Here’s the book’s website.

This week`s bulletin profiles a Fairtrade cafe in Dundee. Coffee Exchange, set up by Capstone Projects in 2006, directs 100% of profits towards supporting ethical and sustainable projects, both abroad and locally in Dundee. The café receives no subsidies and is paying full commercial rent and rates so if your in the area, pop in for a visit. For more , see

“The primordial image, or archetype, is a figure – be it a daemon, a human being, or a process – that constantly recurs in the course of history and appears wherever creative fantasy is freely expressed. Essentially, therefore, it is a mythological figure…….in each of these images there is a little piece of human psychology and human fate, a remnant of the joys and sorrows that have been repeated countless times in our ancestral history.”

“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into the cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends.”    Carl Gustav Jung 1875 – 1961

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

Best wishes,

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