Dear members and friends,
The cataract in my eye has got worse – I’m on the waiting list for a ‘surgical procedure’; last week was my ‘pre-operative assessment’. I’m there 3 hours – diagnostic eye drops make reading difficult – so I just wander round chatting to folk; impressive young men and women – united by a concern to cure – to give health and life. The NHS defines our society – a badge of pride.
It was Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who decided to open the NHS to private sector markets; I always felt that the political commentator, Will Hutton, was too comfortable with ‘Thatcher’s children’. But in his Observer column this week he writes movingly about a close relative who has leukaemia; speaks of his admiration for the values and dedication of the health professionals he has encountered. Hutton says, “Life threatening disease is a lottery. Before this existential truth – we stand together. Profit maximisation cannot be the value system at the heart of our healthcare system”.
The simple idea of a social compact is required for civilised life. If you are in serious need – I’ll rally to your side – and you’ll do the same for me. This is the assumption that enables us to travel outside our tribe. Some call it social democracy – without it, life is brutal. It would be difficult to find, anywhere, a better example of this solidarity in action than our NHS. If Scotland opts this year for independence – it will be partly pragmatic; the realisation that the NHS would not long survive the election of another Tory Government. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17642
We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
It bothers me that the 1% of the people with all the money – also control of most of the global media; that the Rupert Murdochs of this world are free to spread their lies – and corrupt public life with impunity. One of the benefits of our referendum debate – has been the emergence in Scotland of alternative platforms for the sharing of news and comment. This spontaneous democratizing of our media is happening in the slipstream of major structural changes; like the decline of newspapers and the rise of internet activity. The neo-liberal fixers are wrong-footed – can’t predict where all this is going – but let’s not pretend they’ve gone away. If an independent ‘commons’ does establish – they’ll move to enclose it. Interesting times. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17636
The CEO of a major charity – who is also chair of ACEVO – wants to make it much more difficult for new charities to attain registration. She would have them undergo a six month probationary period – where they would be required to evidence the requisite expertise and finance – and show that their intended mission could not be embraced by an existing charity. It’s a long time since I’ve heard such rubbish – even from the London village. I have a counter proposal to make – that all charities, over a certain size – are compulsorily broken up into locally-owned bite sizes. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17638
In spite of official bluster (diminishing), the demise of the Peterborough exemplar spelt the end of SIBs as a credible social investment model. Too complex/expensive. This research by Les Huckfield reviews evidence from around the world – finds that forms of the mechanism still have an afterlife as an English export – for countries seeking to provide cut-price public services. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17643
Many charities have substantial wealth – but trustees are understandably cautious about making ‘risky’ social investments; there is widespread uncertainty about what investment is ‘allowed’. There are exciting proposals in England for a new statutory power to make it easier for charities to invest in other asset locked organisations. This would enable the third sector to invest in its own development. Scotland needs to get up to speed on this one. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17639
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, Coconut Corner Childcare Centre, Transition Extreme Sports Limited, Edinburgh University Students’ Association; Glasgow Green Community Boathouse, Community Enterprise
EVENTS: Women’s Heritage Cycle Trail Launch, 28 Jun; Out of the Blue Flea Market, 28 Jun; Portobello Market, 5 Jul; Campaigning and Lobbying, 9 Jul; Dream Time, 17 Jul
TENDERS: Community Enterprise Park Business Case – Sustaining Dunbar, Care and Repair Handyperson Service – North Lanarkshire Council, Construction of an Outdoor Learning Centre – Bhaltos Community Trust and more. http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1350
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Senscot has been working with the Thematic SENs on issues related to Tourism. As part of this work we have developed a short survey to help to identify social enterprises that are delivering, or considering delivering tourism activities, and the types of activities which are being delivered. The information gathered will help us identify the type of support required going forward, and provide evidence in discussions with our strategic partners. If this is an area that your social enterprise is involved in, or is keen to develop, we would very much welcome your input. The survey should only take 5/10 mins to fill in – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CK8CH9T For more info, contact email@example.com For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=353
Following on from last week’s piece on CEiS’ September Conference at the Radisson in Glasgow, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=17599 , Senscot has secured a number of discounted places for SEN members (£50+VAT). These will allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book a place, contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=17623
One of the most fertile areas for the growth of social enterprise is in sport. Senscot’s SE and Sport Co-ordinator, Diane Cameron, has been working with countless organisations across the country – as well as a number of strategic partners – to help community sport organisations reach out to more people and, at the same time, increase their sustainability. This week, Diane has been down to Wales to share her experiences of sport and social enterprise in Scotland – highlighting good practice; the progress being made in Scotland; and giving tips on how more organisations in Wales can become sustainable community sports providers. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17641
It’s good to hear that that GSEN member, the Glasgow Bike Station has been awarded the maintenance contract for Glasgow’s new bike hire scheme. As the city gears up to host its first Commonwealth Games, The Mass Automated Cycle Hire (Mach) scheme will be offering 400 bikes for hire at 31 locations across the city. The scheme is similar to ones being operated in a number of other European cities, with costs ranging from £1 per half hour and capped at £10 for up to 24 hours. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17635
I am a fan of Margaret Wheatley – particularly her work on the dynamics of organisations. This short piece speaks of chaos as a potentially generative force; how living systems – when confronted with change – have the capacity to fall apart – so they can re-organise themselves – better adapted. When chaos erupts – don’t move to shut it down – the future belongs to those who can embrace change. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17637
This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise that is gaining a foothold in the property letting market. Homes for Good (HfG), based in Glasgow, offers a brand new concept in letting – the first of its kind in Scotland – providing services for both landlords and tenants. For landlords, this includes detailed market valuations, a step-by-step guide to becoming a landlord, careful tenant screening and 72-hour turnaround on rent payments. For tenants, property matching and additional support ranging from accessing insurance and mortgage advice through to employability and independent living assistance. As a social enterprise, HfG reinvests all of its profits into helping vulnerable tenants make happy, secure homes in their rented properties. For more see, https://senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=17640
During the registration process at the hospital last week – the nurse was concerned that the NHS database recorded accurately – ‘what I prefer to be called’. This reminded me of the beautiful poem by Wendy Cope – called ‘Names’. – a poignant memory of her Nanna.
“She was Eliza for a few weeks when she was a baby – Eliza Lily. Soon it changed to Lil. Later she was Miss Steward in the baker’s shop. And then ‘my love’, ‘my darling’, Mother. Widowed at thirty, she went back to work as Mrs Hand. Her daughter grew up, married and gave birth. Now she was Nanna. ‘Everybody calls me Nanna,’ she would say to visitors. And so they did – friends, tradesmen, the doctor. In the geriatric ward, they used the patients’ Christian names. ‘Lil,’ we said, ‘or Nanna,’ But it wasn’t in her file. And for those last bewildered weeks she was Eliza once again”.
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210