Senscot Bulletin: 28-01-2004



Dear members and friends,


Been down this week – not sleeping well.  Waking in the night from dark dreams. Yesterday find spots of blood on the pillow – scratch on face.  Why on earth would a man raise his hand against himself – even in sleep? Angry words on phone this morning with old friend – feel let down – betrayed.  Then no energy for work – so go walking in bright sunshine.  Sit on stump among hundreds of snowdrops.  Stillness.  Two ramblers come by – my age – resolutely cheerful.  Show them spotted woodpecker in our pear tree – V.impressed.  Back home find energy to clean house.  Cheers me up.

            Find box of old photos – one of 1953 school trip to Lourdes.  I’m standing next to Jacqueline – whom I’d just met and fallen in love with – both of us 13, just bairns – her school from Manchester. I look fair chuffed but this was the peak of our relationship. We both sign up for an all night vigil at the grotto – folk are kneeling upright with arms outstretched – I do same.  The outstretched arms bit lasts minutes – within an hour I’m slumped dozing.  Priest wakes me to serve his mass – on way to don gear, walk into glass door of sacristy – knock myself out.  Wake up on ground – nose bleeding – bump on head – nun bathing my face.  Jacqueline standing grinning – thinks it’s hilarious.  I remember feeling betrayed.  Decided there and then not to marry her.

Remembering makes me smile – how seriously we take ourselves.  Phone my pal and make up.



800 delegates were in Manchester last week for the UK’s biggest Social Enterprise gathering of the year.  Our Aidan came back impressed. ‘In England Social Enterprise is now mainstream and there is gathering belief that it is here to stay.  Speakers like Alan Milburn, Nigel Griffiths and John Healey made it clear that Social Enterprise (particularly community based) is a key policy for the next Labour Manifesto with significant support within the Cabinet Office, the DTI and the Treasury’.  This, of course, won’t make a blind bit of difference here in Scotland where we are governed by town councillors and civil servants can’t bring themselves to use the term ‘Social Enterprise’.  Check out Milburn’s conference speech, particularly the second half – try to imagine which of our political leaders is saying these kinds of things up here. Nae chance.



Scotland’s new National Transport agency will be located in Glasgow with around 200 staff and is expected to be operational by the end of this year with a budget of £3 billion over the next decade. The new agency will deliver our capital programme of improvements for road, train and trunk roads.  It will also determine our railway strategies – setting fares – managing franchises etc.  Last week in Switzerland every train I got was spot on time and spotlessly clean. They expect things to go like clockwork – they usually do.  This is not a small matter.  Many folk I know have given up on the train journey to Inverness, for instance.



In his keynote speech last week Dr F.J. Rademacher called for a world wide coalition of good hearted people to stand together under the Eco Social market model of the Global Marshall Plan. This is in strict contrast to the Neo Liberal market fundamentalists who believe that powerful elites must shape the world and who have the money and influence to do it. ‘Our vision of social justice is based on consensus,’ he said, ‘but our people have the habit of arguing amongst ourselves.’ Alison has painstakingly typed up his speech from a CD, cut to 4 pages.



Two weeks left of our annual appeal for financial donations in appreciation of our bulletin.  All our contents – website and bulletin are free – jobs – events – tools and templates – directory etc.  This is your annual opportunity to let us know that you value these services.



YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 50 vacancies, incl. posts with: Assist Social Capital, Capital City Partnership, Crew 200, Hanover Housing Association, Transition, Intowork, Midlothian Voluntary Action,


EVENTS: SCVO, ‘Employment Law’ half-day training course, Paisley, 27 Jan; ‘How to win contracts’, Forth Sector seminars, Feb-May, across Scotland; Workshops and volunteer activities Feb-May, Talamh Life Centre , South Lanarkshire; Argyll and Bute Enterprise Network meeting, Rothsay, 9 Feb; Access Europe 2005 exhibition, 22 Feb, Edinburgh; Sustainable Communities conference, 15 March, Edinburgh.


School for Social Entrepreneurs Fife is currently recruiting for its programme commencing 1st April, 2005. Training Allowance, travel and childcare expenses on offer. Contact



A Citizens Advice report entitled Daylight Robbery highlights a client who borrowed £150 giving his stereo – valued at £500 – as security to a payback store.  The amount had to be repaid within 28 days with an interest charge of £42 – equating to an APR of 1834%.  This is an extreme example of the exploitation of those shut out from mainstream finance services – those whom the high street banks don’t want to deal with.  The Scottish Executive has launched a ‘Financial inclusion action plan’ with a raft of new measures but many of us believe that the Banks should be legally obliged to do more for lower income customers.



Different funding models for Social Enterprise are continually evolving and a recent article in Third Sector provides a good overview.  Among examples cited is GEM workspaces in Easterhouse who have recently negotiated a £1.95 million loan from Unity Trust Bank.



A large number of social enterprises help people who are unemployed – so you may welcome an opportunity to shape the Employability Framework which the Scottish Executive will produce later this year and which currently in consultation.



This week’s bulletin profiles the work of the Hansel Alliance based in Hansel Village in Ayrshire. The Alliance is the operational arm of the Hansel Foundation that has been in existence since the early sixties. The Foundation was inspired by Professor Jack Tizard whose work centred on the importance of achieving the right environment for developing skills for people with learning disabilities. The Alliance has evolved into an integrated community setting – offering living, vocational, educational and recreational facilities for over 100 service users. With a turnover of £6m and over 350 staff, the Alliance generates much of its income through winning contracts from Local Authorities through the competitive tendering process. For further info’, see:



At the World Spirit Forum last week there were those who held, that our ‘essential self’ dwells in permanent sunshine – and that negative emotions are illusions of the ego.  But I don’t understand ‘Transcend your ego’.  We contain anger – jealousy – sadness – all manner of darkness.  If we own up to it all, sometimes we find the energy to move beyond our feelings.  And occasionally, perhaps when we least expect it, peace arrives – everything seems to make sense for a while – till the moods come to shake us again.  I expect it will always be so.  Albert Camus wrote: ‘If there is a sin against life, it is not perhaps so much to despair of life as to hope for another life and to lose sight of the implacable grandeur of this one’.


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


Best wishes,



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