Senscot Bulletin: 28.04.11

Dear members and friends,

 I’ve been feeling low for a while – both sad and agitated – so I’m up for a week in the mountains around Ronda – to get my bearings as it were.  Booked hotel assuming that it was in the village of Grazalema – but it’s not, it’s 4kms across the valley; I’m in the middle of nowhere without wheels.  Hitched a lift this morning – pleasant meander around this pretty ‘white village’ – relatively unaltered by incomers.  Such a glorious afternoon, decide to hoof it back to hotel. 
 The walk takes one and a half hours – including a pause at the ‘cemetario’ – in a wee wayside chapel lovingly cared for. Aroma of beeswax and fresh flowers – a middle-aged woman is polishing the brass – she has a beautiful face – in the sense of peaceful.  The whole journey is blissful – 24 degrees in full sunlight – in the clear mountain air, birdsong and goat bells sound amplified.  Pass a few ramshackle dwellings – each with chickens and a yappy dog – an old body tending the vegetable rows.  Folk here stare at strangers – but when I tip my hat – warm smiles and ‘buenos dias’.
 I’m writing this on the terrace of the hotel before supper – reflecting on why my life has become dejected of late.  I think of the woman with the beautiful calm face – tending the chapel.  It doesn’t take much to live content.  Rather than add anything to my life, maybe there’s stuff I need to ditch.

I’m not a fundamentalist by nature – on the contrary, my instincts are anarchistic – to challenge all who would restrict freedom.  But on the issue of what is a ‘social enterprise’, I am firmly in the Muhammad Yunus camp; that we must maintain clear blue water between what we do and investment for private profit.  The most recent rumblings to make social enterprise ‘more attractive to private investment’ are being led by a senior partner as one of the big London law firms (who are mostly millionaires).  What they get up to in their own grasping world is no concern of mine; but they shouldn’t meddle in shaping our movement.  What they clearly don’t understand is that we are proposing a whole new way of organising society – with much more equal pay levels.

An excellent example of this ‘new way of organising society’ operates successfully in the Basque Region of Spain – good profile by Randeep Ramesh (Guardian) gives a sense of where Scotland could go via renewable energy technology – a social enterprise economy. See more,

Further questions are being asked about Deloitte Ingeus’ appointment as Primary Contractor for Scotland’s Work Programme at the expense of The Wise Group.  Labour MP John Robertson has written to David Cameron with regard to potential breaches of the Ministerial Code through minister Chris Grayling’s connections with Deloitte – who donated money to his office in 2009. This is clearly going to rumble on. See,

Over the last 10 years, The Homeless World Cup has grown to be one of the great success stories in our sector yet its development and growth has often not been fully appreciated in Scotland – its head office is in Edinburgh. The idea was hatched late one night in a bar (like many good ideas) back in 2001 by Mel Young (keynote speaker at last week’s S2S) and his Austrian pal, Harald Schmied. This year’s event (in Paris) will involve 75 countries with over 30,000 people directly participating. An outstanding statistic is that nearly 80 per cent of those involved have come off drugs and got jobs thanks to the Homeless World Cup programme. See more,

It seems that St Mirren’s plans to set up as a Community Interest Company are gathering pace. Their model will involve investment from the local community, community organisations and local businesses. Initially, they were seeking 300 individuals to commit their support – this figure has now reached 375. They will be formalising their financial commitment at a meeting next week where the first stage of the community buy-out will be completed. With similar initiatives taking place with Stirling Albion and Stenhousemuir, this could be the way ahead for many of Scotland’s professional clubs. See more,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network, Faith in Community Scotland, Social Investment Scotland, The Scottish Community Safety Network, Woodlands Community Development Trust, See Me
EVENTS: Bottled Tears: The Stow-Away War Bride, 5 May, Employment Law: The basics, 11 May, Using creative approaches to evaluate your project, 12 May, Girl – A Community Project, 12 May,
TENDERS: Provision of an Integrated Waste Management ICT Solution, Glow Futures, UK-Glasgow: Repair and maintenance services, APFM00166 New Skate Park at Kings Park, Stirling,

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: Tomorrow (29th) is the closing date for submissions to deliver the ‘social enterprise support’ in Edinburgh on the part of the Single Interface. Edinburgh SEN, as one of three partners in the Edinburgh Single Interface along with EVOC and the Edinburgh Volunteer Centre, is looking for contractors to deliver distinct work packages over the next twelve months. The areas to be covered are: Co-ordination and administration; Line management and desk space; Business Support; and Marketing. This is a measure of the progress made by the Edinburgh SEN over the last year and credit is due to the management group for the work they have put in. Hopefully, this is the start of a good year for social enterprise in Edinburgh. See,  For more Networks News, see

Last month, members of the emerging Youth SEN took part in a two day Study Visit to London. This included a meeting and visits with the English Commission for Youth Social Enterprise as well as attending the Voice 11 Conference. The trip was supported by the Scottish Govt Third Sector Division as well as contributions from LPL’s Knowledge and Skills Fund, CEiS and the Social Enterprise Academy. See report – including some plans for the year ahead,

The recent disturbances in Bristol – to prevent the development of a Tesco – pose once again the question of whether violence is ever a legitimate aspect of civil action. Find myself in agreement with Julian Dobson’s thoughts on this subject. See,

The Guardian’s online Social Enterprise Network runs a series of Q&As every week on topical issues for the social enterprise community. Last week’s topic was ‘leadership’ and the value of training/learning programmes. Are you a ‘social leader’ or an ‘enterprising leader’?  See ‘Best bits’,

The Social Audit Network has produced a new guide to the Social Accounting and Audit process, entitled ‘Prove, Improve, Account: The New Guide to Social Accounting and Audit’. The Guide (now available for £40) is a "roadmap" to the social accounting and audit process and has been written specifically for social enterprises and third sector organisations that wish to regularly account and report on their social, economic and environmental performance and impact. See,

This week, the bulletin updates its profile on Rosie’s Social Enterprises (RSE) in Aberdeen which is run by Turning Point Scotland. Previously operating as Aberdeen Social Enterprises, the Group now operates five social enterprises, all branded as Rosie’s. These include Rosie’s Framers and Crafts; Rosie’s Wedding Stationery; and Rosie’s Café and Takeaway. They provide a supportive working environment to people experiencing or recovering from mental ill health, ensuring that their participation and skills are valued and central to the success of each enterprise. See more,

Artist Peter Howson, in a recent interview, remarked that many people in the prosperous west live in a kind of comfort zone – and as a result are not fully alive.  For this reason, he said, he finds himself attracted to tramps and derelicts and shady people; finds them more vital – interesting.  Something in the same vein from playwright, Christopher Fry. "If we stop for a moment pretending that we were born fully dressed in a service flat – remember that we were born stark naked, in a pandemonium of mostly chaotic phenomena – then we realise how out of place – how lost – how miraculous we are.  It is this reality which is the province of poets and artists".

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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