Senscot Bulletin: 28.06.13

Dear members and friends,

Saudi prince, Alwaleed Bin Talal, is bringing a libel action in London against the American Forbes magazine – for ranking him only 26th in their world rich list.  Forbes estimates his wealth at 20 billion dollars – he claims 29.9 billion; he’s upset. There is now a strata of rich people who sit beyond the reach of democracy; they have the power to buy governments, trash currencies, wage wars; history will record that this happened on our watch.
 On a happier note, last Friday, I attended the annual celebration of social enterprise in our schools – loved it; Primaries and High Schools from across Scotland (over 200 teachers and pupils), gathered for their award ceremony.  In spite of his senior role in our government, John Swinney takes the time to personally support this programme.  I watched from the front – the awards took over half an hour; he presented each of the 26 winning schools with a framed certificate – then 26 group photos.  I formed the impression of a sincere man – who likes youngsters – patient, gracious – a class act.
 Sitting in that hall, with all those young volunteers was a good feeling; I thought about some of the co-workers I’ve known down the years – doing stuff they would never get paid for – never get credit for – just something they believed in – wanted to do.  There is a generosity deep down in ordinary people which keeps the world going round; in society, in communities, in neighbourhoods, in families.  Sometimes love is not named – but it is love just the same.

Big Society Capital (BSC) was created to "effectively and efficiently channel appropriate and affordable capital to the social sector"; a new report this week says it is failing in its mission. Whereas most innovation in the third sector tends to come from small community-based enterprises – BSC’s products completely ignore their financial needs; instead it caters for the large corporate providers with a proven revenue model. The report, ‘Can Social Finance Meet Social Need?’, is by Robbie Davison and Helen Heap. The failure of third sector leaders to challenge BSC is increasingly provoking this kind of spirited response. Well done you guys. See,

The UK  shadow minister for Civil Society, Gareth Thomas, said this week that the BIG Lottery and Govt in England are too close – are doing ‘sweetheart deals’; if true, this is a serious breach of trust. Senscot doesn’t detect any such abuse up here. See,

Interesting news from England this week is the launch of the Social Economy Alliance -a coalition of 15 social organisations – facing towards the 2015 UK General Election. We’re too far away from the London Village to know what’s behind this move – but working together has to be positive. Some of the organisations involved have already acquiesced to their Govt’s determination to fund the third sector from the money markets. The social economy gets less social daily. See,

Senscot’s resistance to the principles and practice of social impact bonds – can feel a bit lonely at times. Interesting comment on the Guardian SE network from Michael Lilley – founder of My Time CIC. We get a sense of the weight of bureaucracy that small, front line organisations need to contend with. See,

The pioneering Social Enterprise in Education programme, which I refer to in the intro, has been run by the Social Enterprise Academy since 2008; it has supported 500 schools to establish pupil-run, viable, actively trading SEs. It currently operates in 93 schools – involving 1000 pupils and is worth checking out. See,  Some schools gift their profits to established charities – home and abroad. At the awards, a 6 minute film was shown of Mary’s Meals – which gave me joy – the children’s faces. See,

One of the DVDs I return to is the 1997 classic ‘Conspiracy Theory’ – Mel Gibson’s obsessive taxi driver – up against the surveillance state; even at the time it felt prescient. Good piece by George Monbiot this week about the current mass surveillance controversy; Sometimes Monbiot can sound a bit like Gibson’s paranoid taxi driver – but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: The Melting Pot, Social Firms Scotland, Forth Sector, Fife Employment Access Trust, Cupar YMCA, West Lothian Social Enterprise Network, Edinburgh University Students’ Association
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 29 Jun; Women of the Merchant City, 30 Jun; Fund Information Session, 4 Jul; Edinburgh Canal Festival & Raft Race, 6 Jul; Portobello Market, Edinburgh, 6 Jul;
TENDERS: Edinburgh Care Home for 12 adults under 65yrs who have complex needs and Dalmarnock Hub Community Centre – The Peoples Trust. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Social Enterprise Scotland’s (SES) annual awards for innovation and development in social enterprise are now open for nominations. Winners will go forward to the UK awards ceremony later in the year. For more, see  SES also held its AGM this week – that saw the appointment of 5 new board members: Linsay Chalmers (ESEN); James Dunbar (New Start Highland); Ewan Fraser (Dunedin Canmore HA); Heather Sim (Space Unlimited); and Doreen Walkinshaw (Enable). The meeting also saw the election of new office bearers: Malcolm McArdle (Treasurer); Pauline Graham (Vice Chair); and Duncan Osler as the new Chair. Departing from the board are three stalwarts – Laurie Russell; Douglas Westwater; and Craig Sanderson.  For more Networks News, see

As art enterprises gear up for the Edinburgh Festival – here’s an innovative fundraising initiative: check out the crowd-funding video for ‘Lockerbie: Lost Voices’, a new play by Lee Gershuny for the 25th anniversary of the explosion of PAN AM Flight 103 over Lockerbie. The production gives voice to 6 hypothetical passengers before and after the event and sheds new light on the UK’s worst terrorist attack. The play runs for 3 weeks (31st July – 26th August) at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. You’ll find different ways to be part of the ‘sponsoring community’. Here’s the link,

From its offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, PricewaterhouseCoopers is to offer its Centres for Social Impact (CSI) Scotland programme. This follows the current trend of the big private corporations moving into the SE support space. As one bulletin reader puts it: "Swimming with sharks comes to mind – good at what they do but you’re never quite sure of their intentions!" What they mean by SE is not the same as us. See,

Assist Social Capital, with international partners, is hosting the Social Capital World Forum in Scotland this year. The event, titled ‘An International Learning Village’, takes place between 4th- 6th September at Lendrick Lodge, near Callander – and will focus on sustainable development, youth leadership and participatory processes that can help local communities thrive. It is targeted at those involved in community empowerment initiatives both from the community side and those from public agencies. If you’d like to sign up, see

This week’s bulletin profiles Simply Play, a West Lothian-based social enterprise that provides out of school care to over 700 families throughout West Lothian. Simply Play was formed in early 2010, following 5 years of planning, preparation and design in conjunction with Family and Community Development West Lothian, West Lothian Council, club committees and West Lothian Early Years Partnership. It currently has 9 clubs, spread across different communities, collecting the children from school and providing a variety of child-centred activities.  For more, see

"Boldness has genius, power and magic in it; begin it now."  This is a quote I have highly regarded over the years – and which I have always attributed to Goethe.  But it was actually written, it seems, in 1951, by the Scots mountaineer, William Hutchinson Murray.  This is the quote in full:

 "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.  Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.  Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.  Begin it now."

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