Senscot Bulletin: 28-10-2005


Dear members and friends,

In the hills behind the Costa del Sol – clinging to the slopes of the steep Genal Valley – are a series of spectacular villages set there by the Moors in the 9th Century. A good friend of mine has gone to live in one of these sleepy white pueblos with his young family – they just up and left.  Their village has 250 registered voters, but most of the young ones move for work – visit occasionally.  It’s got a mayor; a shop; two cafes and the smallest school in Malaga province with 3 children – (my friends 3 wains doubled the school roll). They both gave up good jobs – hope to do freelance work – mostly online – occasional trips to UK. When I saw them this week I thought of Scott Fitzgerald’s description of Gatsby: an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness…
 We went for lunch in a nearby village – a beautiful converted olive mill called la Molienda.  It’s a workers co-operative – five members and three employees – who specialise in local dishes including a wee factory exporting products made with the local chestnut crop. They explained how their valley is coming under pressure from property developers – who want to develop golf courses and apartments.  But they are part of the resistance – those who want progress to respect local tradition.  For all their cheerfulness, as I left my friends, I felt faintly guilty, as though I was leaving them at a remote boarding school.  On my way down the mountain, someone had sprayed on the rock ‘Golf = Corruptio.’

In May this year, Scottish ministers committed to developing a differentiated strategy for social enterprise in Scotland. The social economy unit at Communities Scotland has now spelt out in a briefing note the what, when and how of this strategy: It’s an encouraging note – clean and purposeful – with an understanding of the full ‘cast of players’. The central issue for our sector at this time is the availability and quality of business support. Scottish Enterprise is reviewing its service to the social economy (it has appointed Alan McGregor at TERU). But the main gap is at the ‘start up’ end of the social enterprise cycle, where current services are a ‘bit of a mess’. There may be a case for a national agency to bring quality control. The government’s Education White Paper on Tuesday was a wake up call for me. I know believe it’s going to happen – the conversion of the public sector into a market place. social enterprises have a huge natural advantage in the social markets but in terms of business development and ‘strutting our stuff’ we’re still off the pace.

Members of our network are keeping a beady eye on the Executive’s commitment to the secondary transfer of Glasgow’s 80,000 houses to the 60-odd grass roots housing associations. The Herald shares this concern and keeps a watching brief. Interesting piece today:

A couple of weeks back, we mentioned a ‘Conversation with Liam Black’ at the Moat House in Glasgow (7th Nov.). Now, we hear CEIS has invited Barbara Philips to talk about her experiences in Glasgow on 15th Nov. at the Teacher Building. Barbara has been one of pioneers of the social enterprise sector in the UK, setting up the Government’s Social Enterprise Unit. Both these speakers are ‘Premiership’ players.

A task force to help ‘harness the full potential of the third sector’ in the provision of health and social care services is being set up by the government ( Here in Scotland, there is evidence from Aberdeen that progress in already being made in this area with a partnership of NHS Grampian, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Foyer to develop a one-stop-shop for primary care. (

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: 87 vacancies, incl. posts with: Children in Scotland, BTCV Scotland, The Action Group, Capability Scotland, Open Door Fife, CVS Fife, The Wise Group, Young Scot Enterprise, Ownership Options

EVENTS: RSA Scotland Free lectures, 4th, 15th, and 18th Nov, Glasgow; Convention of Royal Burghs, 5-6 Nov, Lauder; Cultural Enterprise Office, Artists working in community contexts’, 10 Nov, Edinburgh; Public Meeting, Time for Trade Justice: Will the WTO deliver?, 11 Nov, Paisley.

Last week’s ‘Feedback File’ about eco-villages got 8 responses – connected some people: Last week’s feedback. This week’s issue is insurance products for the social economy. Can you share with us some of the insurance problems or solutions that you have encountered in setting up a social enterprise?

17th November is social enterprise day with a number of events being held across the UK. In Scotland, two particularly significant launches are taking place. Firstly, in Dingwall, is the official launch of HISEZ which will also be the first Community Interest Company (CIC) set up this side of the border (see ). Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, the Capital City Partnership is launching a ‘social enterprise strategy’ for the city with the promise of establishing the Capital as a ‘social enterprise city’ ( Finally, a Trade Fair for the sector is being planned for April 2006. For info’,

Futurebuilders England, last week, published ‘Investment with a Difference’. The Report looks at initial learning points from its experience so far, where they have made 90 investments totalling £35 million. Amongst the key findings are that 70% of Futurebuilders’ investees have not borrowed before, and a quarter of investees are black and minority ethnic managed voluntary organisations: Click here.

This week’s bulletin profiles a recycling enterprise in Castlemilk in Glasgow – NewTwo Furniture Services. New Two is the commercial arm of Second Opportunities and has developed from a small grant funded charity involved in the collection and recycling of second hand furniture to a self-financing social business. Profits generated through NewTwo now support the charitable activities of Second Opportunities. At this stage, these commercial services are generating the bulk of the organisation’s income. As well as providing a repair, refurbishment and upholstery service, they have also secured contracts with a list of clients that include local schools and hospitals. NewTwo are currently offering 40% discount to bulletin readers. For info’, see

I am a fan of Archbishop Rowan Williams – a man of intellect and stature but also spiritual – of the people.  Earlier this year he gave a talk on ‘Who’s bringing up our children’:
‘What are the characteristics you would regard as marks of maturity, or having grown up as a human being? – A human adult is someone who believes that change is possible in their own lives and the lives of those around them.  A human adult is someone who knows they are not right about everything, and that they won’t live for ever.  An adult is someone sensitive to the cost of the choices they make for themselves and the people around them.  An adult is someone who is not afraid of difference who is aware of being answerable to something more than a cultural consensus – someone whose values and priorities are shaped by something other than majority votes; which is why I add (but you would expect me to) that an awareness of the Holy is an important aspect of being an adult.’
I consider myself a humanist these days – but I am far from secure in my non-belief.  I’m pondering ‘awareness of the holy’.

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

Best wishes,