Senscot Bulletin: 29.04.16

Dear members and friends,
            Funeral recently of old golfing friend from the 1970s – he was 84 – I’ll call him Bob.  When Bob was in his sixties – kids up and away – his wife died of cancer and he didn’t cope well.  Drank too much – let his clothes and appearance go – even walked with a stoop.  His children tried to get someone to tend the house – cook his meals – but he wasn’t interested.  Remember thinking that his life had lost any meaning – that he wouldn’t linger long.
            The next talk was that Bob had a new woman living with him – of whom the children disapproved; Alice was about 10 years younger with a grown family of her own.  It wasn’t until a trip to Spain – the coincidence of a week in the same hotel – that I got to know them as a couple; he was a property developer – she a teacher – I wondered how their two worlds connected.
            Their love for each other was immediately obvious that week – didn’t seem to mind me being around.  They both spoke of how Alice had introduced Bob to poetry; that of an evening at home, in front of the fire, she would read to him from the works of Philip Larkin, Norman McCaig and Shakespeare of course, the great soliloquies.  He had never read a poem before Alice – and now this whole new world.  That was my thought at the funeral – that not only did Bob find meaning to live another twenty years – but he did so as a quite different person.


Tribute this week to the heroes of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign – who took on the police, the Government, and the media – and have emerged with the truth. This victory is a credit to the power of grassroots activism and the enduring power of a city coming together to fight injustice. This from a special late edition of the Liverpool Echo on Tuesday – the newspaper that stood alongside the campaign.


This is the final bulletin before we all get a chance to elect a new Scottish parliament on Thursday; the next such election will be in 2021.  One of Senscot’s most insistent message during the last parliament has been that Scotland lacks a tier of decision making at the level closest to people’s lives – a missing structure for local democracy.  Near the end of Nicola Sturgeon’s manifesto speech, was a ‘little remarked’ passage about decentralising decision making – enhancing democratic engagement – strengthening community organisations etc.  In spite of their patchy history, we could take that statement at face value; that the SNP is now ready to take a close look at municipal governance in Scotland, and the missing local tier.  A massive opportunity is being missed to mobilise our communities in so many ways. This could become a distinctive part of Scottish devolution. Michael Gray’s piece in the National.


When they created Big Society Capital – new Labour and then the Tories had convinced themselves that third sector organisations would pay commercial rates to the money markets for investment capital; they know different now.  While most people now accept that our ‘social economy’ is a special case – the English charity minister Rob Wilson remains deluded; he has pledged to create, in this parliament, a £1b market for social impact bonds.  Only £18m has been invested, ever, in SIBs – only £2m in the past year.  Of the English bloggers, David Floyd is the most ‘real’.


The final two days (from four) at the recent Masters golf tournament – was televised by both BBC (2.5 million viewers) and Sky Sports (2.6 thousand viewers).  The Sky Sports strategy for their Golf monopoly is to make it exclusive and expensive – which has greatly reduced world exposure and youth ‘take up’ of the game.  The British Open moves this year to Royal Troon (another ‘men only’ club) and it moves for the first time from ‘the commons’ of the BBC to the exclusivity of Sky Sports.  Does this ‘enclosure’ of their sport not worry the old men in blazers.


The state administration of New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo has this week rejected a natural gas pipeline intended to carry fracked gas 125 miles from Pennsylvania to New York City.  This is the third pipeline to be rejected in the past year and it underscores the growing political power of the anti-fracking movement – thanks in part to strong support from Bernie Saunders.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Fusion Bites, Kilmartin Museum Trust, The Church of Scotland, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Local Energy Action Plan, The Equality Network, WorkingRite, Impact Business Leaders,
EVENTS: Measuring Social Impact, 3 May; Meet A Mentor for Women, 4 May; Tips for Girls, 5 May; Coalfields Regeneration School Clackmannanshire – Awareness Day, 6 May;
TENDERS: Provision of Respite Care for Adults with Learning Disabilities, Provision of Services for Glasgow’s ESF Employability Pipeline and Youth Employment Initiative, Evaluator required for heritage project, Circular Economy Support Framework – Zero Waste Scotland and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes:  In July, the Homeless World Cup (HWC) will be taking place in George Square in Glasgow (10th-16th).  Senscot is delighted to be working in partnership with HWC, to host a series of workshops showcasing sport social enterprises and other community-based sports organisations and the contribution they make to local communities – not just in the area of sport but also on the wider social impact they bring to their respective communities. This programme will run alongside series of seminars hosted by HWC itself – both to be held in Glasgow City Chambers – during the week of the tournament.  The series of workshops will include contributions from a number of Sport SEN members and other key stakeholders. More information will be available in the coming weeks.


The Charity Regulators in Scotland and England have both been in the news this week – for contrasting reasons. Our Charity Regulator, OSCR, this week celebrated its 10th birthday. Chief Executive, David Robb, described OSCR’s first ten years as a period of ‘one of development, change and the need to move with the times’- with transparency being the key to building public trust in charities. As it moves forward, OSCR sees itself becoming proactive and problem-solving – and to be seen as a ‘positive regulator’. By contrast, in England, the Charity Commission continues to draw criticism from the charity sector where it is being accused of “losing the trust of those it regulates”.


Places are filling up for Community Enterprise’s celebration of community enterprise event on Friday 24th June at Norton Park Conference Centre in Edinburgh. The event  – titled, ‘Where Community Meets Enterprise: The nature and scale of "community enterprise" within Scotland’s growing family of social enterprises’ – will focus on the critical role community-based enterprises play in serving and supporting their local communities. To sign up, see Booking Form


Over the last month, the SE Code Steering Group has held its annual review of the Code and its criteria. In addition to revising the criteria, a FAQs page has been added to address some of the questions/queries that have arisen. As part of the consultation process, a number of current subscribers have also been invited to give feedback. See refreshed version of the SE Code criteria and FAQs.


This week’s bulletin profiles a development trust on the Isle of Coll, set up to promote the sustainable development and regeneration of the island – for residents, visitors as well as local businesses. Development Coll was formed in 2006, following an extensive community consultation. Since then, it has overseen the building of a new community centre – An Cridhe – a multi-purpose facility catering for the needs of islanders and visitors alike. More recently, the Coll Bunkhouse has also opened and can sleep up to 16 people. All income generated is used to support the work of Development Coll. A new mobile mast was erected last summer – providing another source of income. Plans are also afoot to develop community housing on the island.


Joseph Campbell – The Way of the Animal Powers:


"Neither in body nor mind do we inhabit the world of those hunting races of Paleolithic millennia, to whose lives and life ways we nevertheless owe the very forms of our bodies and structures of our minds. Memories of their animal envoys still must sleep, somehow, within us: for they wake a little and stir when we venture into wilderness. They wake in terror to thunder. And again, they wake, with a sense of recognition, when we enter any one of those great painted caves. Whatever the inward darkness may have been to which the shamans of those caves descended in their trances, the same must lie within ourselves, nightly visited in sleep."        


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