Senscot Bulletin: 29.07.11

Dear members and friends,

I have many former buddies from the heavy bevy years – the brotherhood of the grape; bump into a tableful of them last week, at the launch of a new Edinburgh restaurant.  Big Norrie looks in a bad way – face wrecked – slurring gibberish; impossible not to see that this is terminal self destruction – yet we all ‘politely’ pretend not to notice.  Then on Saturday – the death of Amy Winehouse – her sad, bemused face – such a waste.  We know so little about addiction.
 On Sunday 4th September, it will be ten years since I chucked the drink – somehow got sober.  I was going nowhere but down – body, mind, nerves, morale.  The last perhaps the worst – it felt as though the project called Laurence Demarco was being wound down from within; it was a life or death choice.
 Late in his working life, Sigmund Freud’s thinking, moved "beyond the pleasure principle" of human behaviour; he theorised about the human self-destruct impulse (Thanatos) – the counterpart of our creative life force (Eros).  He describes how these opposing instincts for life and death, vie for control of our unconscious.  However this dynamic is resolved in your life or mine (or Amy Winehouse) is mostly unknown to us.  The writer Raymond Carver spent the last decade of his life sober –  to celebrate, he wrote a poem called Gravy – which is inscribed on his tombstone; a poem full of gratitude.

Over the years, Senscot has been interested (and sometimes directly involved) in how London-based third sector Intermediaries translate their mission to Scotland. Development Trusts (DTAS) is a notable success story – UK wide scope – local governance. Also, Senscot was a founder member of unLtd – was able to secure sufficient autonomy – for Scotland UnLtd to multiply funding locally. One of the notable failures however is the tentative presence of NESTA in Scotland – an uneasy outpost of the `London Village`. This is not a pitch for Senscot to get some money – it’s much more than that. This is a pitch for the open recruitment of a NESTA Scotland Committee – to bestow local ownership – so that NESTA can fulfil its potential as a leader of innovation in our country. Here’s a note of a meeting held in Edinburgh last month, We’ll stay with this one for a bit – comment invited.

I live near the village of Newton in West Lothian where we have one shop – its loss would be devastating for our community. I’m a great fan of Scotland`s Community Retailing Network (CRN) which directly supports local folk thinking of setting up a community owned shop. Their worker, Kirsty McColl, tells us there are 21 such shops across Scotland with another 8 under development. CRN is another example of excellent cross border working – UK wide scope – local governance. See,

Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is one of the key drivers of enterprise in our third sector; news today that recruitment has begun for the organisation’s new Chief Executive – a hugely influential role. More
comment on this next week. See advert (circa £70k),

The most informative book I know about social enterprise – past, present and future – is John Pearce’s 2003 work `Social Enterprise in Anytown`. In it, he produces 9 different definitions of social and community enterprise with sources – you’ll find them here on our special `September Seminar` page.  Folk concerned about cost of the seminar should assume around £30 including lunch. Booking will commence in early August. 

England is digesting a White Paper called `Open Public Services` from which the social enterprise community in Scotland can learn much. Here is an excellent selection of comments from English sectoral leaders. Up here, we’ve got the Christie Commission – which points in the right direction, "putting people and communities at the heart of public service delivery". But as Angus Hardie asks in this week’s LPL/SCA Briefings – are Scotland’s municipal leaders capable of such a cultural shift? See,

As many of you will be aware, this has been Colin’s last full week at Senscot. From September, he’ll be doing a couple of days a month, focusing on Sport and Health. Here’s a statement from Senscot Chair, Sophy Green. "On behalf of my colleagues on the Board of Senscot, I’d like to publicly register our gratitude to Colin for his outstanding contribution over these past eight years.  Colin has been a pleasure to work with although`, on occasions, it has seemed like trying to ‘herd cats’ when Colin and Laurence decided to ‘discuss’ an issue. Working with Colin has been immensely rewarding and all of us admire his passion and commitment to making the Networks the success they have become.  We wish him well with the ongoing development of Assist Social Capital and have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength under his leadership!  Thanks, Colin and take care."

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See This week:
JOBS: West of Scotland Housing Association; the Place2Be; Edinburgh Cyrenians; Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre; Garvald Edinburgh; Social Firms Scotland;
EVENTS: Forth Replacement Crossing – Meet the Buyer Event, 2 Aug; What you need to know about contracts, 5 Aug; Big Bang Nights – Crowdversations on screen, 10 Aug; Mainstreaming Service User Involvement, 30 Aug
TENDERS: Supply & Delivery of Aids for Daily Living, Occupational Therapy Equipment and Supporting Services; Bread, Rolls and Teabread for NHS; Residential and Education Provision for Children Affected by Autism; Repainting of Council Houses, April 2012 – March 2017 Programme

From this week, Kim will be taking over Colin’s duties, reporting on SEN activity for Networks News.

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: One of the most challenging issues that has faced local SENs over the last 12/18 months has been in their efforts to fully engage with their local Single Interfaces. At times, our reporting on progress has not been considered `balanced or fair` (see below) – by Interfaces who have been making genuine efforts to adopt a sector-wide approach to the delivery of their functions. On a positive note, we are pleased to report that SENs are now engaged in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Clackmannanshire, Fife, East Lothian and Dumfries and Galloway. Discussions are ongoing in the Borders but, regrettably, there is still appears to be an impasse in Aberdeen. We’ll keep you posted on developments.
For more Networks News, see

Scottish Govt`s third sector policy clearly favours social enterprise – readiness for business; but as we said last week this policy breaks down at the local level – where Councils of Voluntary Services still dominate – and where a minority of them doggedly resist the involvement of social enterprise networks. Last week’s piece prompted two responses – from Fife and the Western Isles – stating that Senscot`s `carping` was neither balanced nor helpful. Here’s our correspondence with Bryan Poole from Fife CVS. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise, based near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire that provides young people who have illness, disability or behavioural issues with a transformative experience of working and connecting with horses. Big Heart Horses, recently supported by Firstport, believes that this experience can soothe emotional troubles, build social skills, develop independence and strengthen human relationships.
Big Heart Horses also run bespoke programmes for local schools and are seeking partnerships with charities and local government. For more, see

Lynda La Plante writing about Raymond Chandler.  "Evelyn Waugh described Raymond Chandler in the late 1940s as the greatest living American novelist.  He wrote his first novel, The Big Sleep, at the age of 50.  His career until then had been varied, veering between rich, poor, drunk, teetotal, and often despondent.  He was a reclusive, complex, sometimes vulnerable man, often a very tedious drunk but with a wired sense of humour and wit.  Shortly before his death Chandler described his greatest creation, Philip Marlowe, as a man always lonely, but never defeated.  Chandler was asked if he ever read his own fiction and this is his reply: ‘Yes, at the risk of being called egotistical, I find it damned hard to put down.  Even me that knows all about it – but I take no credit for it – it just happens, like red hair.’  I read and reread Chandler.  I laugh at his wit, his turn of phrase: I am in awe of his brilliant character descriptions.  Philip Marlowe is the best detective ever written, and all his novels are damned hard to put it down."

That’s all for this week.

Good luck with your adventures

Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210