Senscot Bulletin: 29.09.17

Dear members and friends,

In the early 1970s – training as a community worker – I first encountered John Bowlby’s ‘attachment theory’: that as infants we need to achieve a secure relationship with at least one primary caregiver for our successful social and emotional development. Over the last twenty years, neuroscience has confirmed – that these earliest (first year) relationships actually encode the neural circuitry of our brains; ‘the known but not remembered’ pathways of our future relational life
            The Big Issue in Scotland was launched in 1993 by two good friends – Tricia and Mel. Through their work, I learned about the ‘invisible population’ in our cities of ‘street people’ – who sleep in hostels or in doorways – people with little sense of belonging anywhere. The main learning for me was that ‘rough sleeping’ has little to do with the housing shortage – but with a far more intractable inner sense of homelessness. There are people with no happy memory of ‘home’ – for whom the notion of ‘belonging’ brings only fear. In human terms, this is a great wounding; an understanding of attachment enables us to begin to address it.
            Every human being is somewhere on the secure/insecure attachment spectrum – our relationships tell our story. I was born just as war broke out in 1940; my dad was interned and my mum became very ill –  turbulent times. Whenever, occasionally, I feel ‘abandoned’ – without prompting, my mind conjures the image of my mum’s mum – my nonna in Glasgow: ‘waving from the backroads, by the rivers of my memory, ever smiling, ever gentle on my mind’.


Wednesday afternoon I watched Corbyn’s Conference speech and was impressed; Fraser Nelson – editor of Tory Spectator – immediately tweeted: “Corbyn’s speech rightly assumed that the next election is his to lose”. This was also my impression – that this man has moved the political centre ground – so that Labour’s Manifesto is now mainstream. Corbyn famously chats to people on the streets; he spoke of a new consensus, emerging from the economic crash and the years of austerity. I’m allowing myself to believe that the UK is within reach of a radical change of Govt; – of a fairer and more compassionate economic order. However, Lesley Riddoch thinks Jezza hasn’t got a scooby about Scottish politics.


Neal Ascherson remembers Barcelona in Franco’s time – the suppression of Catalan language and culture; his Observer piece displays an extraordinary grasp of modern European history and politics. Iain Macwhirter has researched the legality of the imminent referendum (1st Oct) – with reference to international law – but this is hardly the main issue; Westminster is clear, that should the majority of Scots want to leave – our union would end; the divorce may be settled with goodwill or rancour – but the right of self-determination would be respected. Madrid’s clumsy attempts to prevent Catalan independence have the whiff of Franco’s dictatorship; let’s hope they pull back.


News this week that consultation has begun on how to spend an estimated £2billion of assets lying dormant in the investment and insurance sectors. The main beneficiary of the 2011 ‘unclaimed assets handout’ was Big Society Capital – we don’t need reminded of the ‘limitations’ of this strategy. Scotland’s share of the new windfall would be £200 million – serious money. In this 2006 article called ‘power to the people’ – the late Stephen Maxwell proposes that Scotland’s 100 most disadvantaged communities could opt for ’empowered status’ and receive their own budget of two million. That would really be community empowerment.


This month sees the retirement of one of the sector’s most respected and valued leaders – as Graham Bell steps down as CEO of Kibble – after almost 24 years at the helm. During his tenure, Kibble has grown and developed into a world leader for its work in making a better life for some of our most troubled young people. Graham has also made a very significant contribution to the SE community in Scotland – pinning his flag to the mast in the early years – as well as leading the Social Enterprise Academy (as chair) over the last decade. We wish Graham the very best in the future – and also to his successor, Jim Gillespie.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Glasgow Homelessness Network, Wasps Ltd, Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, Craigshill Good Neighbour Network, Impact Arts (Projects) Ltd, Good Morning Service, Zero Tolerance
EVENTS: Pop-up-Cafe, 3rd Oct; Leading Growth for Senior Leaders, 5th Oct; Bistro Night, 6th Oct; Groundwork Training – Practices for good team collaboration, 01 Nov;
TENDERS: Enterprise Web Search Engine – University of the Highlands and Islands, Getting Ready for Work 16-19 – Renfrewshire Council, Escorting Services for Children and Young People – Scottish Government. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.
The SENs Weekly Update: This week we publish the second in our series of Senscot Briefings – with the focus on ‘Sport for Change. Sport for Change reflects a growing recognition of the potential of sport and physical activity to make a significant contribution to people and communities in a far wider context than just sport itself – in areas such as social inclusion, health & wellbeing, community cohesion and education & learning. The Briefing also promotes the work of Sport SEN members in this field. The Sport for Change Briefings follow last month’s ‘Loneliness and Social IsolationBriefing. Over the coming months, we will be publishing further Briefings highlighting key issues and the work of SEN members in area such as Dementia; Community Tourism; Social Prescribing; Cinema and Regeneration; and Diet and Obesity.


Our SE Conference this year at the Westerwood Hotel (7th/8th Dec) is now open for bookings. The event –
Collaborating towards a Sharing Economy” – is being run in partnership with Social Firms Scotland and Community Enterprise with the support of the Scottish Community Alliance. The Draft Programme is in place – with speaker and workshop info following over the coming weeks. The overnight rate – including dinner, bed and breakfast in £70 for SEN members and other social enterprises – £100 for intermediaries/support agencies/public sector etc. Day rates only also available. See Booking Form


The inaugural SE World Forum (SEWF) took place in Edinburgh in 2008. For its 10th birthday – it returns to Edinburgh in September 2018. Cabinet Minister, Angela Constance travelled to the 2017 SEWF in Christchurch, New Zealand to accept the ‘handover’ on Scotland’s behalf. The event will be run in partnership between CEIS, Scottish Govt and the British Council. See Press Release.


The inaugural Andrew Nicoll lecture was given last week by architect Malcolm Fraser (see Black’s Blog) – not surprisingly it was packed with progressive thinking; e.g. when ‘change of use consent’ results in massively enhanced land values – councils, not landowners, should benefit. Fraser is a board member of Common Weal – the think-tank and campaigning organisation. Scottish civil society benefits from several of these independent wellsprings of radical ideas; but defenders of the status quo – like land banking volume builders – deploy powerful lobbyists with enhanced ministerial access; not a level playing field.


Reminder: The 3rd John Pearce Lecture takes place on Monday, 2nd October (5pm) at the Deeprose Lecture Theatre at Glasgow Caley. Laurie Russell (Wise Group) delivers this year’s lecture on the theme: “Are social enterprises in Scotland fit and agile enough to face the challenges of the future?”. See details on bookings.


This week’s bulletin profiles a faith-based social enterprise operating in the heart of Glasgow city centre. The Wild Olive Tree, located within St George Tron Church of Scotland is a joint initiative involving Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust – set up to create training placements to help people who want to develop skills as a way into work. All profits generated are used to support their ongoing work with some of Glasgow’s most vulnerable people. The Wild Olive Tree also ensures as much stock as possible is sourced from like-minded organisations in the city such as Greencity and Freedom Bakery.


This paragraph is from English psychotherapist Jeremy Holmes book: John Bowlby and Attachment Theory.


“A securely attached child will store an internal working model of a responsive, loving, reliable care-giver, and of a self that is worthy of love and attention and will bring these assumptions to bear on all other relationships. Conversely, an insecurely attached child may view the world as a dangerous place in which other people are to be treated with great caution, and see himself as ineffective and unworthy of love. These assumptions are relatively stable and enduring: those built up in the early years of life are particularly persistent and unlikely to be modified by subsequent experience.” 

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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