Senscot Bulletin: 30.03.12

Dear members and friends,

In Sunday’s sunshine, my friend and I drive down the Clyde Valley – for lunch in one of our ‘adopted’ fish and chip shops – Valerio’s in Lanark.  It’s an unpretentious establishment without frills –  but they buy the finest haddock – cooked to order in crisp batter; a family business (since 1932) which keeps the highest standards (full Demarco seal of approval).  The Clyde Valley is dotted with lots of wee orchards and garden centres – our favourite is the Silver Birch, where we stroll in the sun – choose a dozen new plants.  Then it’s ice cream at a new place by the river – among picnickers and children playing in the grass.  The temperature reaches 22 degrees – in March!  What a joy.
 Then later in the week, I enjoy supper with two close old friends, former workmates.  Inevitably we compare notes – reflections on growing older – our declining energy.  They both express regret at the loss of the person they once were.  It occurs to me – I think for the first time – that I prefer the person I am now, to the one I was.  This is partly because I was drunk half the time – and missed so much.  But I also lived my life too fast – in extravert mode – too concerned to make an impression.  Whereas for the past decade I’ve lived alone – and solitude suits me better – leaves me more at peace with myself. 

About six times a year I get a migraine – which puts me in bed.  This happened on the morning of the SE Exchange – but the Senscot team was well represented.  Here’s Aidan’s take:  “Tuesday’s SE Exchange was a great success and congratulations are due to all those involved in putting it together. The world’s largest social enterprise event saw 1250 delegates from 26 different countries gather in a very sunny Glasgow. The social enterprise community was out in force – running the vast majority of stands, providing the catering and entertainment; and doing business with one another. Keynote speaker was First Minister, Alex Salmond. Whatever your politics, our First Minister is a polished performer. More importantly, his speech was a strong endorsement for our social enterprise community and the contribution it can make to communities across Scotland. We must be doing something right.” See,

The Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland (The Code) was launched on Tuesday at the SE Exchange. It attracted a crowd of over 90 delegates. You can sign up as a ‘subscriber’ (for SEs only) or as a ‘supporter’ ( Senscot etc) via our website that went live yesterday – The administration of The Code will be hosted by Senscot to begin with but this will rotate amongst other members of the founding ‘steering group. Altho’ I failed a late fitness test, I had prepared a short speech in advance. Here it is,

I’m overdue a trip to London – was tempted to coincide it with the debate Compass hosted in the House of Commons on March 15th about Scottish Independence; Gerry Hassan spoke at it and has written an interesting piece.  He argues that Scotland’s political parties should square up over social justice – that policies around the widening equality gap reveal true political colours. See,

I confess to being very cynical about the involvement of the slick, glossy management consultant firms with our third sector; I can’t get past their basic greed for money.  The present ‘hot’ market is public sector contracts – they’re clever enough to know that this is more naturally our field – so they’ll be on the phone.  But their values and behaviours are very different from us; success is determined by how much you earned this year; so be careful or they’ll pick your pocket. See,

The single greatest barrier to the expansion of social enterprise into public service delivery is the ‘prime contractor’ system – which dominates UK procurement practice (see Les Huckfield’s expose,  The next big challenge for us is to design vehicles – which take care of the ‘top end’ tendering procedures – on behalf of clusters of locally owned, front line, delivery businesses.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  This week:
JOBS: FEAT Enterprises, Edinburgh International Science Festival, Grassmarket Community Project, Edinburgh Young Carers Project, COVEY Befriending, Quarriers, Citizens Advice Scotland,
EVENTS: WMH Workshop: Curious Project, 2 Apr; Art of Living Lifestyle Show, 3 Apr; Engaging Communities on Climate Change, 3 Apr; Portobello Market, 7 Apr; Action Learning, 15 Apr;
TENDERS: Occupational Health Services, Baling of Mixed Plastic Bottles, Support to Social Enterprise in Fife and Design & Build Subcontractor & Supplier Packages for 18 houses in Perth. For more details, see

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Tuesday saw the launch of the Voluntary Code of Practice for Social Enterprise in Scotland. The Code – see, – has already attracted a number of notable names as early subscribers. It was good therefore to hear this week that Edinburgh SEN has signed up as well. We’ll be contacting the other constituted SENs over the coming weeks, inviting both them and their members to sign up as well. To subscribe, see For more Networks News, see

“Just Banking – building a banking sector that serves society” – is the title of a major gathering on 19th/20th April – at Edinburgh Yooni Business School. Sponsored by a serious cluster of organisations – with a serious panel of speakers – we are left wondering why there has not been more such campaigning. This looks like a live one. See,

The Melting Pot launched their new ‘Social Innovation Incubator Award’ at this week’s SE Exchange. Successful applicants will have free access to a range of practical resources including workspace, learning, mentoring and advice sessions as part of the 12 month programme. Expertise will be drawn from private and third sector organisations to help grow and develop start-up and emerging not for profits. 10 places for organisations are available with a closing date of 8th June 2012. See,

The attitudes we hold and our choices of actions are greatly influenced by our values. The implications of this for campaigners, community orgs etc will be examined in a ‘Common Cause’ Workshop on 25th April in Edinburgh. See,

Two Borders teenagers picked up the Social Enterprise Award at the Adult Learner Awards in Galashiels this week. Kyle Wilson and Oscar MacAndrew won the award after starting up their community radio station in Duns – Generate Radio CIC. Both Kyle and Oscar are currently undertaking a course in leadership run by the Social Enterprise Academy. See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a community business aiming to create a viable and sustainable, bakery business in the Scottish Borders. Breadshare was set up as a CIC and started operations in January 2012 from a farm near West Linton. Not only will they be providing bread, cakes and biscuits for local events, they will also be developing mutually beneficial links with small businesses, local growers and producers from the area. They are also exploring interesting investment options via buy in from the local community and a ‘Loaf Loan’ where interest would be paid in the form of ‘bread vouchers’. See,

The screen writer Billy Wilder wrote some of my favourite ever films – The Apartment – Some Like It Hot etc.  Here are his tips for writers – some gems.
 1. The audience is fickle.  2. Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.  3. Develop a clean line of action for you leading character.  4. Know where you’re going.  5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.  6. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.  7. A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two.  They’ll love you forever.  8. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees.  Add to what they’re seeing.  9. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.  10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then – that’s it.  Don’t hang around. 

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