Senscot Bulletin 30-04-2004


Dear members and friends,

Been a bit down lately – so off in Spain for a week.  Budget flight to Malaga on Wednesday – up at dawn – poor sleep.  Understaffed check-in takes 40 minutes – then they want £20 for my golf clubs.  I flare up – tell the supervisor, ‘This is pure greed’ – she seems amused.  Full plane – no sooner aloft than Captain informs us that the front door isn’t properly shut – which explains the loud roaring noise.  He tells us not to worry about the cabin losing pressure (Oh good!) but ‘just in case’ we’re going to land in Bournemouth – to shut the door properly.  Old guy next to me tells his wife, ‘This plane is fully loaded and fuelled – it can’t land for two hours.’  I’ve got ‘Biggles’ sitting next to me – and he turns out to be spot on.  We fly in circles for two and a half hours – then an hour in Bournemouth.  Malaga takes six hours, ten minutes.  As bad as it gets.

Friday morning – 48 hours later – sitting outside in garden full of spring flowers, perfumes and birdsong.  I’m reading ‘The curious incident of the dog in the night time’ – an extraordinary book which has me gripped.  I’ve been to the local market for cheese, fruit and fresh bread.  This is me for the day. With any luck nothing interesting will happen.  As good as it gets.


The Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) celebrates its first anniversary next week.  This first 12 months have been a process of discovery, building a picture of how many development trusts there are in Scotland and learning what the main issues are in terms of what impacts on their ability to develop as businesses.  Growth within this sector seems exponential at the moment as more and more communities are deciding that the development trust model is the way forward for them.  Membership of DTAS is also growing quickly, with 24 full members and several more in the pipeline.  DTAS will be holding its 1st Annual Conference and inaugural AGM on 30th August in Inverness – the precise venue has yet to be decided – where its first full Board will be elected from the membership.  Further info on DTAS and its members:  (    


Social Enterprises winning Council contracts is something that the Scottish Executive hopes will be the major long-term outcome of the forthcoming Social Economy Action Plan.  This will be very much in line with what is already happening in England where a number of Councils have already chosen to go down this road.  Sheffield Council has drawn up a strategy detailing how procurement and planning procedures can be reshaped to make it easier for social enterprises to bid for contracts.  Sheffield has taken a lead on this but has now been joined by nine other Councils down south working together under the auspices of New Approaches to Public Procurement (NAPP).  (  


Senscot receives a number of bulletins each week, and one that stands out is ‘Connector’ from the Arts and Communities Association. This  is Scotland’s network for socially engaged arts and creative industries practitioners.  The Associations Connector project aims to promote cultural democracy, grow social enterprise in the cultural sector and engage others, including social enterprise, in the debate about the importance of growing our sector in Scotland.  This is a multi-layered, interactive process that relies on a team of strategically positioned ‘connectors’ (both thematic and geographically positioned) up and down the country.  Connector is a creative project in its own right.  Future funding is dependent on a current external evaluation on this pilot phase and feedback and/or comment would be very welcome.  For further details check Connector out at  


‘If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair.  We’d never have a friendship.  We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical.  Well, that’s nonsense.  You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.’ – Ray Bradbury


YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site.  This week:

JOBS: 66 vacancies, including Craigdale Housing Association, 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union Ltd, European Small Islands Network, Move On, Rainbow Turtle, Inclusion Alliance, The Edinvar Group.

EVENTS: ‘Getting into shape’ free seminars, May/June; ‘Sustainability – What Do We Mean: How Do We Do It?’, Glasgow, 8 May; Edinburgh 10 May; ‘Let’s Get Entrepreneurial!’ Joint SFHA  / Share / Housing Wider Action event, Glasgow, 19 May; ‘Catch The Recycling Bug’ CRNUK conf., London, 19-20 May; Advice & Info Day for Social Enterprises, Hampden, 20 May; ‘Helping The Social Economy Grow’ seminar, Paisley, 20 May; Edinburgh Treefest 2004, 12-13 June; ‘Creating Safer Communities’, crime and antisocial behaviour conf., 23 June, London; Stopping the Rot’ conf., Manchester, 8 July;

CAN YOU HELP: Spruce Carpet is a Glasgow based pre-start up social, looking to refurbish unwanted carpets and supply them to people making the transition to independent living on tight budgets.  It’s looking for board members with business, financial or legal expertise.  See JOBS at YELLOW PAGES.

For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:   


This week’s bulletin profiles a visionary project in Fife. Going since 1981, MoBUS started up with one minibus and a couple of volunteer drivers, to provide transport to individuals who, for whatever reasons, could not access public transport.  In 23 years operating, MoBUS has achieved charitable status, become a company limited by guarantee and built up a fleet of 19 minibuses of varying sizes from 10 to 24 seats which can accommodate up to six wheelchairs.  MoBUS’s strong links with the community, combined with a business like approach, enables the company to survive and prosper while receiving no core funding.  All income comes from fares and other charges made for use of vehicles and from income generated through provision of training to other voluntary and statutory organisations.  Further information: see  (Project Profiles);


Many of the most innovative and sustainable examples of social enterprise in Scotland are to be found on the Scottish Islands. This week Senscot received a press release from the Scottish Islands Network who are part of a consortium that will be receiving €1.1 million for a new Networking Project involving island communities across Europe. The project will involve an intensive three-year period of inter-island networking and exchange, addressing key themes which include island identity and culture, ecologically sustainable development and the provision of public services and facilities on small islands. (   


Over in Fife, Pat Callaghan (Furniture Plus) is planning to host an informal meeting of local social enterprises and entrepreneurs. The idea is to allow people to get to know one another as well as to trade information. Colin from Senscot is working with Pat on this and we’ll let you know the date next week.


Good piece in Resurgence magazine by Jonathon Porritt on the illusory benefits of living faster.  He notes, ‘research shows the closer a nation approximates to the American model of a highly advanced and technologically developed form of capitalism, the greater the rate of mental illness among its citizens.’

It seems that there are a number of core human needs common to all cultures and societies – subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, identity, creation, participation, leisure and freedom – but these are proving elusive in the rich world.  ‘Our most pressing problem is that we’ve lost the knack of distinguishing between genuine satisfiers and the kind of ‘pseudo-satisfiers’ that leave the need unmet, our lives unfulfilled.  Fast-lane living ranks high in any list of pseudo-satisfiers.’ (  

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

Best wishes,


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