Senscot Bulletin: 30.05.08

Dear members and friends,

The dominant myth of our time is that the world economy can continue to expand indefinitely – infinite growth with our planet’s finite resources is an illusion – but one that we all enjoy as consumers.  We may suspect deep down that things are not sustainable but surely the folk at the top – world leaders – know what they’re doing – huh!  Gore Vidal has observed that there are two political brands in the USA, Democrat & Republican, but only one party – business.  If this is so – that ‘business interests’ control USA politics – then the cat is already in the pigeon loft.
For years, western prosperity has been fuelled by artificially cheap oil – occasional stutters remind us how exposed we are to the moves of suppliers and speculators – Joe Public growls – a sense that if the pumps run dry, things could get nasty.  We now need a strong leader who will tell us the truth – who will instigate painful and orderly transition to sustainable levels of energy consumption – lifestyle changes are inevitable – sensible folk accept this.  The alternative is that ‘business interests’ – beyond democratic control – will take us into another oil war.
Ghandi famously said ‘become the change you want to see in the world!’ – been reflecting on my own wee world.  My cottage has no mains gas and the price of kerosene has rocketed – plenty wood out here.  My project is to research and install a state of the art wood burning system to heat 4 radiators.  Anyone know a good website?  Never mind Ghandi – it would save me a fortune.
 (200 of these intros can be browsed here –

Development Trusts are spreading in Scotland but it is still predominantly a rural movement. 75% of DTA Scotland’s members are outwith the cities.  In our urban central belt, the most developed community led infrastructure for regeneration is provided by locally owned housing associations – particularly those which have developed wider role activities.  In areas like Govanhill, Renton, Easterhouse and many others – the local housing association has evolved into a multi-purpose anchor organisation to unite and empower the whole community. The operation of a development trust alongside an established housing association is proving to be an effective structure. A conference in Stirling on Wednesday – hosted by SHARE and SFHA – heard how the Housing Association movement wants to get further involved in wider action – particularly social enterprise.  Edward Harkins was there – sends this short report.

The debate about whither Third Sector organisations `sell their soul` if they undertake government contracts, sometimes gets a bit precious and moralistic. Sensible, `feet on the ground` piece by social entrepreneur Craig Dearden-Phillips in Society Guardian. He takes the view that such decisions should not be ideological
but strategic. The question should be “what kind of relationship with government best fits the achievement of our particular social mission?” I agree with him.
News from Aberdeen of another Council initiative being transformed into a social enterprise to safeguard its future. Last month, we reported on Inspire taking over Aye Can. This week, we hear that plans are underway to re-constitute Glencraft as a social enterprise with a number of partners. Glencraft has been manufacturing beds and mattresses for over 100 years. It is envisaged that this move will safeguard the 58 staff, 38 of whom are blind or otherwise disabled. From the outside, it appears that Aberdeen Council is  taking an enlightened approach in supporting the sector in the city  

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 
JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Edinburgh Cyrenians, Visualise, SMILE Assistance Services, Andalus, Beulah Scotland, SMILE Assistance Services
EVENTS: 18 events Eat to the Beat 3, 6 Jun, Glasgow; Edinburgh Treefest and Woodmarket, 15 Jun, Edinburgh; Self Leadership Seminar with Karen Darke, 26 June, Edinburgh; Southside Festival, 28 Jun, Glasgow; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh

DTA Scotland’s Annual Conference takes place on 15th/16th June in St. Andrews. They`ve around 150 registered with only 30 places left. If you`re keen to go, see

Diary Date: This year`s Senscot AGM will be on Thursday 26th June. Details etc next week

NETWORK 1st: Colin writes: Anna Roscoe completes her first week at Senscot. Here`s her take on things: My first week with Senscot has been pretty varied; a small insight into my time ahead working with everyone. Already, I`ve managed a couple of visits and attended two SEN meetings….. For more , see

Our old pal, Iain Gulland, is on the move. Iain has been Network Director of CRNS for the last four years and has been one of the driving forces in pushing community recycling up the Government’s agenda. Iain takes up post as the new Scottish Director of the Waste Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) at the end of June. WRAP will be administering the new Increase Programme, so Iain will still be on our radar. We wish him well.

Developing Strathclyde Ltd (DSL) is expanding its loan portfolio to include Edinburgh and the Lothians. It was announced this week that they now have a fund of £1.5m available to small businesses and social enterprises. DSL provide loans up to a maximum of £50,000 and are particularly interested in investing in disadvantaged communities. For more, see

Back in February, we profiled the Kinghorn Community Land Association (KCLA) and the fact that they were registering interest in 19 plots of land around Kinghorn Loch. The good news is that they are now in discussions with a view to buying one of the plots. The intention will be to build a new Centre for the local community and to provide a long-term base for the Ecology Centre, one of Fife’s best known social enterprises. See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles a new enterprise Greenyonder tours that launches this summer in Edinburgh. Greenyonder will be offering tours that will bring people closer to people and places they’d be unlikely to encounter otherwise. The idea is to introduce people to the range of community, traditional and even quirky gardens Edinburgh has, and get them talking with the people who look after them. This will also help build people’s confidence and pride in the community gardens they’ve created.  Next year they plan to extend tours to other green themes.

From an article ‘Heart-Centred Realism’ by Frances Moore Cappe.

  Many people are suspicious of progressives for what psychologists call ‘situational’ perspective on evil.  Blaming the ‘situation’ – poverty or bad schools and so on – for anti-social behaviour takes the bad guys off the hook, they say. But we can make clear that, actually, it is the ‘‘dispositional’’ view of many on the right – that evil lies within certain individuals – that takes most of humanity off the hook, and, therefore, ultimately dooms us.  Acknowledging the capacity of most of us to become brutal puts all us on notice for our responsibilities to create real democracies protecting us from that possibility.  ‘‘Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible,’’ writes Reinhold Niebuhr, ‘‘but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.’’  So progressives can get off the defensive.  We are the hard-nosed, heart-centred realists.

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

Best wishes,

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