Senscot Bulletin: 30.05.14

Dear members and friends,

        The European Cup launched in 1955 – the year I left school; at first it was an invitation event – clubs chosen on the basis that they were “the most representative and prestigious clubs in Europe”. Hibs was the Scottish – Chelsea, the English choice; we made it to the semis – where Stade Reims beat us; they lost the final to Real Madrid. The legendary Alfredo Di Stefano scored 5 goals in the tournament; the legendary Eddie Turnbull scored 3; that’s the company by which we measured ourselves. On Sunday, Hibs were pitiful – there was inevitability about our self-destruction; but the reality of relegation hurt more than I expected – from a place deep inside – of forgotten childhood dreams. There is an opportunity now for the club to go back to its roots – to find itself again.
       Senscot is privileged to serve a network of hundreds of social entrepreneurs; as a consequence we have a ringside view of emerging third sector trends. At this time in Scotland – scores of sports clubs are coming to realise their potential as engines of community development; they are changing their approach – becoming social enterprises. The Scottish Govt presently has an expert working group – consulting on how best to give sports club supporters the right of first refusal – when their clubs come up for sale. Thousands of people love and identify with Hibs; let us prepare to rescue our club from exile – from the dead eyed money men – bring it back home to its own people. 

“Rarely has a single report recommended such radical change – in non-punch-pulling – non-conciliatory words of one syllable”. This is how Lesley Riddoch’s piece in the Scotsman comments on of the final report of the Land Reform Review Group (published last Friday). There is no doubt that these 62 recommendations, taken together, present a determined intent to widen land tenure in Scotland – a cause for which Senscot, amongst others, has long campaigned; well done those guys. But, inevitably, the question now becomes – how seriously will Scottish Govt take this bold manifesto. One thing we can be sure of; the SNP will do nothing which might frighten the horses before the big vote. See,

Must a social enterprise be ‘asset locked’ – or does the term embrace ‘for profit’ companies? (groan – not again). A new report out of the London village suggests that you’ll get a different answer in England – from Scotland. UnLtd – which is fast becoming a leading advocate of mixing third sector and private profit activity – has published a report ‘pushing boundaries’ – which I would have called ‘blurring boundaries’; Fortunately, our trusted commentator on the English scene, David Floyd, has posted a Beanbags blog on this subject – see, . In Scotland, the ‘SE Code’ is still our benchmark – and perhaps it’s time to revisit and refresh its content. It was never intended to be set in stone. Maybe some readers would welcome the opportunity to comment/tweak? See,

One reason, for instance, why we might wish to tinker with ‘the Code’ is the potential of ‘community share issues’ to contribute to local economies; a consortium of local villagers – investing in the survival of their local pub or shop – has to be part of the same SE world that we occupy. The official launch of Scotland’s Community Shares Programme – took place in Perth on Tuesday. Community share issues can offer investors a small financial return on their investment but with an emphasis very much on the community benefit generated by the investment. The event saw both the launch of their new website – as well as the introduction of Kelly McIntyre who will be running the programme. You can contact Kelly at See more,

When I saw the flames blasting through the roof of Glasgow’s School of Art – I thought McIntosh’s masterpiece was a ‘goner’; but thanks to the local fire brigade – it looks like we’ll get the building back. This is a photo of the brass statue of ‘citizen fireman’ which stands outside Central Station in Gordon St; it sports a new sign round its neck; nice touch. See,
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: WorkingRite, Voluntary Action Fund, RAMH, Quarriers, Queens Cross Parish Church, Helm,
EVENTS: Access to Sport and Culture, 5 June; Read, Relax, Recharge, 5 June’ Blog Writing Workshop, 6 June; Portobello Market, 7 June; Community is the answer, 9 June; Glasgow Cycle Festival, 13 June;
TENDERS: Building Community Capacity to Support Palliative Care, Highland Hospice; Architectural & Landscape Design Services, Dumfries and Galloway Council; Consultancy Opportunity, Ardentinny Community Trust and Researcher, Capability Scotland;

The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Senscot, on behalf of the Health SEN, will be submitting a response to the Health Inequalities Review (HIR). The review is committed to undertake a series of community engagement exercises across the country – listening to people who rarely have a say in policy development. 
Chaired by Dr David Conway of the Socialist Health Association, this review aims to go beyond health service reform and take a broader approach to preventing, reducing and reversing health inequalities. From this they hope to propose a raft of policies that cut-across health and wider public services, that can be taken forward in the short, medium and long term – that take into account current and potential future constitutional arrangements, and that are costed – taking into account current spending realities, – but which also consider what could/should be done with reallocating and re-prioritising resources. We’re keen to gather views from social enterprises for more information, see and submit responses to For more SENs News, see

Senscot Legal will be welcoming the latest addition to their staff team this Monday – 2nd June. Helen Turner will be joining Karina and Jennifer in the office in Bath St, Glasgow. Helen joins from Citizens Advice Direct and her presence will allow Senscot Legal to almost double its capacity and meet the increasing demand for its services. Helen’s post is being supported by the Enterprise Ready Fund. For more on Senscot Legal and its services, contact 

I had no opportunity to study political philosophy – much of what David Marquand writes goes over my head – yet I find 3 of his books on my shelves. Aged 80 he’s written another called ‘Mammon’s Kingdom’ which I’ll also probably get. Like Michael Sandel – Marquand believes we’ve drifted from having a market economy – be being a market society. He calls this new work “a wakeup call for a nation sleepwalking towards a seedy barbarism”. My kinda stuff. See,

I count myself as a warrior for the third sector – and for the values which define it; as outlined in this short extract from Senscot’s current policy discussion paper – I’m a member of the Green Party because it seems to me a natural extension of these values – explicitly opposing neoliberalism – campaigning for social justice and protection of the planet. I voted last week for Maggie Chapman to become Scotland’s first Green MEP – but the Greens (8%) were beaten for the sixth slot by UKIP (10%) – a double disappointment. Neal Lawson of Compass posted his reflections on the UKIP surge; he seems despondent – calls for a new citizen led politics – of everyday democracy. See,  

This week’s bulletin profiles the Edinburgh-based social innovation organisation, Comas. Based close to the Royal Mile, Comas provides a range of consultancy, training and advisory services that are designed to support the wider objectives of the organisation – dedicated to supporting people and organisations working for change. Last year, we profiled their initiative, the Serenity Café. Comas has recently been awarded funding from the Enterprise Ready Fund – to develop and deliver burn-out training and awareness sessions, specifically aimed at the third sector and also the public sector.
For more see,

The Scottish poet John Burnside calls them ‘grace events’ – those fleeting glimpses we occasionally experience of the world being ‘just so’. I think Edward Thomas captures such a moment in his poem Adlestrop – at once immediate and eternal.

Yes. I remember Adlestrop – the name, because one afternoon of heat the express-train drew up there unwontedly. It was late June. The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. No one left and no one came on the bare platform. What I saw was Adlestrop – only the name and willows, willow-herb, and grass, and meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, no whit less still and lonely fair than the high cloudlets in the sky. And for that minute a blackbird sang close by, and around him, mistier, farther and farther, all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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