Senscot Bulletin: 30.09.11

Dear members and friends,

When I discovered from my birth certificate that I was born in a private nursing home – I asked my aunt – why not the NHS. I was astonished to be told that there was no NHS in 1940. What did people do! But of course it was the post war, landslide Labour Govt. which did this stupendous thing; Nye Bevan said “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”
 I’m a fan of Doc Martin on Monday evenings – lightweight but feelgood.  At first, Martin Clunes’ crabbit behaviour seemed over the top – but now I enjoy it. The setting is also part of my enjoyment – that gorgeous village on the Cornish coast; and the sense of village life – all the local characters – knowing each other’s business – all in it together.  I enjoy the sub-theme of different illnesses each week – to google – to check myself for symptoms. If there’s something I could be worrying about – I don’t want to miss it.
 I don’t think it is the scriptwriter’s intention – but I see healthcare as an important element of this programme – part of the social glue – which binds and sustains community life. We are told in the UK that we are living beyond our means – that we need to shed some services. Whatever we do – we mustn’t let go of universal health care. Meantime, this week, Ed Miliband straightforwardly repudiated almost every aspect of Tony Blair’s inheritance. Maybe social democrats have a political party again. Good piece in yesterday’s Telegraph. See,

In the USA, where the pursuit of personal wealth is considered humankinds highest calling – its perfectly acceptable to become a millionaire through operating a social enterprise; it’s just seen as a subset of capitalism. Senscot rejects this definition – considers the ‘asset lock’ to be the defining characteristic of SE – a clear boundary between ourselves and the private sector. Our asset lock says that commerce need not be driven by acquisitiveness – and that SE is radically different from ‘normal’ economic activity. With the support of the UK Govt. – (Big Society Capital, Social Impact Bonds, etc) – the USA definition of SE is fast gaining influence in England. Today (Friday), Senscot is hosting a seminar to discuss how we might react, in Scotland, to this private sector encroachment. This is my own contribution to the debate.

Last weeks 3 year spending plans from Scottish Govt make generous mention of the third sector and social enterprise. A colleague has assembled these references for easier scrutiny; I can’t help being struck by the inaccessibility of the language – written for and by people who know the code. But – hey – this Govt knows we’re here – stop moaning.

The most interesting comment I’ve read on Scottish Govt’s plans for the third sector was in the ‘New Philanthropy Capital’ blog.  John Copps thinks that the new firm commitment to investment in preventative services is one that leaves the UK govt lagging behind.  John Downie of SCVO also welcomes the shift – but is concerned that the money could be high-jacked.

The Big Issue in Scotland (Mel Young and Tricia Hughes) was instrumental in the launch of Senscot in 1999. Both Mel (Homeless World Cup) and Tricia (With Kids) are still creating social enterprises. Mel picked up on an item in the last bulletin and sends this comment.

I’ve always been an ‘emotional’ supporter of local currencies (LETS) – supporting local traders, protecting local economies from Tescopoly; but I reluctantly concluded – they don’t work. Saturday’s Guardian carried an upbeat story about one that does – in a quiet corner of Bavaria – 5m euro turnover last year.

HIE (Highland and Islands Enterprises) is a development agency highly regarded in Europe. It operates a unique integration of economic and community development – a programme called ‘Strengthening Communities’. Led for years by John Watt, this approach offers a model which many of us want to see adopted across Scotland. John is retiring – his job is being advertised.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See This week:
JOBS: Craft Town Scotland/West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd; Fife Employment Access Trust; Church of Scotland; Dr. Bell’s Family Centre; Nourish Scotland; Cupar Old Parish Church
EVENTS: Annual Conference, Nourish Scotland, 1 Oct; Portobello Organic Market, 1 Oct; EVOLVE- Advice and support for social enterprises, 5 Oct; Bert Mullen Lecture, 7 Oct
TENDERS: Furniture Removals & Storage (2 lots); Economic Impact Study: the Arts and Creative Industries in Scotland; Supply and installation of wind turbines at various locations throughout Orkney; Department for International Development – General Management Consultancy Services

NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Ayrshire SEN is hosting its own ‘Enterprising Procurement in Ayrshire’ Event on 3rd Nov at the Aspire Centre in Irvine. This will be a pan Ayrshire – covering all three local authority areas – looking at existing and developing national procurement policy and its application in Ayrshire. Ayrshire SEN is the 6th SEN to hold such an event and they are expecting around 60 attendees from both local authorities and local social enterprises. Speakers will include Pauline Graham (SFS) and Mag McCarthy (Unity Enterprise), with the day being chaired by Donna Drury (Real Work Skills). If you’d like to attend or get more information, contact
For more Networks News, see

‘Forest Research’ has published a report by Dr Amy Stewart called ‘Woodland related Social Enterprise’. It looks at the various factors – positive and negative – which contribute to the viability of such ventures including detailed discussion of some case studies.

When, some time ago, the board of OSCR decided to pay themselves – I wrote that I thought this regrettable – the wrong direction of travel. Now we have a statement from some Lords – in England – that the payment of charitable trustees is inevitable. The authority of Civil Society derives from its voluntary status – holding the state to account.  Lets not mess with this.

Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) made further progress last week with the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC) announcing the Wise Group as its delivery partner. SSEC is hopeful that a number of their member organisations (and SEN members) will be able to take part, at a local level, as part of a wider supply chain. CJS is now inviting applications from organisations/employers looking to create jobs up until March 2012.The deadline for all employer applications for this phase is 12 noon on Friday 21st October 2011. For more, see

This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social enterprise that, this week, joined the Clackmannanshire SEN. Women In Sport and Health (WISH) aims to provide support to isolated women in Clackmannanshire through involvement in social pursuits including access to the Leisure Bowl, Pamper sessions and a range of monthly activities.  WISH also operates a buddy system (that includes a six session training programme) and encourages women to take part and meet new people. For more, see

Over a 35 year period, I have possibly visited Andalucia 100 times – and have so many memories that I am no longer certain what actually happened – and what I have imagined. This is a quote from Sebastian Barry’s beautiful novel ‘The Secret Scripture’: “Is it that my memories and my imaginings are lying deeply in the same place – one on top of the other – like layers of shells and sand in a piece of limestone – so that they have both become the same element.”
Whether remembered or imagined – Andalucia keeps tugging me back. Next bulletin from the mountain fortress town of Ronda.

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