Senscot Bulletin: 30-09-2005

(Going out weekly to over 2700)

Dear members and friends,

On my monthly trips I’ve come to enjoy the sheer energy of London, but I find the travel wearing – the cynicism of the budget airlines and ram up terminals. This week I discovered London City airport – a wee gem in docklands – 20 minutes by coach from Liverpool St. Its scale is more human – its workforce less crabbit – the journey was nearly a pleasure.  But because it’s got short runways – the planes are awfy wee – 30 seats – two propellers.  Landing in modest 10mph winds was a bit too exciting.
 When travelling I often buy the Spectator – partly for excellent writing but also to check out what the Tories are saying.  There’s a columnist called Taki – a kind of geriatric fascist playboy – who this week tells us: ‘Pheasants are bred to be shot, Labradors are bred to retrieve them, and miners are bred to go down mines.’  No harm to remind ourselves of such rich people – of their vast carelessness, which lets other people clean up their mess.  All the political parties use the same language these days, but don’t be fooled.  They mean very different things.
 Out in the barn for logs this morning – and suddenly realise the swallows have gone – to winter in Africa – always sad. September song,  ‘But the days grow short when we reach September.’  The migratory impulse that we’d be better elsewhere – it’s in all of us.  But for me it gets less. I know now that I can go to the Sierras of southern Andalucia within myself. Still – I wouldn’t mind really being there. Soon they’ll be gathering the chestnuts. Las castanas. It’s a good time.

Did you read the interview in the Sunday Herald with Michael Lennon, the boss of Glasgow Housing Association. The piece included the astonishing figure that only 6% of GHA`s 75,000 tenants are in full time employment. This must be a misprint, I thought, so I phoned the press office. No it’s true. Will take a closer look at this – more next week.
 Also in the Herald, Iain McWhirter reviewed a biography of our First Minister – `Lucky Jack`. With his usual candour, McWhirter writes, ‘McConnell appears to trust no-one unless they have been in his inner circle since student days. This mistrust of potential rivals is his greatest flaw, revealed on the night of the long knives when he appalled civic Scotland by sacking almost every Labour minister with any talent.’ This is my main problem with McConnell. If half your squad is unavailable through injury or suspension – that’s bad luck. But if you don’t pick your best players `cos you’re not speaking to them – that’s not acceptable.

On Tuesday, Social Firms Scotland launched `Bridging the Gap` – a report on reforming welfare to work in the UK. This important report, which could have a far reaching impact, examines current welfare to work policy context at both Scottish and UK level. It explores support structures that are required for disadvantaged groups to participate in the labour market, and sets out how social enterprise can make its contribution to employability issues. SFS presents key recommendations that offer solutions to these problems. For a summary, see To download a full copy, see  For info`, contact Leona McDermid

Next Tuesday the Parliament’s Enterprise Committee has invited `oral` submissions to its Inquiry on `sustainable business growth` from the social enterprise sector. Amongst those submitting evidence will be Iain Gulland (CRNS) and Emma Hutton (SSEC). The Coalition has also been invited to meet with Nicol Stephen (Minister for Enterprise) and Johann Lamont (Depute Communities Minister). ( It looks like the Coalition is beginning to make its mark at Holyrood.

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

JOBS: 73 vacancies, incl. posts with: Re-Union Canal Boats, Developing Strathclyde Limited, Community Health and Advice Initiative, Transformation Team, Gift, Equality Network, Scottish Womens Aid

SPECIAL OFFERS: Senscot is looking to contract a community transport organisation to transport guests to and from railway station (Lanark) and between hotels for an event on 18/19th November.

EVENTS: Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Limited, 45th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence, 1 Oct; Third Sector Training Courses, 15 Oct ; Scottish League of Credit Unions, Bert Mullen Lecture, 20 Oct; SUFI – Learning Uncovered for the voluntary sector, 10 Nov; Voluntary Arts Wales, Value – Include – Connect, 12 Nov

It`s interesting to see social enterprise`s champion of the moment is David Cameron, candidate for the Tory Leadership. Check out what his campaign site is saying.

This week we hear from a co-op who have had their Seedcorn application turned down as they do not meet the eligibility criteria re profit distribution. This is similar to the Credit Union scenario we mentioned a few weeks back. It appears clear therefore that two recognised forms of social enterprise are not eligible for Futurebuilders. This needs to be made clear at the outset to ensure time is not wasted on either side. On a more positive note, the Seedcorn Fund has received an additional £1.6m. See

An innovative trading deal between social enterprises in Scotland and a not-for-profit organisations in Oregon in the USA has resulted in thousands of pounds being generated for community projects on both sides of the Atlantic. CRNS has developed a link with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Oregon, USA whereby large wooden items such as sideboards, wardrobes and dressing tables are shipped every week over to the States. These items are difficult to find homes for due to their size and age and, until recently, most of it ended up in landfill sites. Over the last year or so, over 30 containers have made their way across the Atlantic with 7 different Furniture projects involved. For more info`, see

This week’s bulletin profiles, Re-JIG, a recycling organisation that covers the islands of Jura and Islay. Re-Jig’s aim is to improve the environment of the Islands, and to achieve this they service the islands recycling banks and are involved in awareness-raising activities. Recently, they received £23k from the INCREASE Programme to upgrade its current `can baling` facilities and improve storage capacity. Collecting from the bring-sites around the island, recyclables are baled and sent off the island to be reprocessed. Income to the project is from contract agreements from Argyll & Bute council.  They are currently actively looking to reduce transport costs that will assist with their sustainability (petrol over £1 per litre) by producing their own Biodiesel. For further info`, see

Douglas Dunn was born in 1942 in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire and is now Professor of English at St. Andrews University. In his collection Terry Street, he observes life in a street in Hull where he stayed as a student. I like this one, ` A removal from Terry Street`.
‘ On a squeaking cart, they push the usual stuff. A mattress, bed ends, cups, carpets, chairs, four paperback westerns. Two whistling youths in surplus U.S. Army battle jackets remove their sister’s goods. Her husband follows, carrying on his shoulders the son whose mischief we are glad to see removed, and pushing, of all things, a lawnmower. There is no grass in Terry Street. The worms come up cracks in the concrete yards in moonlight. That man, I wish him well. I wish him grass.’

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

Best wishes,