Dear members and friends,
The Thatcher revolution of the 1980s –nothing less than a revolution – introduced some necessary economic reforms – but her policies were divisive, and promoted a culture of selfishness and greed. There is still no serious political challenge to the economic liberalism which she championed; and the greed just gets worse. From the right wing media one could easily get the idea that there is no alternative to the present order – but this is not so. We don’t see signs of civil unrest but studies show that young people are voting with their feet – increasingly looking for work which delivers social benefit – makes a difference. Even at Harvard Business School, 40% of students now take the social enterprise course; are we seeing a reaction to the moral vacuum in human affairs.
This is not intended as a good guy/bad guy narrative – just the recognition of different cultures and lifestyles. Some will be attracted to the cut and thrust of business – others are drawn to grapple with issues of social justice. One senses, particularly in Scotland, the will to establish a fairer and more equal society than Thatcher envisaged. In his poem, ‘God’s Grandeur’, Gerard Manley Hopkins celebrates nature’s inexhaustible capacity to renew itself (see end piece). I often think of the line: “There lives the dearest freshness deep down in things”. I like to equate this with humankind – each new generation sprouting with fresh hope and generosity. You’ll gather that I’m an optimist – waiting for the break of a new day.
Senscot is inviting financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin. Traditionally, circa 100 individuals give an average of £25 to become full company members. Senscot’s board is elected by – and is accountable to these members. We also invite donations from individuals or organisations who simply want to support what we do. To join or to donate, see http://www.senscot.net/members.php . An invoice can be supplied on request. See this year’s list – so far, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers14.php
On Jan 10 we linked to an article by Prof. David Donnison in Scottish Review – which attracted 450 hits – four times our normal traffic, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=16516. In this piece Donnison asks himself – which aspects of the Scottish political culture – precious to him – are significantly different to England; he offers a telling example. I also enjoyed Iain MacWhirter’s Herald piece at the weekend on a similar theme; he says Scots are neither better nor worse than the English – we are the same; but our political cultures are worlds apart. He asks whether – in a UK dominated by London – the Scots will have enough freedom to develop our own brand of social democracy. Not an easy question he says. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16588.
Dr Harry Burns, who is standing down as Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer – will be missed by all in our sector whose work is concerned with the effects of poverty. He has been an outspoken critic of Scotland’s shameful health inequality – linking it directly to the entrenched poverty and inequality in our society. Harry Burns also understood the importance of involving communities directly in addressing health problems. We wish him well in his new role at Strathclyde Yooni. See, https://senscot.net/docs/SirHarryBurns.docx
I’ve got the coffee down to one weak cup first thing in the morning – and the arrhythmia has gone. To sever this final link – I’ve been looking for recent research confirming how harmful coffee is; instead a highly esteemed regular reader sends this research from the Harvard Medical Publication, extolling coffee’s many health benefits. Get thou behind me Satan. See, https://senscot.net/docs/coffee.doc
In 1961, the three Robertson sisters Elspeth, Agnes and Ethel, got fed up with hostile bids for the family whisky firm; so they concocted an innovative governance model and gifted the company to a charitable trust. Since then the profits of the Edrington Group – brands like The Famous Grouse – the Macallan – Highland Park etc – all go to support community organisations across Scotland. Isn’t that a marvelous story. The Robertson Trust currently invests around £15m each year in Scotland’s social infrastructure.
Enjoyed Rolling Stone’s cover story about Pope Francis – and his quiet revolution. His teaching about poverty and wealth has angered the American right wing Republicans – who must be the greediest people on earth. Gaun yersel’, Frankie. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16586
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php this week:
JOBS: Ullapool Community Trust, LGBT Health and Wellbeing, Good Morning Service,
EVENTS: Portobello Market, 1 Feb; Read, Relax, Recharge, 6 Feb; SME & Social Enterprise Sales Workshop, 11 Feb;
TENDERS: StreetGames Scotland Events 2014; Tender for the Design & Build of Carnoustie Skatepark – Angus Council; Supply and Delivery of Fruit, Vegetables etc – Glasgow City Council; Homeless Persons Unit-Blackburn – West Lothian Council. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group http://tinyurl.com/7ltz7oz and follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/RdyForBusiness.
The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes: Internationally, Scotland is seen by many as a leading light in the support and development of SE. One example has been through Scottish Govt`s International Social Enterprise Fund which has supported 5 Scottish-based SEs – the Homeless World Cup; International Network of Street Papers (INSP); Assist Social Capital; Challenges Worldwide; and the SE World Forum. This week, they published a discussion document – sketching out the potential for International SE Strategy for Scotland – see http://www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=1329. Scottish Govt says it will consider and act on ideas that arise. If Scotland can have an International SE Strategy in place, is it not time for one in Scotland? For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=331.
The Sports SEN conference – “SE & Sport – Inspiring our Leaders” – is filling up fast. This will be a great opportunity for inspiration, learning and networking for both established and aspiring sports related social enterprises that range from community sports facilities to sports clubs: from outdoor activities providers to social entrepreneurs – all looking to make a difference through sport. For more information and to book your place, see http://www.senscot.net/sportconf14.php
I’m sure you will be aware of the ‘Big Sell-Off’ next Friday (7th Feb) when a group of well-kent faces will be selling the Big Issue on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Here`s link to the faces – some very familiar to you – as well as how to give your support. See, http://www.street-papers.org/the-big-sell-off
Dundee SEN is now able to provide funds up to £5000 to help new and fledgling social enterprises in the city. This is the result of a considerable donation from the John Sharp Benevolent Trust – see https://senscot.net/?viewid=15969 . Closing date for the first round is 9 am, Friday 28th Feb 2014. For entry forms, www.dundeesen.org or for further advice or support, contact Jessie Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org . Another new initiative announced this week is the extension of Firstport’s Ditto programme in Dundee and Fife. The roll out of the programme is being supported by Resilient Scotland. See press release, http://www.senscot.net/docs/Dittopressrelease.docx
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Falkirk looking to make a difference in its local community Forth Valley Enterprise C.I.C. was established in 2012 with the aim of developing and managing a number of services and projects, which will benefit the local community of Falkirk and surrounding areas. The first two services established are a Community Cafe – Gingerbread Café – and an Outside Catering service – both offer training and employment opportunities to local people. For more, see
God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; it gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; and all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; and wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent; there lives the dearest freshness deep down things; and though the last lights off the black West went – oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs— because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210