SENSCOT MEMBERS’ BULLETIN No. 163, FRIDAY 31st JANUARY 2003
Dear Members and friends,
An accountant friend from the west has introduced me to one of his clients: ‘He’s turned 70 – he made his pile – £15 million – wants to give something back’. I’m being lunched by the potential philanthropist in a new Italian designer restaurant in Glasgow. But it’s a waste of time – he’s not listening – cold eyes – getting more and more irritated by his self-inflated monologue. Escape to toilet. In wee back office spot an old friend Piero doing VAT returns. We go back 20 years. This must be his place. Talk for 5 mins with genuine pleasure about other times, other people. ‘Well, I’d better get back’. Tell him about my egotistical host. ‘He has no respect you, Lorenzo?’
Back at the table, monologue continues unabated. Now he’s on about his house in Barbados – switch off. Notice Piero entering the room – moves slowly through his restaurant – chatting to tables – white buttonhole – every inch ‘il padrone’. Stops in front of me – excited ‘Dio mio – Lorenzo?’ Is it you?’ embraces me like long-lost brother. ‘You do my restaurant a great honour.’ Nearly spoils it by overacting. Head Chef appears with spectacular salver of mixed fried fish: ‘Fritto misto speciale – complimenti’ Folk are looking round and wondering if I’m famous. Host is deflated – lunch is abbreviated – philanthropy is aborted – can’t win them all.
Never really felt that the term social economy was a very useful one. It’s all very well saying that there are 44,000 organisations, but what do they do – what do they have in common? The term social enterprise has enough definition to create a support structure – in England, within the Department of Trade and Industry. But Monday’s publication of the Executive’s Social Economy Policy Review fudges this issue – leaves overall responsibility with the Voluntary Issues Unit.
Waiting for over a year for this report, one felt that its non-appearance was somehow ‘in the way’ – holding up progress. Thankfully we’ve got it now and although there’s not much in it that’s new it sets the scene for the future positioning and growth of our sector in Scotland. In tone the report is addressed to ‘non-believers’ (perhaps the Scottish Cabinet?), and it convincingly makes the case that a dynamic social enterprise sector can help achieve government targets. The expansion of our sector into the delivery of public services has never been so explicitly invited. But this needs a full debate. There are clearly issues around independence.
Predictably, the report is thin on detail but when our MSPs return from the hustings, we can all help ‘colour it in’. In retrospect, I feel that the document lacks ‘soul’ – but then that’s not what civil servants ‘do’. Not at their work anyway.
Tom Sneddon, Chair of Development Trusts Association Scotland, phoned to say that pages 244/5 of the Scottish Cities Review recommends the introduction of development trusts to Scotland as locally-owned regeneration vehicles. Congratulations to Tom – this is the deepest reported penetration into this report by any network member.
Our Chair, Mel Young, is back from the World Economic Forum, which he attended as one of the 65 international social entrepreneurs recognised by the Schwab Foundation. Mel’s inspiration at the event came from Brazil’s new President Lula, who ‘spoke with compelling openness and humanity of a global fund to tackle world poverty. Mel thinks/hopes that Lula’s voice will have increasing influence in the world stage as a harbinger of hope. In contrast to the Bush/ Blair agenda of gloom – Iraq and economic downturn.
SCVO is looking for assistance in recruiting about 15 volunteer Mentors for a programme that is part of a leadership development programme aimed at social economy organisations in the west of Scotland. ‘Would any of your members be interested in being involved in this at all? further information on the programme: Lucia Dhliwayo, Tel: 0141 221 0030, email@example.com
Forth Valley Loan Advice Surgeries, for enterprising social economy organisations, Stirling – Fri 7 Feb, Falkirk – Thurs 13 Feb. FREE loan advice; opportunity to speak to panel of experienced business advisers about your current and future financial needs. The panel will included David Herd of Social Investment Scotland, Dave Howie of CEL and Bob Donaldson of The Royal Bank of Scotland. Tel Dave Howie 0131 475 2345 to arrange a time. More info www.communityenterprise.co.uk
Jewish and Muslim Peacemakers: talk by Eliyahu McLean and Ibrahim Abu El-Hawa, Friends Meeting House, Edinburgh, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh (0131 225 4825). Thurs 20 March 2003 7pm,doors open from 6.30pm. admission free, donations welcome, on a first come, first served, basis.
This week’s bulletin profiles a small, independent, charity in Edinburgh that receives no core funding and survives on income generated through commissions, classes, activities and events. Four Winds Inspiration Centre, uses a percentage of the City Council’s waste timber from the Dutch Elm Disease control programme, to create sculptures, benches etc for schools, playgrounds and gardens. This year they are offering over 60 Saturday classes in crafts, herbal, wilderness survival and earth skills – and a six – day course on wind turbine construction. Four Winds will also be hosting Edinburgh Treefest again this year – the 2-day community festival in Inverleith Park in June. For further information, see www.senscot.net (Project Profiles).
There’s an interesting article on partnerships in the latest New Start magazine. Will Cowburn argues they don’t live up to their rhetoric because they’re not really partnerships at all. http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/partnerships(24.01.03).asp
Member Simon Pia (Scotsman diarist) phoned to say that John le Carré’s son, Tim Cornwell, is working at the Scotsman just now and says that his dad was not in Spain over the new year (last week’s story). Although I’d made a fool of myself this cheered me up. I didn’t somehow fit that the creator of George Smiley could be ungracious.
Bit of a drama this week. On Tuesday my doctor phoned to say that result of blood sugar test is abnormally high – could I come in and see practise nurse. Wednesday, nurse confirms that reading of 13.8 indicates diabetes – my age indicates type 2. She takes me through the ropes – gives me voucher to buy blood sugar monitor. Go for long walk – think about this. My body seems to be in decline sooner than I’d hoped. Spend evening reading literature – failing to master new monitor – all a bit depressing. Thursday (yesterday) inform my workmates – a few friends. I’m impressed by my stoical, slightly heroic attitude.
Lunch time, doctor phones – terribly sorry – been a mistake – he gave me someone else’s result. Mine is normal. As a confirmed hypochondriac I’m familiar with being reprieved from imaginary illnesses, but today I’m left with the sense of how much of our lives is down to luck. Presumably, the doctor had to tell someone else that their result got mixed up. It’s a funny old life. What’s for you will not pass you.
That’s all for this week. Please keep your stories and your subs coming in.
If you would like to receive this bulletin directly, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.