Senscot Bulletin: 31-08-2007

Dear members and friends,

I admire self made individuals – especially if they started from nothing – buccaneers who shape the world around them. Such a one is Tom, an old friend who was 80 on Wednesday. I love his stories – of childhood hardship – a communist grandfather – his rise to the top in a business that is not for the faint-hearted. His view of life has influenced my own. 70 of us surprised him in a restaurant – ‘happy birthday to you’. Very moving. If we can be measured by the warmth of friendship around us – he is a big man. Some of the folk at the party, I hadn’t seen for 10 or 20 years. You don’t half notice the passage of time.
 Some aspects of growing old puzzle me – there’s stuff I’d like to discuss – compare notes – but folk aren’t comfy. – “You’re not old,” they say – as though it’s kinder to pretend. Read recently that we should recognize age, not by the frailty of the body, but by the strength and creativity of the spirit. I like this – been checking for any signs of my own spiritual maturity. In Starbucks this week there’s a new young ‘barista’ so I give my order precisely: “a double shot in a medium cup with a small jug of hot water, separate.” “You mean an Americano,” he says. I repeat my order – “that’s an Americano,” he says. I supped Caffe Americanos in some of Europe’s great cafes before this lad was born but I smile sweetly, “as long as you give me what I ask for, you can call it what you like.” I think I’m mellowing
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Prior to the DTA conference last June, I heard a Glasgow Council official say, “Why would we support development trusts? They’re the opposition.” I recount this anecdote to illustrate that the prevailing local government culture in central Scotland is hostile to our work and I share the widespread unease in the sector at the prospect of Councils becoming the main source of enterprise support (see Pauline Hinchion’s letter in the current Good Company magazine:
 The problem for us supporters of decentralisation and local democracy is that we want power to pass from London to Scotland, and from the executive to local government – but how do we get councils to keep passing it down? The only enduring answer is for a movement from communities themselves – asserting how they want it to be. This is where the Local People Leading campaign is trying to go. Here’s some background: You can register on line as a supporter.

In a previous career I worked with youngsters who were getting into trouble, or generally struggling. So I’ve a fair idea of what’s real and what’s kidology in that field. Mighty impressed by visit to Kibble – important work – some of it at the frontier – making new connections. A driven, inspirational leader is a normal ingredient of successful innovation – and Kibble certainly has its social entrepreneur. This is a good interview with Graham Bell.

Following on from the success of last year’s conference, Assist Social Capital will be hosting their 2007 event at Gogarburn on 9th November. Supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, this year’s theme is Social Capital & Financial Inclusion’. Again they have managed to attract an impressive array of speakers from around the globe, including Professor Asif Dowla, expert on how the Grameen Bank uses social capital, and Professor Edgar Cahn, a former special counsel to Robert Kennedy. See link for more details and also the special offers and bursaries available:

The Executive finally announced this week that it is committing an extra £350k for business support to social enterprises. It will assist social enterprises so that they can then access mainstream business development support. The contract will run from November and is geared to offer support to social enterprises prior to accessing mainstream business development support. See

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See This week: 

JOBS: 40 vacancies, incl. posts with: Food For Thought Glasgow Ltd, Volunteer Centre Fife, Blake Stevenson Limited, Project Ability, Impact Arts, Forth Sector, Big Issue Invest,

EVENTS: 16 events, incl. It’s OH so Enterprising- Social Enterprise in the Outer Hebrides awareness day, 18-19 Sept; The Melting Pot Eco-Fit-Out party, Edinburgh, 18-28 Sept; Trusts, Statutory & Foundations Special Interest Group, Glasgow, 19 Sept; Developing Social Enterprise, Perth, 19 Sept; Understanding Risk Management, Edinburgh, 27 Sept; Social Enterprise Institute 7th Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 26th Oct.

New Scotland unLtd Sport Relief Awards programme is now up and running. The programme is specifically aimed at 11 – 21 year olds. For info’, see

Last call for the ‘Fit for Purpose’ event. Over 100 booked in already, so only a few places remain. If you want to attend, see The event is free of charge.

Event this week in Glasgow shared the findings of some groundbreaking social enterprise procurement initiatives that have been taking place in the West of Scotland. Two Public Social Partnerships (PSP) pilot projects in North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire have taken a radical approach to breaking down the barriers to social enterprises delivering public sector contracts. The pilots were co-ordinated respectively by CRNS and Renfrewshire CVS. For details, see 
This coincides with Equal’s relaunch of its Procurement Guide:

This week’s bulletin profiles a faith-based social enterprise, based in Lanarkshire, but also providing services in the east end of Glasgow. Beulah Scotland, founded in Wishaw in 1996, has pursued the social enterprise model so as to become a sustainable organisation and not reliant on grant funding. Their slogan is ‘putting people first’. Projects include Lanarkshire Furniture, East End Furniture, Compassionately Yours and Megabites Youth. Beulah also participated in the recent Public Social Partnership pilot co-ordinated by CRNS. For more, see

This extract is from the French Philosopher, E M Cioran, who has such a negative approach to life that it’s almost invigorating. I keep returning to this passage:
 “People without a destiny cannot give one to others. Having nothing to love at home, their children locate their love elsewhere, in other lands where their fervour astonishes the natives. But these aliens, who disperse themselves on so many highways of the world, exclaim: “I have set up countless idols for myself, I have knelt before a host of gods. Now, weary of worship, I have squandered my share of delirium. A soul – like a country, flourishes only within its frontiers. I am paying for having crossed them, for prostrating myself before ages which excluded my ancestors.”

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

Best wishes.

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Laurence’s book, ‘You’ve Got To Laugh’ is available See: