Senscot Bulletin: 31.10.14

Dear members and friends,

 The congregation of the church opposite my cottage has dwindled over the years to about a dozen – mostly my age. I’m often in the garden when they hobble out – they smile a lot – ‘the fellowship of the holy spirit’? Rose will be over 80 – bit of a toff – we’d have long consultations about plants. In August, Tom told me that Rose has moved into a residential care home – she asked him to give me the particulars – been on my mantelpiece till last week.
 The home is a private facility for 100 residents; ‘top end’ financially – like a boutique hotel. She receives me in a swish lounge area, with wee alcoves. We’re pleased to see each other – chat easily for a while – till Rose asks a passing attendant if we can have some coffee. He’s a young twenty something with a bad attitude: the coffee will come – he says – when it comes. This young squirt is deliberately putting Rose down; I feel embarrassed for her – angry with him – but decide it’s not my business.
 Overall, it was a good visit – but this incident stays with me – confirming my determination to live independently in my own space. I vow that I will ask nothing, expect nothing, depend on nothing except my own… but even as I write this – I know it’s nonsense. No matter how painful it is – we humans need each other; nor would we have it any other way – not really. The problem is that – the coffee will come when it comes – doesn’t work for me. I need a plan. 

This lively blog by Toby Blume picks up on the theme of CAN and Senscot ending our relationship with London based UnLtd. Our reason was/is that UnLtd promotes the notion of a ‘for profit’ social sector – which we consider to be fundamentally damaging to the general public’s understanding of the third sector – see, The £100m endowment which UnLtd manages – was intended by the Millennium Commission to provide awards for citizens to develop ideas of public benefit (I was a trustee when UnLtd won the endowment). According to its own stats: of the larger awards made by UnLtd, to applicants who are scaling up and require a legal structure, a third have no asset lock – being share companies or sole traders. We consider this to be unacceptable. The UnLtd website refutes these assertions.  See,

The most exhilarating aspect of our referendum campaign was that it involved ordinary citizens – professional politicians sidelined. It was back to earth with a bump this week with Johann Lamont’s bombshell; she has exposed a party, whose founding vision of human dignity, has been submerged in self-seeking feuds and rivalries. One wonders if there is the time (or will) to sort this – the latest polls are devastating. Senscot’s network support workers have been all over Scotland in recent weeks – all report exceptionally high levels of activity – civil society is jumpin’. But political parties and the mainstream media – seem to be increasingly off the pace. (Iain MacWhirter assesses ‘bruiser’ Murphy’s chances of rallying Scottish Labour). See,

An important series of articles about the future of the third sector – continues to be previewed by Civil Society News – the full collection will be published on November 10 as a book. This piece by Richard Bridge – argues that Local Councils need to stop trying to control everything – and respect the community sector’s independence. They need to completely re-imagine themselves from the role of gatekeeper to that of facilitator. When I worked at the front-line – this was the single biggest issue. See,

I’m enjoying the building backlash against the kind of Social Investment being promoted by the money markets – the growing acceptance that it is an alien culture of little relevance to the vast majority of our sector. Last week a trustee of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – called it a ‘passing fad’ – which few cared about – and neither did he. See, This fuller piece by David Ainsworth (Civil Society Mag) – asks if SI is good or bad for our sector. It’s not the kind of advertorial we’ve become accustomed to – some robust comment – but it’s still too generous? See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Children in Scotland, Queens Cross HA, Greener Leith, Remade in Edinburgh.
EVENTS: Aberdeen Investment Readiness Workshop, 6 Nov; Dundee Investment Readiness Workshop, 11 Nov; Advanced Leadership Practice, 18 Nov; Community Challenge Dragons’ Den, 21 Nov;
TENDERS: Multi Lot Landscaping projects, West Lothian Council; High Valleyfield Skate Park, Fife Council; Mental Health and Substance Misuse, West Lothian Council Independent Advocacy;
JOINT VENTURE: See new joint venture loan scheme between Unity Trust and Big Issue Invest.

SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Dundee City Council and Dundee SEN (
hosted its SE Conference in the city this week, entitled ‘Spotlight on Progress & Future Opportunities’.  An impressive turnout – over 100 delegates – heard a series of informative and entertaining presentations from Derek Marshall (Factory Skatepark); Dr Andrew Murray; Neil Mathieson (Atlantis Leisure); Simon Teasdale (Glasgow C.U) and Rick Rijsdijk (Social Value Lab). Rick also presented the findings of the newly published Mapping Report. Headlines include: 123 SEs; combined income of £91m; spending power of £83m; and total assets of £105m. See Report,
For more SENs News, see

The current consultation on a SE Strategy for Scotland has been extended till Friday 14th Nov. Please feel free to submit your thoughts on the consultation questions. Further consultations will be taking place over the coming weeks – including session at Senscot’s up and coming SE Conference and Ceilidh. Here’s link to survey –

Social Enterprise Scotland has announced the winners of their SE Awards 2014. There were five categories:
1) SE of the Year – Wasps Studios; 2) One to Watch – Lochbroom Woodfuels (Ullapool); 3) Prove It Social Impact – Cunninghame Housing Association – Citrus Energy (Ardrossan);4) Social Enterprise Market Builder – City of Edinburgh Council & Edinburgh SEN; 5) Inspiring Youth – Firstport (Beyond the Finish Line) and Ice-cream Architecture (Glasgow). Schools winner was Stonelaw High Fair Traders, Rutherglen.
Congratulations to all the winners. See,

News this week that the European Commission has now reached a ‘partnership agreement’ with the UK Govt for EU Structural Funds (2014-20). For Scotland, this will equate roughly to: 170m euros ‘Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility’; 136m euros for ‘Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and discrimination’; and 149m for ‘Investing in education, training, vocational training for skills and lifelong learning’ See,

This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Perthshire – Grippoz – that has developed a wheelchair rim cover with unique grip feature that will enable users to manoeuvre the chair more easily. Grippoz, a subsidiary of GrowBiz (, will be a community-owned business, providing training and employment opportunities for local young people and, in time, look to invest in further products for the disabled. As part of its launch, Grippoz will be running a Crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Their new product will be available for purchase in November. For more, see

Viktor E. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Here is a quote from his 1946 book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. (World sales of over six million).

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run-in the long-run, I say!-success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,


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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210