Senscot Bulletin 31-10-2003



Dear members and friends,


Thanks for the enquiries about my health.  It’s two months since my op. and to be
honest it’s taking longer than I thought to mend.  Neck surgery is a bigger deal than I realised.  Some days I get discouraged but mostly I’m
grateful that the operation seems to have been a success.

Wednesday – in Giulianos for a spag – reading paper – young woman, thirtyish,
greets me smiling.  “Remember me? –
Leslie – I worked in the Cafe in Wester Hailes”.  I think back 15 years – a school refuser – tough family – plenty
spirit.  But this is a confident,
polished woman.  “I’m waiting for Nico”
– invite her to sit.  She tells me she
lives in Italy – visited Bergamo in 1994 – decided to stay.  Nanny for a posh family ‘til she learnt the
language.  Works for a bank.  Nico arrives – Leslie bursts into the most
beautiful Italian.  Her whole body
language – head – shoulders – arms – hands – become Italian.  It’s a vital radiant transformation.  She must have a marvellous ear.  Speaks perfect schemie Scots – perfect
Toscano Italian.  Leslie’s story cheers
me up but as I leave I’m cornered by Maureen – a very negative blether.  “Have you not been well?” – “I’ve had major
surgery on my neck – it’s set me back a bit” – “As soon as I saw you I thought
you looked older”.  She looks
delighted.  I smile venomously.  Outside the sudden cold cuts through
me.  In the car Judy Garland is singing
Ira Gershwin’s, ‘The Man That Got Away’. 
“The days grow colder and suddenly you’re older”.



Senscot Bulletin No.69 in March 2001 said, “Jackie Baillie
confirmed that the (twice delayed) Review of the Social Economy is now underway
and that there will soon be an announcement of a package of measures to support
social enterprises”.  Two and a half
years later – still awaiting ‘the package’ – it would be easy to conclude that
our sector is not very effectively organised.

Down in London Monday for UnLTD
Board meeting was further confirmation that Scotland is falling even further
behind in the development of social enterprises. The DTI Social Enterprise Unit
has published its first progress report (
and everyone I spoke to says the sector is ‘jumping’.  The Capital Adventure Fund (not Scotland) is in its second phase
and has attracted over 1000 initial approaches for around 40 investments.



Round three of the DTIs Phoenix Fund (not Scotland) is to be
channelled through English CDFIs to entrepreneurs in disadvantaged areas.  (Have a look at Social Firms UK’s Franchising
Proposals which got over £800K from the Building on the Best Programme) (   The Phoenix Fund has invested £30 million
in the last 18 months so the Scottish Executive will have received £3 million
in consequential payments.  Does anyone
in Scotland know where this is being spent?



In England the new Futurebuilders Fund will soon become the
main ‘Engine House’ of social enterprise development and right now the Treasury
is presiding (in a high handed manner) over the competition for its
management.  Our spies tell us that the
‘favourite’ consortium comprises – Charity Bank – NCVO – Community Fund – Unity
Bank.  It will be an important decision
for the Scottish Executive who manages Scottish Futurebuilders.  We can assume that all the usual suspects
are on the phone to each other.  More on
this at our conference.



Until recently the Scottish Labour Party could rely on the
electoral support of the Left and particularly from working people: “I was born
Labour and intend to die Labour” was the automatic, if nostalgic response.  This is changing.  Bob Thomson, former Chairman and Treasurer of the Scottish Labour
Party wrote to The Herald last week, “I have been a member of the Labour Party
for 41 years and held positions at branch constituency, Scottish and UK
level.  The sad fact is that half of the
activists have left the Party.  Branch
and constituency parties are inquorate or moribund.  The Labour Party is on its last legs as a genuine democratic
party controlled by its members”.  If
Bob is correct then we are living through the ‘meltdown’ of one of the most
powerful institutions in Scottish Civic Life. 
The future belongs to those who can discern what’s coming next.



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


JOBS: 20 vacancies, including posts at the Wise Group,
Friends of the Earth Scotland, Craigmillar Community Arts, Engender, British
Red Cross, YMCA Scotland, East Kilbride Women’s Aid, SCVO.


EVENTS: ‘Social Firms Successes’, Glasgow, Nov 7;
Community Enterprise Lochaber conf, Strontian, Nov 15; Scottish Federation of
Housing Associations conf, Edinburgh, Nov 19; 
‘Toward a Confident Scotland’ conf, Glasgow, 24th Nov; ‘Finance for
Growth’ events for Forth Valley soc ent, Nov 25; “Finding Hidden Profit” event,
Edinburgh,December 4; ‘Radio Morning’ on community radio & cultural
development, Glasgow, Dec 9. Glasgow CVS training courses, Glasgow, December
10, Jan 14.


The 2003 Enterprising Solutions Awards took place this week.
Winners were Pack-IT Product Promotions, from Cardiff.


For details on these and more:



Saw advert in the weekend press for Communities Scotland’s
new chief executive. Hope they find someone who understands regeneration. Also
hear on the grapevine that Heather Koronka has accepted the offer of a sideways
move into the Executive, and that from December Regeneration’s head will be Ian
Mitchell. Senscot would like to thank Heather for her encouragement and wish
her well in her next role.



The Senscot Conference on the 19th November is
technically full – but last year 26 folk didn’t show so we will continue to
‘overbook’ for a while.  Next week Emma
will send everyone a confirmation note with final programme – if you are not
going to use your booking please tell us.



In recent weeks, Senscot has had a number of requests for
information on social enterprises operating under the same roof, in the form of
a cluster.  This weeks bulletin profiles
one of the country’s first and most successful such enterprises.  The Albion Trust opened Norton Park in 1998,
providing high quality office accommodation for 30 organisations who employ
approx.300 staff.  The Trust is now
looking at new projects that will be financially sustainable without relying on
continued grant funding.  These include
a conference centre, a LETS scheme, further office accommodation in the West
and a furniture recycling service.  For
further info’, see
(Project Profiles at



When Kevin Halfpenny was discovered by accident in 1956, he
was being raised in a hen house in Broclough, County Down.  When he was found, aged seven, he weighed
only two stone – his height a mere 30 inches. 
Owing to lack of sunlight, he suffered from rickets – could barely stand
unassisted.  The sister who admitted him
into care at the time related how he could not speak – perched on his bed he
cawed like a hen.  At the time Seamus
Heaney was moved to write a poem about this little hen house boy.  It’s called, “Bye Child” and I read it for
the first time recently.

dry smells from the scraps she put through your trapdoor morning and
evening.  After those footsteps silence;
vigils, solitudes, fasts, un-christened tears, a puzzled love of the
light”.  This last phrase in particular
has stayed with me all week.  “A puzzled
love of the light” – makes me sad, that like this wee feral child with his ‘eye
to a chink’, we can only glimpse a longed-for brightness.  You can read ‘Bye Child’ here.  (


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

Best wishes,



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