Senscot Bulletin: 4.12.15

Dear members and friends,


Diana Athill (she pronounces it Ath-ill) is 98 and has published another book of memoirs – amazing energy.  I’m a sucker for such books – have a whole shelf of them – but I have no patience with phonies – who pretend their whole life was planned; Athill has had a refreshingly chaotic life!


Eric Erikson (1902 – 1994) was a psychologist best known for his ‘lifespan’ model of human development; he observed that at different ages – people encounter specific developmental tasks – which he described.  Old age, he said, is about reviewing and coming to terms with our life – and thereby with the end of life.  Success in this task enables a person to feel closure and completeness – but those who deem their life a failure can become bitter and depressed.


At Harvard in the 1960s, Erikson taught a popular course on his theories – in which he included Ingmar Bergman’s classic film Wild Strawberries.  The film traces a single long day in the life of Dr Isak Borg – an old man trying to make sense of his past – including pervasive feelings of regret.  The film’s striking insight is that, with the wisdom of maturity, old people can invent a new understanding and acceptance of their memories.  Bergman doesn’t do ‘feel good’ films – regret and shame remain – but by its end there is some overall coherence – some redemption.  Borg comes to accept his life, regrets and all, as ‘his own’ – a human life, deeply connected to humankind.


I sense that Athill has progressed further than myself towards this self-acceptance – but perhaps when I’m 98…..




While Daesh must be stopped – I believe the decision to bomb Syria is a mistake – too many moving parts. The stories their movement tells to recruit the young must be powerful; the death of innocent civilians from our bombs can only help their cause. I realise this week that I have underestimated how scared the British establishment is of Jeremy Corbyn; his refusal to play by their rules attracts rage. I`m particularly hacked off with the attitude of the Guardian newspaper; it’s disrespect for Corbyn’s grassroots support, reminds me of how Labour lost Scotland – arrogance. Sam Kriss thinks Hilary Benn is a chancer.


When a local community has been able to significantly improve/regenerate itself – there will usually be some local organisation at the heart of it. These ‘anchor’ organisations bring the leadership – the confidence and competence to hold property, run businesses etc ; and, being local, carry the trust to unite their community. The best explanatory think piece about these organisations has been published by James Henderson – a research associate with ‘What Works Scotland’. His paper is called ‘Community Anchors and Opportunities for Community-led Public Service Reform’.
Despite sustained interrogation from academics of the right – Thomas Piketty’s book ‘Capitalism’ remains highly influential; but it was still a surprise recently when global financial services firm Morgan Stanley published a weighty report supporting Piketty’s main thesis. World consensus is growing that protracted inequality is bad for everyone – the rich as well as the poor.

Kevin McKenna is a Celtic supporter – and an unusually honest journalist – because his Sunday column was a highly critical piece about the club he loves. How, he asks, could an organisation, created specifically to support the poor of Glasgow’s east end – drift so far from its founding principles that it resists paying its staff the living wage,. I find the private sector exciting and challenging. Most of my relatives proudly run catering establishments which bring colour and vibrancy to our cities. But certain services – like looking after toddlers and old folk – are not suited to profit – need to be protected from aspects of the market economy – should be social enterprises. Football clubs are rightfully the domain of their supporters and they too need to be asset locked beyond the reach of the carpetbaggers.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Glasgow Wood Recycling, CVS Inverclyde, Crossreach, The Pitstop, Stepping Stones for Families, Social Enterprise Academy, New Caledonian Woodlands, Queensferry Sports and Community Hub
EVENTS: Portobello Market at Christmas, 5th Dec, Film Screenings with Cinema for All – Bliss (16+) Women Only, 8th Dec;  Orlando, 10th Dec; Aladdin, 20th Dec; Media Training, 21st Jan;
 TENDERS: Business Consultancy Framework – Scottish Borders Council, Digital Development Framework – Zero Waste Scotland, Environmental Maintenance Contract 2016-2019 – Cassiltoun Housing Association Ltd. and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.


The SENs Weekly Update: Kim writes: This week, Audit Scotland published a new report – Health and Social Care Integration – reviewing the progress made to establish new integration authorities (IAs), which will be responsible for planning joint health and social care services and managing budgets totalling over £8 billion from April 2016. While all 31 IAs are expected to be operational by April, the report states that significant risks must be addressed if integration is to provide the substantial changes needed to health and social care provision in Scotland. Senscot is a member of the Health and Social Care Third Sector Advisory Group which has released a press release welcoming the report. The Advisory Group is keen to build on this as the voluntary, community, social enterprise and housing sectors are all well placed to develop and deliver the community-based and preventative solutions that integration requires. Email  if you are interested in participating in future discussions.


Over recent years, Scottish Govt has been keen to encourage third sector organisations to play a greater role in public service delivery – with specific legislation being introduced to help facilitate this. Whilst the intention of Govt – and John Swinney in particular – seems genuine, it seems local authorities are taking contrasting approaches to this. North Lanarkshire Council has recently awarded a £500k contract to Alloa Community Enterprises. Yet, in Argyll & Bute, the Council is proposing to take recycling services ‘in-house’ – in spite of the service being delivered successfully over the last 10 years by Fyne Futures; Rejig; and Kintyre Recycling. Whilst many SEs see access to public sector contracts as a route to sustainability and independence – the Argyll and Bute story is a timely reminder of who holds the aces.


We’re all watching the Paris Climate Change Conference – but with little expectation that something decisive will emerge. Our levels of consumption need to be reduced, and no one’s prepared to go there – so there is much hypocrisy; Frankie Boyle captures this:" Many of you will be reading this on a tablet made by a Chinese teenager using rare metals that an African child has scraped off the side of a hill with a spoon, then sent halfway round the world to you so you can smugly talk about how little paper you now use."


Last week’s SE UK Awards saw Instant Neighbour pick up the Environmental SE of the Year Award. Congratulations to Sophy and all the team in Aberdeen and the ‘Shire.


With Christmas looming up, it’s a good time to support many of our consumer-facing social enterprises who
provide a range of products that could fit the bill both as good pressies as well as ensuring that your money goes in the right direction. Run Native already lists a range of SE products available and, this week, we hear that Social Investment Scotland (SIS) has also set up a Christmas ‘micro-site’ – Ethical Christmas – to encourage folk to buy ethically. Before hitting your High Street, it’s worth having a look at both sites.


This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Glasgow providing assistance and support for people with learning disabilities. Based in Castlemilk, Fair Deal works alongside people who use its support, to help them have the kind of life they want and, importantly, in valuing people with learning disabilities as active citizens. Fair Deal was established 25 years ago by a group of parents who wanted to bring change and break new ground in relation to service design and delivery for people with learning disabilities. This work continues to be what Fair Deal seeks to do with the full involvement of people who use its support and services as well as parents and carers. 


The discussion was about recruiting suitable candidates for child psychotherapy training; a retired therapist said – we must recruit people who show the potential to be able to talk about rage and shame. I was reminded of this quote from American writer Anne Lamott.

          “But you can’t get to any truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home”.


That’s all for this week.    


Best wishes,




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