Senscot Bulletin No. 533, Friday 9th July 2010

Dear members and friends,

When I was in Spain recently, my aunt (my mother’s sister) died at the age of 95 – I was pleased to be back in time for the funeral last Thursday. My aunts and uncles, on both sides, were born in Italy and brought to Scotland as young children around 1920. She was the last of that generation – the closing of a chapter.
 The Di Ciaccas had three girls, three boys and three chip shops on Shettleston Road in Glasgow. My mum was the oldest – produced the first grandchildren – my sister and me. When she died we were still wee – her family opened their hearts and their lives to us – I never had the slightest doubt of my welcome in their world. From 1934 till 2004 – 70 years – they lived in a simple house at 19 Fleet Street, Sandyhills; a constant in my life – of love and support. My mum’s mum was huge in my life.
 My aunt’s parish was St Paul’s, Shettleston – after the service and the cemetery, we assembled in my cousin’s restaurant in Bothwell. When I’m at clan gatherings, I seek out the old-timers – urge them to recount family stories. But this gets increasingly difficult – hardly anyone there on Thursday older than me – young cousins now ask me to repeat stories about their grandparents. Wee Marco (about eight) asks if I was in prison during the war for being Italian. Explain I was too young – and was born in Scotland. He looked disappointed: ”Are you not a real Italian?”

Some communities-exasperated by decades of Labour municipalism -can see the potential of this Big Society thing. Although there’s not much detail yet, Cameron regards this as his legacy-watch this space. The early commitment-to train 5000 community organisers- was bold-how/if this specific promise develops will be a good indicator of intent. If these new troops are recruited from among local people – and work directly for local anchor organisations-then this could be radical. If it’s handed to the professionals it’s mostly irrelevant-the community development profession was subsumed by the state years ago. It will be interesting to observe if the Coalition understands this. In Scotland, I expect our Govt. to simply ignore Big Society – community empowerment has failed to find a political patron up here – but in spite of devolution, we’ll catch some slipstream from England. For a start, our community sector needs to be in the same dept. of govt. as
the rest of the Third Sector – instead of being ‘naebody’s bairn’ over with the housing regulator.

Senscot keeps a watching brief on various themes which we sense have the potential to contribute to a future, more mutualised economy.  We believe that Land Trusts have this potential in the housing field, as do Community Share Issues for community enterprise.  I’ll be attending a seminar in London on Thursday called ‘Taking Ownership Local’ to improve my understanding.  That’s the first day of the Open Golf – so I must be keen.  See both,

Based on a basket of goods and services – considered necessary to participate fully in society – the Joseph Rowntree Foundation produces a very useful Minimum Income Standards (MIS) for the UK.  This has just been updated for 2010 and it assesses MIS for a single working person at £14,437 per annum (£7.38 per hour).  For a couple with children, the assessment is £29,731 (only one working needs to earn around £15 per hour). 2010 basic ‘out of work’ benefits provide less than half MIS for singles and about two thirds for families with children.  See summary.  See more,

Within the past week, 3 different Westminster Govt. Depts have introduced the notion of payment by results – services for offenders – children’s services – overseas development – more in the pipeline. This, of course, is a very worrying trend – favouring the ‘Big Boys’ who can afford to fund contracts up front.  As Martin Sime (SCVO) argues in this piece – it also fundamentally changes the relationship between the Third Sector and the state in a very disempowering way.  See

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: Stepping Stones for Families, NVA, St Peter’s Edinburgh, The Advocacy Project, Loanhead Church of Scotland, Scottish Throughcare & Aftercare Forum, Genetic Alliance UK, The Big Issue in Scotland Magazine, Challenges Worldwide
EVENTS: More Than Furniture 2010, 24 Jul; Realising Potential – next steps for social enterprise in Scotland, 2 Sep; Understanding Social Enterprise, 9 Sep; The Facilitative Manager, 17 Sep,
TENDERS: School Transport and Local Bus Services, Provision of Timber Sheet Materials, Provision of ICT training & consultancy, Fostering Placements, Provision of Coaching Skills, Recycling of Waste, Educational resource to support Adults with Incapacity and Adult Support Protection (Scotland) Acts

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: continues to grow with over 200 social enterprises now registered. Almost 400 contracts have been posted to date – with 50 currently live. The introduction of Community Benefit Clauses in public sector contracts is now attracting the interest of private sector companies. This week alone, Senscot has been approached by 3 private sector companies keen to do business with those registered. If Scottish Government were to demand the inclusion of Community Benefit Clauses in public sector contracts across the board, it would level the playing field immediately. In England, moves are afoot to do just that. Let’s hope we don’t lose ground on this issue up here in Scotland.  See more,  For more Networks News,

Early bird discounts (£99) for CEiS’s Event – Realising Potential: next steps for social enterprise – close TODAY (9th July). The event takes place on Thursday 2nd September at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
See more

Firstport awardee, Victoria Lee has been shortlisted as a Scottish finalist for Britain’s Best New Business Awards for 2010. Victoria’s social enterprise, Glitter Beach, has launched a branded range of designer universal & Ostomy swimwear and beachwear. See more

Last month’s news on the UK’s first social enterprise hotel in Inverness has caught the attention of the UK media. The initiative is being led by Albyn Housing Association and the Calman Trust and is based on the highly successful Art & Woonhotel in Rotterdam. The four star hotel will have 100 rooms, a cafe and restaurant and will create numerous opportunities for some of the areas most vulnerable young people. See more,

The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC) has launched their search for a photographer to capture the work of social enterprises and the communities with whom they work. The successful snapper will receive a £1,800 bursary, sponsored by Unity Trust Bank.  See more,

This week’s bulletin profiles the Destiny Centre on Pollockshaws Road in Glasgow. The Grade B listed building offers a choice of rooms with a capacity from 10 to 400 for events, meetings and conferences. They also offer a range of business services. As a social enterprise, the Destiny Centre channels funds to support a number of community initiatives run by the Centre and the Destiny Foundation. One such initiative is Destiny Angels that provides a signposting service to specialist agencies in the local area. For more see

‘Loving is Eternal Innocence’ by Alberto Caeiro.

”I believe in the world like I believe in a marigold, because I see it. But I don’t think about it – because to think is not to understand…… The world was not made for us to think about – but for us to look at and agree with ….. I don’t have a philosophy: I have senses…. If I talk about Nature, it’s not because I know what it is, but because I love it – and the reason I love it is because when you love you never know what you love, or why you love, or what loving is…. Loving is eternal innocence, and the only innocence is not thinking…….”

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

Best wishes,


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