Senscot Bulletin No. 540, Friday 27th August 2010

Dear members and friends,

Phone call from my cousin on Monday – telling that an old friend has died. Hadn’t seen him for years, but find myself quite shaken by the news. He was 7 years younger than me – his big brother was in my class at school – was my best friend for many years; but mainly through the golf and Powderhall dogs – we also came to know each other well – an easy relationship.  He was a warm and generous but private man, who knew what he felt passionate about – stuck to his guns.  When he applied himself to a new skill, he would take it to the highest levels – but you would never know this from his unassuming manner.  He loved to laugh a lot.
 Some of the most fond-remembered golf games in my life were at Ratho Park – in the long summer evenings of the late 1960s.  Me and my partner (sometimes my dad) – ‘mano a mano’ against the two brothers – some great battles.  There were occasions when we finished in the dark – car headlights trained on the last green; and the time when, in temper, he threw his putter up into a big tree – and it’s still there – and we laughed and laughed.  Life moves on and we need to move with it – but 40 years later I realise that we don’t meet that many truly genuine people – that when we do we should keep in touch.  But I’ve never been good at knowing how much friends mean to me – till they’re gone.

I applaud the climate change protesters who were camping this week outside the RBS HQ at Gogarburn; they came to alert us that the banks (we all own) are funding some of the most destructive fossil fuel projects in the world.  I no longer believe that our politicians have any intentions of reforming the banking system – too much money – too many rich and powerful people are involved.  The opportunity for radical change has passed – all they’re doing now is tinkering – trying to refurb the system we had before.  But millions of people – through their work and private lives – are doing their best to live sustainably and spread the world.  As it becomes increasingly clear to this growing army, that our democratic government is now subordinate to the banking and oil industries – I believe we shall see more direct citizen action.  I’m an optimist.

Dharmendra Kanani is leaving the Lottery after 6 years – a transfer to the England squad.  Lucy McTernan is leaving SCVO after a long shift – to head up Citizens Advice Scotland.  From its website, it appears there have been big changes at SIS – but no-one’s talking about that.   Changes in leadership provide a rare opportunity for organisations to change direction – nudge the tiller. Now would be a good time for the Scottish Third Sector to have an open debate – let in some fresh thinking.  But the culture of our world is too cautious and protective for this – we lack the vehicle for robust commentary. The Lottery, SCVO and SIS will each go into private conclave – then issue their carefully worded statements; and everything will simply carry on – polite, private, predictable.

The British Urban Regeneration Agency (BURA) announced this week that it is to go into voluntary liquidation – hopefully to be replaced before too long by a new streamlined version. Like community development – the regeneration world is dominated by the culture and language of the professionals. This article calls on the replacement body to be more attuned to ordinary citizens at the frontline – local people leading. See,

The number of people using payday loans (salary advances) has quadrupled in the last 4 years to 1.2miliion. At current rates of interest, if a £100 loan lasted a year the interest would amount to £400 – on top of the original £100. Here’s a short piece by Faisel Rahman which calls for partnership between mainstream banks and specialist social lenders. See,

Our old pal Andy Wightman – the intrepid land reform campaigner – has published a new book called "The Poor Had No Lawyers. Who Owns Scotland (and how they got it)". You can buy straight from the author. See,

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See . This week: 
JOBS: St Peter’s Edinburgh; Voluntary Arts Scotland; Wester Hailes Health Agency; Mayfield and Easthouses Youth 2000 Project; Gorgie City Farm; Gowrie Care Ltd; Turning Point Scotland
EVENTS: Next steps for social enterprise in Scotland, 2 Sep; Inspiration and Celebration, 8 Sep; Understanding Social Enterprise, 9 Sep; EVOLVE workshops, 23 Sep; Another Lost Generation? 28 Sep;
TENDERS: ITT for an Advertising Campaign – Dundee; Ground Maintenance Contract; Window Cleaning Contract; Collection and Reprocessing of Dry Recyclables and Collection of Food Waste;

NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: Since the first Social Enterprise Network (Fife SEN) was set up in 2004, the   question of membership has always been a sensitive topic – who can and cannot join a Network. The truth is that the SENs are independent bodies – and can do as they see fit. But Senscot has tried to encourage an appropriate level of consistency. Our view is that initial membership should lie solely with existing or emerging social enterprises. Once this principle is established and the founding members have been able to establish the activity and culture of their Network, additional membership should be decided wholly at the discretion of the members themselves. By definition, this initially discounts Intermediary organisations. This approach was ratified at a SENs’ Reps meeting in Glasgow in 2007. However, we are aware of examples across the country where Intermediaries/support orgs have been invited to join SENs on the basis that they are moving towards becoming social enterprises; their support for the local social enterprise community; and the added value they can bring. For more Networks News, see

Senscot Legal Services (SLS) is now open for business. Led by Alan Dunipace, SLS has been set up to provide Scotland’s social enterprise community and wider third sector with accessible and affordable legal services. Alan has been out and about this week attending his first SEN meetings. If you’d like to contact Alan and find out more about our new service, you can reach Alan at . See more,

The RBS SE100 index is now entering its second year with a special focus on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The October edition of Social Enterprise Mag will carry a special feature on social enterprises in the three nations. Social enterprises that sign up by 10th Sept will receive a free three-month subscription to the Mag. See last year’s Scottish entrants,

The idea of living and working on a Scottish island may be your idea of heaven – or hell! There’s a chance to find out. The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust is advertising the post of Assistant Manager – Estates Maintenance. See,

One of the highlights of the Edinburgh Festival is the Arts by Offenders exhibition – including work from 14 Scottish prisons. This short piece by Erwin James (a former lifer) captures the transformative effect which creative activity can have on the life and outlook of individuals inside prison walls. See
This week’s bulletin profiles Shetland Arts – the leading arts agency in Shetland.  Founded in 2006, it brought together the work of two organisations whose collective histories provide Shetland Arts with a local, national and international reputation for arts development and delivery, built over 20 years of work and innovation. Today, they provide a year round programme of music, craft, theatre, literature, visual arts, dance and film events. As well as a successful consultancy service, next year will see them opening their new music, cinema and education venue. For more, see

The intelligent design that Albert Einstein saw in the universe shared no part of the mythology of established religions.  For Einstein, the designer created only the laws – from which all else inevitably follows – but he considered himself to be ‘religious’.
"My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we can comprehend of the knowable world.  That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the comprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.  How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology?  In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it."

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

Best wishes,


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