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21 Jul 2017

Watching the film ‘To Sir with Love’ on Sunday – I was surprised how much it affected me.  Made in 1967, it’s about Sidney Poitier as a temporary teacher in a rough London East End school; most of the kids, already switched off from education, amuse themselves tormenting staff.  Poitier’s calm respectful manner – the dignity he offers and expects from his class, gradually wins them over.  While it wouldn’t stand serious critique, the film made me cry; 50 years ago it probably influenced where I chose to work.

            In my twenties I became a detached youth worker with an exciting group of young men in notorious street gangs; they were violent, unstable and frankly scary – I don’t know what I was supposed to be doing.  I was freelance, untrained and unsupervised; it was a stupid and reckless thing to do and I got what I deserved – a rude awakening. Some 'sair' memories from that period, but there were things I needed to learn - and some of us can only learn the hard way.

            'To Sir with Love' is a beautifully acted story about an extraordinary individual - an idealised hero; that's what I wanted to be - a famous champion on behalf of disadvantaged young people. But in real life, heroic do-gooders tend to be self-absorbed - take themselves too seriously; lack of accountability and burnout are problems. Genuine social progress happens through millions of daily acts of goodwill, by ordinary people - boring, mundane, consistent. Beware the fevered exploits of would-be heroes.



Jeremy Corbyn has reset the Labour party back to its true values - has greatly expanded membership - his manifesto, ending austerity, has wide popular support; the Tories are right to be afraid that the man they mocked may have become electable. Social policies cost money - Corbyn carries...Read more

The SENs is the name Senscot gives to our work with Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) - both thematic and geographical. SENs provide members with opportunities for peer support, collective action and market development. The vision is of a growing community of 500 frontline social enterprises across Scotland - connected and energised through a network of Networks.

Visit the new website here

The SENs: Friday 21st July 2017

The Scottish Government has announced that public bodies in Scotland will be required to put reducing poverty and inequality at the heart of their decision making, the first government in the UK to commit to such a pledge. Once implemented, it will mean bodies like councils and the NHS must consider what more they can do to reduce poverty and inequality, whenever they make major decisions. A consultation will ask which public bodies should be subject to the duty and what they need to do to demonstrate they are carrying it out. Read the full Scottish Government press release here


September’s Social Enterprise Policy & Practice Conference hosted by CEIS will see the Scottish Government unveil the Social Enterprise Census 2017, shining a light on the state of SE across Scotland. The census steering group will be present to initiate and lead a discussion about the issues behind the data, current trends and how the findings should inform national policy. Delegates will then have the opportunity to participate in an interactive session on the research as well as break-out sessions and networking opportunities. Early bird tickets are available at a reduced price of £99 plus VAT for SEs. See here for more information and how to book your place.


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