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SENSCOT WEEKLY BULLETIN THE SENs LINKS

13 Jan 2017

While he was Chancellor, Gordon Brown connived with investment bankers to punt the UK social economy as a new ‘asset class’ for the money markets – one of his crudest blunders; as Muhammad Yunus wrote: ‘common decency should forbid us to make a profit from the suffering of our fellow human beings’. To our credit, the third sector comprehensively shunned Brown’s model – but the money lenders stuck around – concocting ‘snake oil’ products like ‘impact investing’. This pieceis about performer-turned-activist Bono – and a bunch of self-made celebrity billionaires – promoting a new impact fund; along with good dividends, it promises improved measurement of how your profit helps the poor; no one appears to find this embarrassing

As our public and third sectors run out of money, these private sector encroachments will increase – swashbuckling privateers (with great media savvy) arriving to show us how it’s done. In the longer term it doesn’t really matter – they’ll come and go; because the core operating system which sustains our society is deeper embedded; a great coral reef of goodwill – millions of individual acts of kindness – thousands of local initiatives of every shape, size and duration – discharging their life-giving plankton to the open sea. 

When we are really listening – from an inner stillness – we can discern this energy out there: ordinary people who want to come together, to challenge injustice – make a better world. There is no need to force events – because this is an innate human impulse – always will be.

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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.


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The SENs: Friday 13th January 2017

Last Friday, the £9.7m Social Economy Development Programme was launched. The Social Economy Growth Fund and the Social Innovation Challenge Fund are both being managed by SG Third Sector Unit. In addition to this the Aspiring Communities Fund (£19m) will be launched later this month. The funds totalling almost £30m will be widely welcomed across the sector - with all being match-funded at source – which means no requirement for third sector organisations to provide their own match funding. One note of caution, however, is that concerns have been raised with Govt re the Cost Model being applied which means staff must work 100% on the project, see more. Scottish Govt will be running hands-on sessions for applicants to help with any questions about application forms, including working out project costs etc. We’ll will keep you updated over the coming weeks.

The Community Learning Exchange Programme run by Scottish Community Alliance has proved very popular with SEN members. Over 70 SEN members have participated in Exchanges from Elgin to Liverpool and from Fife to Oban. The good news is that funds are still available for visits taking place up until the end of June 2017 - as long as applications are in by end of March. For info, contact Kim.

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