Networks1st Update: 20th March 2008

Last Friday 12 people made it along to the 2nd SEN Reps meeting, which took place at Community Central Hall in Maryhill Rd, Glasgow. The Reps heard Senscot’s plans for the £294,000 the Scottish Government has provided for Senscot’s role in supporting the Networks over the next 3 years. The inclusion of the Social Enterprise Networks in the new Enterprising Third Sector – Action Plan offers an excellent platform to work on from at a local and national level. However, there was some concern due to the lack of clarity over where funding for Network Admin/Facilitation might come from as the baton for the LSEPs moves from Communities Scotland to the Local Authorities. Colin mentioned that Senscot was working on a new Networks 1st web section which it is hoped will help build stronger links between the growing number of Social Enterprise Networks around the country The next meeting will be hosted by C-MEE in Alloa, on 12th of June 10.30-3.00 pm.This year’s Hisez conference took place on 13th March in Nairn at the fantastic Highland Conference Centre. Over 150 people turned out for a lively event that looked at how to grow social enterprises. While there were some really inspiring stories of social enterprises that might be able to grow to a significant size (such as the Highland Chocolate Company), I’d have to say there was a acceptance that not every social enterprise wants to take over the world and many would be quite happy just managing to make enough money to maintain the service they believe in for the benefit of their local communities.On Tuesday, I spent an interesting day in Haddington’s Town Hall at East lothian SEN’s Social Enterprise Conference. The event was organised to coincide with the launch of the Social Enterprise in East Lothian Network website (, and was opened by the Leader of East Lothian Council,Cllr. Dave Berry, who gave his emphatic endorsement of social enterprises working to benefit the community. The highlight of the day was the Dragon’s Den where the audience got the chance to pitch ideas for a £500 prize, won by the Penny Pit who wants to set up a social firm cafe/bakery similar to the Engine Shed in Edinburgh.Dumfries & Galloway SEN is the next to hold their annual conference on 26th March, in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland, to offer Dumfries & Galloway’s first Social Enterprise Conference & Trade Fair. This event is free to aspiring, emerging and mature/trading social enterprises. It is also open to Service Managers and related workers from local authority, health service and other similar agencies and the private sector who have responsibilities for purchasing and procurement and who would like to increase their understanding and knowledge of social enterprise to develop partnerships. Third Sector Social Enterprise Awareness Sessions : FREE events exploring the benefits of housing associations and social enterprises working together in Scotland Enterprise Academy’s Intellectual Assets Seminar 31/3/08