The SENs: Thursday 21st December 2017

With this being the last SENs Newsletter of 2017, it’s time to look back at some of the year’s highlights. We’re not able to include them all – but ones of particular note include: the long-awaited TSI Review – with an update due this week;  6 Community Learning Exchanges for SENs, involving over 50 SEs;  the publication of the SE Action Plan including a series of ‘early actions’; the launch of P4P; the publication of the SE Census 2017; Social in the Gardens; SE Reports in Glasgow, Edinburgh and  Argyll and Bute; Senscot Feasibility Study into Consortia Model; a series of Senscot Briefings covering the work of thematic SEN members; a revamped Senscot website ; our SE Conference; and a new Community Bond Offer for SENs and SEN members. The good news is 2018 is likely to be just as busy!


The SE Census 2015 set a benchmark by which we would be able measure the growth and development of the SE sector in Scotland. Its breadth of detail ensured that it was welcomed across our sector. A concern, however, amongst local SENs was that Scottish Govt was not able, for various reasons, to share local data that had been collated during the Census. We are pleased therefore to say that these concerns have been addressed and the SE Census 2017 is now supported by a ‘Technical Report’ that provides further information about the methodology behind the census, including the basis for identifying social enterprises and identify those in each local authority area. No doubt folk will notice anomalies – but this level of transparency is to be welcomed.


Fraser Kelly (CEO of Social Enterprise Scotland) is moving on to a new position as CEO of Waverley Housing in the Borders. During his six years in post, Fraser became a well-regarded and familiar face across the social enterprise landscape in Scotland. We would like to pass on our best wishes to Fraser in his new venture. Alex Baker, currently SES’ Strategy and Projects Manager, will be acting CEO for the interim period. Best of luck to Alex too.


Last year, 25 social enterprises took part in AIM2Flourish, the world’s first global initiative steering future business leaders towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Final Year Glasgow Caley (GCU) Business School students interviewed SEs across Scotland and produced short case studies to showcase their social impact. Social Firms Scotland and Senscot will be working with GCU again this year – and are looking for 50 SEs to take part. If you are interested in being involved, please email Jayne Chappell. You will be asked to supply some basic (and brief!) information about your social enterprise which will be sent on to GCU. Here’s some further info for potential participants.


SEN members should be aware that an Edinburgh-based recruitment firm are looking to offer pro-bono services to community groups, social enterprises and charities. Milburn Lewis are an international recruitment firm with specific experience in financial and professional services. They are hoping to get involved in supporting a local charity or social enterprise by volunteering their time and/or resources. They have a team of consultants with a breadth of experience in recruitment, business start-ups and HR, and offer their clients a consultative and comprehensive service. If you think your organisation could benefit from working with them, get in touch with Tilly Wilton on


Health SEN member Talking Mats held a festive drop-in session at their HQ in Stirling on Wednesday. Talking Mats produce toolkits and software to improve the lives of people with communication difficulties, using picture communication symbols to map out a client’s views on a range of day to day issues. Their latest development helps people express their views on difficult to discuss end of life issues, including Will writing, power of attorney and hospice admission. The open session also saw the bearing of fruits from this month’s SE Conference, with Rick Rijsdijk (Social Value Lab) making an appearance to discuss a collaborative project with Talking Mats after being impressed by Joan Murphy’s Talking Mats showcase. Watch this video which demonstrates one of their latest products.



TENDERS: Employability Services in Inverclyde – Inverclyde Council, Forth Valley Bike Share – Forth Environment Link, Practitioner Advice Service Evaluation – One Parent Families Scotland.

NEWSLETTER: December’s Employability SEN newsletter is out, with news of the Learning & Work Institute’s 10th annual employability conference and a series of SCVO business networking events in 2018. Read the newsletter here.


JOBS: There are a number of jobs and volunteering opportunities advertised on the Senscot Jobs board, including Project Officer at Caledonian Woodlands and Administrator at Glasgow Wood Recycling. See all listings.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: It’s your last chance to get your application in for the Scottish Government’s Social Economy Growth Fund, with applications closing tomorrow at 12pm. Read more and apply.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Big Issue Invest’s Power Up programme is aiming to help up to 20 early-stage social ventures in Scotland by providing access loan funding of up to £50k over the next two years. Find out more and apply.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: The Opportunities for Young People Grant Funding has been allocated to support the delivery of informal opportunities for young people in Aberdeenshire’s communities. Aberdeenshire’s Community Learning & Development Service will consider applications and most awards will be up to a maximum of £5000. See more and apply.


EVENT: The Grassmarket Community Project is hosting a workshop in reaction to patriarchal leadership that still dominates and permeates political, social, cultural and workplace spheres in the New Year. Workshops will examine how to take control of feedback; work with more empathy and collaboration; and engendering inclusivity. Early bird rate available until 31st December. Read more and register.


Check our Noticeboard for all funding opportunities, our Jobs page for vacancies and our Events Calendar to keep up to date with workshops, SEN meetings and more.



Dates for the Diary


Aberdeen SEN, 10th January
ESEN AGM, 31st January


Best wishes for the festive period and we look forward to linking up again in 2018.