Dear members and friends,
Because I refuse to have any relationship with Sky TV – I missed the 2004/5/6 screening of Deadwood – but I recall it was much admired. I have just watched the box set – all 36 episodes over 10 days – immersed in a parallel world of the 1870s Wild West. It’s set in the lawless goldrush camp of Deadwood (not yet a town) – a motley gathering of miners, gamblers, killers, pimps and whores. The creator David Milch wrote for Hill Street Blues – a previous favourite of mine.
The camp we are shown is dedicated to the pursuit of wealth – without restraint; the action and language depicted – will be too ‘realistic’ for some viewers – too savage; it is not suitable for children. But through the development of several characters – we watch the emergence of civilising impulses – to nurse the sick, to protect children, to protest injustice. The overarching theme traces how – over time – order will emerge from chaos. The story is an allegory for how societies form.
The lasting impression I have of this drama is of the character Al Swearengen – played by Ian McShane – with a brilliance that carries the series. His portrayal of the clever, ruthless, indomitable ‘boss’ of the camp – is as good as anything I’ve seen. Al would cut a person’s throat – yet you want to make a case that he is a good man; such is the quality of the acting and the writing. Deadwood – highly recommended – but not for little boys to play with.
At the start of a new year – Senscot invites financial support through individual membership subscriptions – average £25. Partner organisations are invited to take up associate membership – small organisations from £50 – large organisations from £100. See 2013 list, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers13.php. To donate see, http://www.senscot.net/donate.php
The debate about whither social enterprise (SE) must be asset locked – or whither it can include an element of profit distribution – continues at an international level. In the context of the European Commission’s Social Business Initiative – the purists of non-profit got off to a flying start in 2011; but now – a year later – it’s clear that the lobbyists of the private sector, have gained ground. The Commission has confirmed SE as a funding priority for 2014 – 2020 – a great deal of money will be available for national programmes. The campaign – led from the US to redefine social investment as a profit yielding asset class – seems to have been accepted in England. Senscot considers that those who follow this path – will be lost to our sector. We’ll now see if the EC is able to resist pressure from the global banking sector – to redefine SE. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13129
In 2011 – the English Govt. set up the community organiser (CO) programme; it would train 500 full-time COs – who would – in turn – recruit 4500 part time voluntary ones. The contract (worth £15m) was awarded to Locality (formerly DTA). Trainee COs receive a salary of £15k during the training year – but are then expected to find their own salary. This has proven to be the weakness in the concept – how to find a salary in the pressing financial climate? The Govt has acknowledged this – with a further £7.5m funding; so far 77 COs have been trained – of which 50 have found jobs. There is much to learn from this programme. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13130
George Monbiot argues this week – that the rich – the ruling elite – disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation – and from any concern about its wellbeing – except as a place to extract loot. I know he puts a one sided argument – but he’s awfully good at it. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13126
The prospect of our referendum, in 18 months – brings the appetite for change; like many other social activists – I find myself watching – and hoping – for the stirrings of a new popular movement. A small, ‘unpowerful’ group of people – calling themselves ‘So Say Scotland’ – announced, this week, that they have appointed an organiser – and will host a ‘citizen assembly’ – during the third sector Gathering on Feb 28th. The group (which takes inspiration from Icelandic citizen organising) has no money – depends on gifts and voluntary action; but as our readers will understand: that’s all the more reason to consider them a force. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13133
Edinburgh-based researcher, Peter Cruickshank, has carried out a study of the online presence and engagement amongst Scotland’s thousand odd community councils. His survey found that only 22% have an up-to-date online presence; and only 10% use social media to host online discussion and opinion gathering. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13128
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: Social Care Ideas Factory, Highland Small Communities Housing Trust, Traditional Music Forum, Edinburgh Cyrenians, Fife Employment Access Trust, Eco Drama, Ecole Enterprise,
EVENTS: Facilitation Training Day, 1 Feb; Edinburgh Vintage Kilo Sale, 2 Feb; Portobello Market; 2 Feb; Perth & Kinross Social Enterprise Support Programme – Launch Events, 19 Feb;
TENDERS: South Side Community Centre Association is seeking tender proposals from interested parties to run a community café at South Side Community Centre. See, http://tinyurl.com/b6j2eh6. Join the Linked-In group at http://tinyurl.com/7ltz7oz and follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/RdyForBusiness.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This week we welcomed our new member of staff, Danielle Trudeau. Danielle’s role will be that of SE and Health Co-ordinator and will be working out of our Edinburgh office (Manor Place). With the increasing volume of activity around the work of both the Health SEN and Roundtable, it is going to be a real bonus having a dedicated member of staff keeping abreast of developments. Danielle will also be devoting time to rekindling the Community Food SEN that has not met since last summer. The SE and Health post is funded by the Govt`s Third Sector Division and Public Health and Sport Directorate and will run, initially, until March 2015. You can contact Danielle at Danielle@senscot.net. For more Networks News, see www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=277.
STOP PRESS: Good news this week from West Lothian. The Council has agreed to fund the development of the West Lothian SEN – £50k for 2013/14. More next week
In November, DTA Scotland announced a new venture – that could provide their members with savings of up to 20% on energy bills. The venture is in partnership with Touchstone Energy Management Services. Demand amongst their members has been very encouraging and they are now looking to opening up their offer to the wider SE community. If you’re interested, contact email@example.com. For more details, see
Social Investment Scotland (SIS) has been undergoing a Board recruitment process recently. This week, they have announced the appointment of their new Chairperson – Professor Nick Kuennsberg. Prof Kuennsberg -who replaces Alf Young – has a reputation as one of Scotland’s more distinguished and influential business leaders as well as having Board experience at Standard Life, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Power. See,
The SE and sports community in Scotland continues to grow – Sport SEN now has over 60 members. Interesting article from Australia describing many sports organisations as ‘accidental social enterprises’ – in that they have clear some/community outcomes; seek financial viability – but often lack the strategic and organisational intent that would help them maximise their social/community benefits. Could the same be said about our own sports community? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13125
Last week’s bulletin profiled Catalyst Catering. This week’s bulletin profiles its parent company CEiS Ayrshire – part of the CEiS Group. CEiS Ayrshire is an employability and regeneration social enterprise, incorporated in 2007. It delivers a comprehensive package of innovative and flexible employability, community regeneration, recruitment and workforce development, and training solutions within Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway. Starting with 4 staff in 2007, it now boasts a staff complement of 25. See more,
David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008) – from a speech published as: This is Water.
"If you worship money and things – if they are where you tap real meaning in life – then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already – it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power – you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart – you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on."
That’s all for this week.
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