There is a farm shop/café near my cottage – where you can sit as long as you like; I’m with my friend Joan and her daughter Josie, who’s three. Joan asks me to watch Josie while she does some shopping – how to keep the wee one amused? She has a book called Peppa Pig, which is new to me, so I ask her to tell me the story. As she turns the pages, explaining the different characters: Peppa, George, Mummy, Daddy – the child seems transformed – her face alight with a fire – an ‘enchantment’. I’m reminded of an insight from the writer Doris Lessing: “the storyteller is deep inside every one of us…our brains are patterned for storytelling”. I’m under the spell of a three-year-old storyteller.
“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel – but there have been no societies that did not tell stories”. Lessing saw our heritage going back and back – to a clearing in the forest, where a great fire burns; where the old shamans dance and sing, their mythic stories of magic and the spirit. Over thousands of years, we own a legacy of stories that will never be exhausted. And looking forward, she asked us to imagine the worst – that horrors damage and destroy areas of our planet; it will only be the power of imaginations (the stories) of those who remain, which will continue the history of our race.
In 2076, when Josie is 60, I wonder what stories she will be telling her grandchildren.
Senscot annual invite for financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin – has a couple of weeks left. Almost 100 individuals have signed up so far as full company members – all giving an average of £25. We also invite donations from organisations (associate members) who also wish to support what we do (amounts between £5 and £500). To join ordonate, see members page.
I’m a strong advocate of ‘public service’ media and believe that the UK is ‘mostly’ well-served by the BBC. Highland and Lowland Scots can be irritated by the ‘entitlement’ of our central belt – but not as much as I resent the way London regards Scotland as a subsidiary nation; the BBC’s open disrespect for our independence referendum was straight English Govt propaganda. The launch this week of ‘The Nine’ is only important if it establishes editorial independence from BBC London politics. Unlike some, I’ll wait a few weeks before offering comment – Gerry Hassan offers a useful round-up of background and reactions.
Regardless of the ‘guff’ in the media – the only real fracture in the Labour Party is between the Blairite centrists and the Momentum movement which supports Corbyn; they want to rebuild the welfare state and seriously redistribute wealth. The big question, of course, is whether the UK electorate is minded for such change. Interesting piece in the NY Times about a 19-year-old student from Brighton called Alex McIntyre; raised on austerity, he has known nothing else – and has, over the last six months, been drawn into the centre of Momentum. An interesting glimpse of a world our media blanks.
I live close to the Ineos oil refinery at Grangemouth – easily Scotland’s worst air polluter; it’s owned by Jim Ratcliffe, the richest person in the UK, who has announced that he will invest another £1bn to make his oil assets ‘world class’ until 2040; but there’s a good chance that there won’t be any oil industry by then. The day is fast approaching when we will be able to access enough energy from sun, wind, sea etc. Imagine renewable energy as part of ‘the commons’ – consumers producing their own energy and releasing surplus into an energy internet grid. In this ‘post-scarcity’ world – there will be no need to burn the fossil fuels which damage our planet. How realistic is this dream – other alternatives to competitive capitalism?
In 2007, when she was 87, Doris Lessing was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. She wrote a moving speech (read by her publisher); this is a link to the latter section which is special. “The storyteller is deep inside every one of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is ravaged by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise. But the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us – for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative.”
Last week saw the emergence of a new SEN in Angus – following a consultation event on a local SE Action Plan that is being designed to support the Angus SE Strategy. The Angus SE Strategy has been developed by Angus Council, Voluntary Action Angus, Angus Business Connects, Dundee SEN and others. This takes the number of active local SENs in Scotland to 17 (plus 6 thematic SENs) with another 2 or 3 areas actively exploring the option of establishing their own SENs. More than 1300 social enterprises are currently engaged with or are members of a SEN – with the overwhelming majority being locally-based SEs providing valuable services within their respective communities. Over the next year, we hope to be able to work with local TSIs and Govt to ensure that an adequate and consistent level of resource and support can be made available to the network of SENs – the biggest single constituency within our SE community in Scotland.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
After 11 years of planning and development, last week saw the opening of the Auchadaduie Development on the Kintyre Peninsula. The Auchadaduie Development – three wind turbines – is expected to generate over £15m of community and charitable benefit for the Argyll and Bute community over the next 20 years. The project was initiated by Fyne Homes and the Fyne Group – with involvement of other local community organisations – and has been supported by Triodos Bank and Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).
The SE Code Steering Group meets twice a year to review the Code criteria; updating the website; and progress with subscriptions (currently just over 900). It met again last Monday and has agreed to give the website a bit of a facelift – including some short videos and refreshing some of the core text. The five core criteria remain as they were – and the Group was unanimous in concluding that they remain as relevant as they were when first put together in 2012. The ‘updated’ website should be ready over the next few weeks. If you’d like sign up and show your support for the Code, see subscribe link.
Last week we published the latest in our series of Senscot Briefings – Social Enterprise: Creating Wellbeing in Communities – highlighting the contribution of social enterprise in improving health and wellbeing via social and community activities. The Briefing includes case studies of four SEN members in this area: Grassmarket Community Project (Edinburgh); Transition Extreme (Aberdeen); Centrestage (Kilmarnock); and Lorn Healthy Options (Oban). See all 12 previous Senscot Briefings. Our next Briefing – due out at the end of March – will be titled, ‘Social Enterprise and Heritage’.
This week’s bulletin profiles an outdoor education centre based in Dunoon on the shores of Loch Long. Ardentinny Outdoor Education Centre, set up as a charity in 2013, can accommodate up to 120 residents at its purpose-built centre. Ardentinny offers over twenty different outdoor activities to schools, universities, companies or families. Supported by a team of experienced professionals, Ardentinny sees the great outdoors as a place to inspire and motivate; a context for exploring and developing personality and relationships – as well as being an exciting and safe experience for all visitors.