Dear members and friends,
A cousin, doing a clearout, sends me a photo of myself aged five on the beach at North Berwick; I recognise the distinctive rock across from the boarding house our family favoured. I’m looking at a wee boy whose mother has recently died – I’m looking for signs; but this face is composed – betrays no judgement about the cruelty of the world; a sensitive face – thoughtful – vulnerable in its innocence, but a warm smile. I think about what I might say to this child.
Sunday afternoon was dark and grim – Hearts beat Hibs 2-0 – spewin’ – on impulse I jump in the car and head off. Half an hour later, I find myself on the A1 – realise I’m heading for North Berwick. The tug of the past is always with us – mostly unconscious. I park at The Glen golf course and stroll back to Rockview boarding house (still there) – kids’ spades and pails visible in the lobby – like a time capsule. Down steps to the beach – close up to the rock in the photo – I recognise the hand and footholds of child climbers. With a rush I realise that I have repeated this climb countless times in scary dreams; immediately I feel a powerful continuity from myself as a child to myself as an old man. Much is going on inside me so I sit down and try to connect to it. I look at the photo – imagine this child on my knee – smile and say to him – life is going to be much less scary than you believe just now – you’re going to make it, kid.
The third sector falls loosely into 3 natural segments – the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. The voluntary sector retains an historic infrastructure of around 70 organisations across the country – its challenge is to modernise itself. Social enterprise has been particularly encouraged by Scottish Govt; it has a strategy and effective infrastructure – confidence and momentum continue to grow. Our community sector, however, is very much the poor cousin of the family – decades of neglect from municipalist administrations and bossy councils. The SNP commitment to new community empowerment legislation (inspired) provides the opportunity for govt to address this serious deficiency in Scottish civil society. The creative energy latent is our communities, represents a huge national resource. We need a strategy and infrastructure to release it. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10549
Of the UK’s top level social and political commentators – none is as sure footed around the third sector as the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee; her demolition of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) on Saturday was scathing. "It’s a novel solution to extreme inequality" she says "inviting the rich to make money out of the poor". But the English govt is very keen on SIBs – they love the idea that social deprivation could be ‘marketised’. In my opinion the whole thing is mince – and I’m astonished at the complicity of third sector leaders. In Scotland, the SNP manifesto commits to 3 SIB pilots – but I’m sure John Swinney knows that ‘payment for success’ mechanisms lead to service providers selecting easier (profitable) client groups. It will be interesting to see what Scottish civil servants come up with. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11436
NESTA – (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) has a mission to drive innovation in the UK – with annual expenditure around £20m. I can’t comment on its effectiveness in England and Wales but NESTA’s profile in Scotland is disappointing; Senscot wrote recently to Philip Colligan – Executive Director of its Public Services Lab in London – asking him to consider the open recruitment of a Scotland Committee (like the Lottery). This is what we wrote, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11438 But that was a month ago – an acknowledgement but no response – wondering what to do next – we won’t let it drop. See NESTA activity in Scotland, http://senscot.org/docs/NESTAinScotland.doc
Our seminar on 30th September is full up and a standby list is in operation (email firstname.lastname@example.org). The link will take you to the register of confirmed attendees – please let us know if you are unable to use your place so we can re-allocate it. See, http://www.senscot.net/seminar.php
The Times Educational Supplement features an excellent piece about the work being done by our Social Enterprise Academy in Scottish schools. The article centres on the annual award ceremony (21 schools this year) and give a flavour of the range of pupil run enterprises. Inspiring. It says that John Swinney spent 2 hours there chatting with the kids – clearly enjoying it. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11435
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: Furniture Plus; Shelter Scotland; Lorn and Oban Reuse Initiative; Penumbra; With Kids; Quarriers; Thenew Housing Association; Cumnock & Doon Valley Credit Union; Fife Elderly Forum Executive; Refugee Survival Trust.
EVENTS: Clydebank HerStory Scrapbooking Session 6 Sep; CEiS Annual Conference 7 Sep; Oral Histories Part 2, 8 Sep; Moray SEN Annual Conference 9 Sep; Free Ayrshire Sustainable Food event including Local Lunch 9 Sep.
TENDERS: Education & Children’s Services Refurbishment / upgrade Contract, International Technology Renewable Energy Zone – Industry Engagement Building, Garden Maintenance Scheme and Leadership for Growth Programme.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Last week a good number of SEN members attended a series of workshops across the country on the new Enterprise Growth Fund. Fund is being administered by a consortium, led by the Wise Group, and will be giving out awards of between £25k – £200k. The application process for the Fund itself opens today (12 noon) with interested organisations being able to download the Initial Enquiry Form. From noon on Tuesday 5th Sept, you will be able to submit completed Initial Enquiries with a deadline of 5pm on 19th Sept. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11440
For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=206
First with the Scottish Land Fund–and then with its Growing Community Assets programme (GCA) the Lottery in Scotland has provided valuable leadership around the ‘asset transfer’ agenda–indeed BIG’s insistence on ownership as a condition of funding led to a change in the policy of certain councils – notably Glasgow. Interesting research now published evaluating benefits of recent GCA activity – impressive. See,
News this week of a hugely exciting development in Aberdeenshire – the creation of a social enterprise village. Kincluny Development Trust hopes to build 1,500 new homes and run the community under social enterprise principles – managing shops, allotments and renewable energy sources with profits being used for the benefit of local people. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11442
Reminder that the deadline for applications and business plans for Firstport next round of Level 2 Awards (up to £20k) closes this – Monday 5th Sept 2011. They are targeting social entrepreneurs who are in the start up phase of their social enterprise. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11410
Scotland are World Champions – again! Following their victory in 2007, Scotland regained the trophy beating Mexico (4-3) in the final in Paris. Scotland’s team is run by David Duke of Street Soccer Scotland – a member of the Sports SEN. David needs to get on the blower to Craig Levein with a few words of advice. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11434
This week’s bulletin profiles a community enterprise, based in the West Dunbartonshire/Inverclyde area, that has help insulate over 80,000 homes in the west of Scotland since it started over 21 years ago. Solas Scotland has built its business around long-term relationships with major clients, namely Local Authorities and Housing Associations, successfully delivering energy advice/survey and home insulation services. They operate two trading arms – Solas Insulation Limited and Solas Assist Limited. For more, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=11439
These are the words of peace activist, writer and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh – who lives in Plum Village – France.
"Each of us need to ‘belong to’ a place, such as a retreat centre or a monastery, where each feature of the landscape, the sounds of the bell, and even the buildings are designed to remind us to return to awareness. It is helpful to go there from time to time for several days or several weeks to renew ourselves. Even when we cannot actually go there, we only need to think of it, and we can feel ourselves smile and become peaceful and happy. The people who live there should emanate peace and freshness, the fruits of living in awareness. They must always be there to care for us, console and support us, help us heal our wounds. Each of us must find a spiritual homeland where we can retreat from time to time, much as we ran to our mothers for refuge when we were young."
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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