Dear members and friends,
I love the paintings of Pieter Bruegel (1528 – 1569) – for their depiction of the lives of ordinary working people – busy, hard, full of struggle – but also festivals – booze, dancing, snogging; sociological observation, documented with humour. Bruegel’s faces are very different from, say, Botticelli’s angelic Italian beauties. These peasants are almost comic in their ugliness – coarsened by poverty – grinding outdoor work – proximity with the animals which share their dwellings. In 1953 I visited Italian cousins, who had not yet emigrated from our valley – saw for myself the harshness of their lives; there is nothing romantic about children living with hunger.
The extraordinary scientific and economic developments of the 20th century enabled millions – my family included – to leave exhausted land for the relative security of cities – the benefits of universal education, healthcare etc. But the market economy, which delivered this prosperity, can also withdraw it. In the recent TV programme, The Scheme, we see people without work – stranded – who seem to have lost touch with what they are ‘‘for’’ –– surplus to requirements. Without a sense of purpose, the cohesion and ebullience which Bruegel evokes have been lost. I’m revisiting Edgar Cahn’s book about the ‘core economy’ – the non-market realm where every human being is considered an asset. Edgar calls his book ‘‘No More Throw-Away People’’. It reminds me of what I hoped my life would be about.
Among community development workers (I’m one) there’s a clear distinction between those of us who believe that we should be employed by local people (my view) and those who believe that community empowerment should be an activity of local councils (the majority view). This encroachment by the state into the workings of civil society is confusing, intrusive and needs to be resisted. The alternative, of communities taking responsibility for themselves, is best exemplified by the likes of Development Trusts and Community Housing Associations which flourish in Scotland. These organisations are owned by the community they serve – often as the anchor organisation for a whole area – coordinating multiple activities. I believe that this model will increasingly become accepted as mainstream policy. The Scottish Annual Conference of Development Trusts is at Aviemore on 13/14th June – a gathering I try not to miss. Still time to book. http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=9508
Bhutan is a Buddhist country which has replaced Gross National Product (GNP) with Gross National Happiness (GNHs). Instead of measuring economic growth – they measure things like – physical and mental health – community vitality – the work life balance – living standards – civic engagement – and the ecological integrity on which everything depends. In this short piece, Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence magazine, reflects on education for happiness. In place of the three R’s – he proposes the four H’s: Head, Heart, Hands and Home. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9616
I enjoyed this affectionate pen portrait of the Calton area of Glasgow by Mike Gonzalez in Wednesday’s Guardian. I suspect he’s a resident – he certainly cares about this part of the city with its rich history. Made me realise what a hammering Glasgow has had – why aren’t people angrier with their elected leaders?
The new UK education secretary Michael Gove has indicated that he expects ‘academy status’ – independent of local authorities – to become ‘the norm’ for schools in England. I wasn’t clear what an academy is – this Guardian Q & A feature helped. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9617
The Community Recycling Network Scotland (CRNS) informs us of the launch of the new Increase III Programme which will support community recycling projects in Scotland. This year’s programme includes a £1m Investment Fund which will be made up of 50% funding and 50% loan finance. Total investments could be up to £200k. Deadline for applications is Wednesday 30th June at 1.30pm. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9612
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 Firms Scotland, The Institute of Conservation, Foster Care Associates, Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project, Arthritis Care Scotland, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire, Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone, Sustainable Scotland Network, Volunteer Centre East Dunbartonshire
EVENTS: Henry Duncan Bicentenary Conference, 9 Jun; Greyfriars Recycling of Wood – Display of Works, 11 June; DTA Scotland Annual Conference "Resilient Communities – Time for Action", 14 Jun; More Than Furniture 2010, 24 Aug;
TENDERS: Gaelic Two Day Short Course; Additional Work on Aigas Community Forest Business Plan; Digital Interpretation for Scottish National Portrait Gallery; Alba Innovation Centre – Incubation Services; 10/0004 Energy Efficiency Works to Residential Dwellings; Graduation Photography Services;
NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: Good news from Fife this week with BRAG Enterprises winning the contract to deliver business support to social enterprises in Fife. John Oates (BRAG) outlined details of the contract to the Fife SEN yesterday. The contract was won in open competition with a number of much lager competitors. Fife SEN was the first Network to get off the ground and has recently appointed a new Chair in Frankie Hodge of Recycle Fife. For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=142
The Social Enterprise Academy’s work to promote social enterprise in schools across Scotland has been enthusiastically backed up by Renfrewshire Council. This week, they hosted their first ever `Schools Dragons` Den` in Paisley. All schools in Renfrewshire submitted business plans and seven finalists were chosen to present to the `Dragons` – who included our old pal, Jay Lamb. The seven finalists shared over £6k with the overall prize going to Our Lady of Peace Primary (Linwood) whose Ecoform project will set up a shop selling recycled uniforms .See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9609
In recent years, CEiS has been hosting an annual conference in September to enable social enterprise practitioners and supporters to engage with best practice. This year’s event will focus on exploring priorities in advance of the next action plan for social enterprise. It’s being held on 2nd September at the Concert Hall in Glasgow. Bookings available from Monday 7th June. See more https://senscot.net/?viewid=9618
Diageo in partnership with UnLtd is supporting a new UK-wide social entrepreneurship programme – ‘Bring it to Life’. The programme will offer support and funding for people aged between 25- 35 to create new social ventures. There will two categories – ‘catalyst’ (£2k) and ‘development’ (£15k) – with a limited number of awards being made in Scotland, we’re told they’ll initially be targeting Edinburgh and Glasgow. Firstport will be leading on this in Scotland with a fairly tight deadline for entries of 23rd July. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9610
Every now and then we revisit a social enterprise previously profiled in the bulletin. This week our colleagues at Hisez draw our attention to the recent expansion of Caberfeidh Horizons Ltd. Last week, Caberfeidh, based in Kingussie, officially opened the new extension to their bookshop. The Bookshop provides adults and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities with an opportunity to be trained in a workplace environment to help them prepare for employment, further education as well as improving their social skills. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=5943
My Cats by Charles Bukowski. ‘‘I know. I know. They are limited, have different needs and concerns. But I watch and learn from them. I like the little they know, which is so much. They complain but never worry. They walk with a surprising dignity. They sleep with a direct simplicity that humans just can’t understand. Their eyes are more beautiful than our eyes. And they can sleep 20 hours a day without hesitation or remorse. When I am feeling low all I have to do is watch my cats and my courage returns. I study these creatures. They are my teachers.”
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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