Dear members and friends,
The world is blanking me again – approaches ignored – emails unanswered – proposals rejected – deals stalled – even friends not returning calls; – feel powerless. Sudden plague of bluebottles in my cottage – Ronnie the postman thinks it’s a dead rat in the attic – says he can smell it; – feel disgusted. Optician on Monday says my deteriorating eyesight is due to cataracts in both eyes – not bad enough for surgery yet; – feel decrepit. Letter from Urology dept. at St Johns Hospital informing that they have installed new kit – a ‘green light laser’ – offering to excavate a new channel through my prostate, so I can pee properly; – feel apprehensive.
Wednesday sunlight gets me into active mode – collecting fieldstones from a nearby pile. Crabbit gamekeeper challenges me – altercation – phone assistant factor who comes down. “It’s ok with the stones, Laurence, but you’ve been spotted taking timber from the woods – that’s not on.” “But it’s left to rot!” – feel angry. Dark mood erupts during telephone misunderstanding. Phone back to apologise – colleague says you can’t force this Laurence – you need to chill. He’s right – too tense – need to step back. My mind drifts to a Spanish beach and suddenly I know that’s where I need to be – paddling in the Med – mixed fried fish at Marisa’s – sun in my face. Feel delinquent but determined. Next bulletin from Andalucia.
Senscot has declined the opportunity to be the Scottish partner of the Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) – mainly due to London’s decision to relax the asset lock. In these circumstances we need to decide what to do next and Senscot’s board has decided on two actions. We will consult with the reference group of Scottish practitioners who have kept themselves up to speed with this issue; but first we will consult our wider membership through a simple poll of three options. 1. That Scotland establishes its own independent version of the Mark with our own criteria. 2. That the current model is ‘good enough’ and Senscot should hand on this process to another organisation in Scotland to partner with London 3. That we step away – allowing the SEM company to operate the Mark directly from London. If you have an opinion on this – please take a minute to tick a box. We’ll let you know results. http://www.senscot.net/pollmark.php
Following the Civil Society Summit on 18th Feb – Stephen Maxwell comments that some responses to the societal crises of our time give cause for optimism. But, he argues, such shifts are disparate and incoherent; can civil society rise to the challenge of combining them into a common platform?
Useful bit of research from SCVO and VAS on how relationships are developing between local councils and the third sector – the so-called ‘Single Interface’. At some levels the findings are encouraging and the conclusions (two pages) are well worth a skim (the worst and best councils are named). The problem Senscot has with this report is one of attitude – that its authors are stuck in a ‘voluntary sector’ mindset, whereas many of us consider ourselves as part of a more differentiated Third Sector! The social enterprise community has its own Coalition and the expanding community sector is moving towards that position. Both are determined to assert distinct identity. An imposed ‘Single Interface’ which doesn’t give voice to these emerging constituencies, lacks legitimacy. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9244
Glasgow Council will close 11 community centres by the end of March – unless local people can organise to take responsibility for them. This is an indication of what may soon happen on a major scale across the UK – heralding an expansion of community enterprise. Academic discussion between the Communitarians and the Municipalists has been overtaken by events. Times they are a changing. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9238
Final call for donations to Senscot’s annual appeal. We’ll probably end up with around £5,000 and reach 80 full company members. Many thanks to all who took the trouble.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: Children in Scotland, LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Ballater (RD) Ltd, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, Transition Scotland Support, Penumbra, Easthall Residents Association, Quarriers
EVENTS: HISEZ Annual Conference, 26 Feb; Introduction to business planning and strategy & measuring social impact, 10 Mar; CRNS 5th Annual Conference, 17 Mar; DTAS & The Glasshouse Building Design Study Visits & Support, 20 Mar; Business Acquisition: Getting Ready to Buy, 24 Mar;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Senscot is jointly hosting an event with Scottish Prison Services (SPS) that will explore opportunities that exist between social enterprise and the Justice system. The event takes place on 13th May at SPS`s Training College at Polmont. Mel Young will chair the event. To get a flavour of what’s happening elsewhere in the UK, we attended a similar event in London this week, hosted by the Ministry of Justice and the English Social Enterprise Coalition. We`ll give a short report next week. We’re keen to ensure we get the right mix of people along and would ask you, if interested, to fill in the short survey attached – http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/spsurvey.php
For more Networks News, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=131
Wendell Berry, the American writer, philosopher and farmer writes: ‘‘A community economy is not an economy in which well placed persons can make a ‘killing’. It is an economy whose aim is generosity and a well distributed and safe guarded abundance.’’ Berry has developed 17 rules for the healthy functioning of sustainable local economies. His stuff always cheers me up. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9240
We include an inspiring story this week from Westray on the benefits of community-owned renewables. They see their community wind turbine as a way of regenerating the island and addressing depopulation issues and expect to generate £100,000 pa. from the turbine. Last year, they won the Scottish Green Energy Award for Best Community Initiative. The project was part funded by Triodos Bank, who finance a total of 31 wind turbines in 11 locations across Scotland, generating clean energy for over 19,000 homes. See more https://senscot.net/?viewid=9261
This week’s bulletin profiles an organisation that aims is to improve accessibility to arts and cultural events in the West of Scotland. Glasgow Grows Audiences Ltd (GGA) provides arts organisations with valuable market research, bespoke training programmes and inclusion in targeted audience development campaigns. Their goal is to encourage a diverse audience and create an all round positive environment in which the arts can thrive. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=9243
Kenji Miyazama (1896 – 1933) was a Japanese poet, Buddhist and social activist. This is his poem ‘Strong in the Rain’.
“Strong in the rain – strong in the wind – strong against the summer heat and snow – he is healthy and robust. Free from desire, he never loses his temper or the quiet smile on his lips. He eats four ‘go’ of unpolished rice, miso and a few vegetables a day. He does not consider himself in whatever occurs… his understanding comes from observation and experience – and he never loses sight of things. He lives in a little thatched-roof hut in a field in the shadows of a pine tree grove. If there is a sick child in the east he goes there to nurse the child. If there’s a tired mother in the west he goes to her and carries her sheaves. If someone is near death in the south he goes and says, ‘‘don’t be afraid’’. If there are strife and lawsuits in the north he demands that the people put an end to their pettiness. He weeps at the time of drought. He plods about at a loss during the cold summer. Everyone calls him Blockhead. No one sings his praises or takes him to heart… This is the kind of person I want to be.”
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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