Dear members and friends,
News from Italy, that the ancient farmhouse where my dad was born is abandoned and falling down. I’ve been remembering the first time he took me to see Picinisco and the surrounding hamlets where our whole tribe originated. The house was called Colle Costello and I’ll never forget a meal there with our cousins in 1953 – my first real glimpse of poverty. Their rooms had neither power nor plumbing – the kids were hungry and unwashed. The floor was bare earth – cooking pots on an open fire – domestic animals wandering around. We took our food at a scrubbed table, on which was poured a mound of polenta (maize porridge) topped with cooked tomatoes. Each of us ate with a spoon – not even plates. This experience (aged 13) was important – helped me understand the story of our tribe – and how tribal stories are shaped over many generations.
Economic migration from the `valley of my fathers` reached all across Europe and the Americas. Our cluster took root in Scotland – a cold country, without grapes or olives – but with warm people. My forbears who came here are all dead now – my nationality is unequivocally Scottish – then British – then vaguely Italian. But, in spite of this, if I had wealth, it would be important for me to save Colle Costello – give it dignity – perhaps grandeur. I can’t explain this impulse rationally – but I’m pleased I feel it – something to do with respect for what came before.
The UK Government keeps telling us of its great expectations for the expansion of the Third Sector – but when the big stuff comes along it favours the private sector – look at the Royal Mail. The latest example is the size of contracts for the delivery of Flexible New Deal – which keep getting bigger and bigger http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8229. The only exception to private sector delivery is in Scotland where the Glasgow based Wise Group has won the £120m contract for Southern Scotland. The Wise Group stands as an example to the Scottish Social Enterprise movement of how quality services can be scaled up nationally – and it’s an inspiration to us all that they have seen-off private sector competition. Their CEO Laurie Russell told Senscot this week ‘We will maximise the use of social enterprises and Third Sector organisations in our sub-contracts’. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8230
Some weeks ago Scottish Government ministers John Swinney and Jim Mather hosted a roundtable meeting on ‘Resilience in the Third Sector’ – 30 people, half Government and half Third Sector leaders. Devolution brought Government much closer to citizens in Scotland – Swinney and Mather are good at this dialogue. It’s interesting to monitor who gets invited to these gatherings – the changing pool of players. You may also want to read the civil service note of the discussion http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8233
As a way of understanding the characteristics of strong communities, the term ‘social capital’ is now used by Governments across the world – with the notable exception of Scotland – `cos our lot don’t get it. The flag, however, is kept flying up here by Assist Social Capital which held its annual conference at New Lanark yesterday. It cannot be long before Social Capital starts to appear on our Govt`s radar. Here’s Colin`s speech, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8231
My hero Muhammad Yunus was in London last Friday speaking at the 75th birthday bash of the British Council. His speech is attached below – not much in it new for aficionados like myself – but still thrilling to revisit his ideas about ending world poverty. I compare him to social pioneers like Robert Owen – those rare pathfinders who do both theory and practice http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8232
I’m a great fan of the CREATE consortium’s campaign for the introduction of a ‘Community Allowance’ whereby folk on Benefit can do paid community work without financial penalty. Yunus (speech above) argues that welfare schemes seem designed to prevent anyone ever escaping. Here’s a speech from Naomi Alexander about the Community Allowance http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8234
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: incl. posts with Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, Station House Media Unit, Sidekix, Moore House Care & Education, JMT Care Services, NHS 24, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Angus Mental Health Association (AMHA), CSL Training, Evaluation and Development, Aberdeen Foyer
EVENTS: Peas vs. Pills Health Workshop, Edinburgh, 6 June; Women Make History West End Map Launch, Glasgow women`s Library, 21 Jun; Dealing with Conflict, CSL Training, Evaluation and Development, 22 Jun; East Lothian Artists/Therapy in Art, The Accessible Art Company, 7 Jul;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Senscot is now able to access some funds for any LSEN or LSEN members who wish to travel or need to incur other costs in order to learn or build their capacity or skills. Funds would also be available to cover costs for organisations hosting visits. If you’re interested in arranging or participating in such an exchange, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .For more on this and other Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=92
Transform TV – the Glasgow-based Community TV channel – held its first graduation ceremony on Wednesday. 10 young people from areas such as Govan, Blackhill and Possilpark received their awards at an event at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay offices in Glasgow. The evening was rounded off with a special screening of their own `Scary Movie` – `A Govan Haunting`. Both Senscot and Local People Leading have commissioned a series of webcasts from Transform TV to be made over the summer. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8218
Anyone fancy running a market garden social enterprise in Glasgow? This exciting opportunity is available through CEiS`s Investing Enterprise programme. CEiS has already carried out research for Glasgow City Council on issues around local food production, employment and sustainable use of land. They`re now looking for a social enterprise to host a feasibility study. They`re looking for Notes of Interest by 12th June. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=8225
News from Firstport. Deadline for Level 2 Awards (up to £20k) is 1st July. Draft applications must be in by 15th June. Firstport also running sessions on `Making a Good Application to the Enterprise Fund` along with Scottish Govt. The Enterprise Fund is intended to help your organisation ”make a transformational step change towards building capacity, capability and/or financial sustainability’. The Enterprise Fund`s 1st Funding Panel meets next week with the first tranche of awardees being announced very shortly. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8237
This week’s bulletin profiles an emerging social enterprise in West Dunbartonshire. Knowetop Community Farm provides a service to local communities, focusing on environmental awareness, education, animal care and horticulture. As well as offering training places to local unemployed people and school children, they are exploring new income streams through their shop and youth café. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=8235
At New Lanark over 200 years ago, Robert Owen realised how business can be used to create social benefit – a prototype of social enterprise. These are his words – same vision as Muhammad Yunus today:
‘I know that society may be formed so as to exist without crime, without poverty, with health greatly improved, with little, if any misery, and with intelligence and happiness increased a hundredfold: and no obstacle whatsoever intervenes at this moment except ignorance to prevent such a state of society from becoming universal….There is but one mode by which man can possess in perpetuity all the happiness which his nature is capable of enjoying – that is by the union and co-operation of all for the benefit of each’.
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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