Dear members and friends,
If you search “Muhammad Yunus” on the Senscot website, it comes up with 121 links – I’ve long been a disciple of the world’s leading social entrepreneur – without ever seeing him. Going to his talk at Glasgow Caledonian University on Monday, I wondered how I`d feel if he turned out to be pretentious – a phony. But I needn’t have worried – he’s the real thing. Yunus is quite small in stature – born in 1940 (like me) – round, cheerful, peter pan face – kind eyes – the dress of his homeland, Bangladesh. He has the high intelligence which says things simply – deep felt beliefs, spoken quietly – with humour, and an attractive, almost spiritual, humility. He said nothing on Monday which I had not previously read in his published talks – yet he made it fresh and compelling.
It’s not his vision for a new global economic infrastructure that I’m left with. Or even the amazing achievements of the Grameen Bank and his other social enterprises. It’s his burning love for the poor – and his understanding of how change happens – person to person – one at a time – slowly, patiently. His simple stories, affirming the dignity and courage of the most powerless women – made me cry. There is no doubt that Yunus is an extraordinary leader – he tells his workers, “you must put a dream in people’s hearts” and he himself has this gift. His dream is to rid the world of poverty – he made me feel – “Yes we can”.
Xmas pressie – Laurence’s book `You’ve Got To Laugh` – £10 from email@example.com
At the Social Firms Scotland AGM on Tuesday (9th December), Jim Mather (Minister for Enterprise) will launch the Third Sector Enterprise Fund. This will complete the Enterprising Third Sector funding pipeline – along with the Social Entrepreneurs Fund and the Scottish Investment Fund. Together these three funds will distribute around £43m, in amounts from £500 to £1m – with an increasing loan element at the top end. As long as the three distributors are efficient – and speak to each other – we have the makings of an impressive system. Controversially, the word on the street is that Scottish Government has decided to distribute the new Enterprise Fund ‘in house’. If true, this is not ideal. Civil servants tend to be risk averse. I wonder if ‘in house’ was their preferred option. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7716
The Dormant Bank Accounts bill became law last week – with many people in the Third Sector (including me) regretting that it’s only a voluntary scheme – banks are not legally bound to hand over the money. Third Sector Magazine reported this week that some financial experts have calculated that the money involved could be up to 10 times the present estimate – that would make it £4 billion. The Scottish Government consulted recently on what part of the Third Sector should get the Scottish share (between £40m and £400m). Senscot has asked when an announcement can be expected. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7714
Gordon Brown asked David Blunkett to revise Labour Party Third Sector Policy for the next Labour Manifesto. He has published his ideas as a Fabian Society Pamphlet, which can be compared to Ian Duncan Smith’s policy work for the Tories. You may be interested in what Blunkett considers to be the 8 core values of the Third Sector – the first of which he states as Independence: ‘‘Embodying people’s right to associate and organise to help themselves and others, independent of the state’’. Spot on. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7710
Hazel Blears, the English Communities Secretary, has stuck impressively to her guns and the coming year will see several bills to give English citizens specific new powers. Under consultation, for instance, is the duty on authorities ‘‘to involve representatives of local persons in the exercise of any of their functions’’. Attached is a definition of what they mean by local persons. All this empowerment debate is either being ignored or is above the heads of Scottish Government. This bulletin will continue to document the progress of English community empowerment legislation. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7711
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: Paths for All Partnership, Senscot, CVS Inverclyde, Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, The GRAB Trust, Croy Miners Welfare Charitable Society
EVENTS: AGM & Launch of Business Acquisition, Social Firms Scotland, 9 Dec; Alternative Giving 2008, WKCIL / Craft Town Scotland, 23 Dec
NETWORKS 1st News: Some good news for Re-Union. They have recently received two generous donations from Edinburgh Quay Ltd and the EDI Group to increase their work on the canal in west Edinburgh and at Edinburgh Quay in the city centre. The donations will enable Re-Union to have a broader mix of social and cultural activities and also help increase visitor and volunteer numbers. For more NETWORKS News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=61
Two announcements this week from Big Issue Invest. They are offering loan finance from £50,000 to £250,000 to meet shorter-term cash-flow or longer term investment needs to social enterprises. They have also appointed a new Director of Investments, Ed Siegel, who will oversee their new social enterprise investment fund to be launched early in 2009. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7712
After last year’s successful `Community of Business` events, another series is scheduled for the new year. The 2009 programme will include events in Dundee and Renfrewshire and culminate with a SCDI business breakfast in Glasgow at the end of February. If you’d like to know more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7713
Over the last two years, Senscot, in partnership with the Scottish Forum for Public Health and Scottish Govt, has hosted `Fit for Purpose` Conferences. These conferences have sought to bring together health and social care practitioners from both the social enterprise and public sectors. The 3rd Conference will be taking place in Edinburgh on 3rd March 2009. Shona Robison, Minister for Health, will be the keynote speaker and this year’s conference will focus on contracting, social clauses and added value. http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=7646. For more, contact email@example.com
Over the years, the bulletin has profiled a number of enterprises established by Aberdeen Foyer to generate independent income to support their work with disadvantaged young people in the North East. Their latest initiative is Foyer Drive, a joint venture with Roadwise, an independent road training organisation, that offers a comprehensive range of driver training from tuition and road safety to corporate safe driving packages. As always, surpluses will be directed towards their work in preventing and alleviating youth homelessness and unemployment. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7718
Muhammad Yunus – speaking in Glasgow on 1st December 2008.
‘‘From working with the poor I have learned the unlimited potential in each human being. But I have also learnt unfortunately, that we have not created a society with allows us to unleash that potential. If we place a perfect seed from a great tree into a tiny pot it will make a Bonsai Tree – a tiny replica of its potential. That’s what the poor are – stunted Bonsai people. Give the poor the same opportunities you had, and watch the miracle unfold.’’
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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