Dear members and friends,
I’m in Spain, ha ha ha – exploring wild and wonderful country in the highlands behind Estepona. I’ve stopped in some remote hamlet – at bar ‘Inigo’, which is also a shop and post office. Inside 4 old guys are playing dominoes – a telly disturbs the peace – so I’m outside writing this with village bread and cheese and coffee. At the roadside, wild sweet peas and rock roses splash purple and white – it is 10 o’clock and the sun is trying to disperse morning mist.
Dinner last night at Antonio’s in the Port – a favourite watering hole for the gang of ex pats I’ve known for years. Sat between Kate and Molly – old and easy friends – great gossip about auld acquaintances – no-one was spared. Some taken by the drink – mental illness; financial or physical calamity; those who had affairs – split up; those who couldn’t adapt – went home. ”Folk move here looking for escapist fantasy,” said Kate ”try to live every day as if it was Fiesta. But it’s the mundane simple stuff that makes a good life”.
Noon now – the mist has burnt off and it’s getting warmer. I can see a dozen mist girdled mountains – the snow covered peak of Torrecilla (6200 ft). I once thought to live in the grandeur of rural Andalucia, but I’ve come to accept that I won’t leave Scotland now – too much part of the fibre of who I am. ”And fair as these green foreign hills may be, they are not the hills of home”.
I’ve been working around community empowerment in Scotland for 40 years and the most bare-faced abuse of bureaucratic power I’ve ever experienced is the unilateral decision of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to abandon second stage transfer (SST) of houses to local community ownership. Glasgow City Council has published its reaction to the current GHA strategy and Steve Inch doesn’t mince his words: ‘GHA’s proposed removal of the commitment to SST beyond the present round of transfers would be a unilateral decision that the Council would not accept. The Council regards the commitment to SST as a key policy objective and it should be reinstated as a key GHA purpose. Local community ownership is a cornerstone of regeneration.’ We have a new minister for Housing and Communities (Alex Neil) who will shortly publish his Community Empowerment Strategy. A great deal depends on the priority the SNP administration gives to local empowerment – which so far hasn’t been much. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7923
Two weeks ago, a reader raised some concerns about the Government childcare vouchers scheme – in particular its usefulness to lower income families. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7860 Here is a Scottish Government response to those concerns – which you wouldn’t call effusive. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7920 More reflective is this two-pager from Marie Marin, CEO of a Northern Ireland social enterprise ‘Employers for Childcare’. Marie wants to roll out her service into Scotland and is looking for a suitable social enterprise partner. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7921
‘The Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘halo’ is too easily transferred to big supermarkets and this could damage the whole movement’. That was the view of sector experts in a debate at London School of Economics last week. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7928 This is one the issues raised by the option of introducing a Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) to Scotland. Are we looking for a loosely defined broad church or rigorous accreditation? Senscot will explore the appetite for a Scottish SEM at a `discussion forum` on 18 March (1.30-4pm) at the Melting Pot in Edinburgh. If you’d like to attend, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . See details, http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=7911
Enjoyed this interview with Penny Newman, the new chief executive of Fifteen Foundation – impressive balance of business and the social – but don’t agree with her on the imperative to grow. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7922
Hugh Donnelly, of Co-operative Development Scotland, tells us that in Finland there are 1230 Labour co-operatives. ‘They are a fascinating combination of job seekers club, employment agency and training agency. Unemployed people become members. The co-op then finds them temporary work, renting out their labour by the day or hour like a private employment agency. They operate mainly in construction and office work, but also in computer services, accounting, cleaning, social services, and maintenance work.’ Can’t see why this wouldn’t work in Scotland. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7918
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 Neilston Development Trust, Ullapool Community Trust, Upkeep, Kilsyth International Carnival C.I.C., Social Enterprise Clydebank Ltd, Central Scotland Forest Trust, Firstport
EVENTS: Alternative Finance for Community Assets, DTA Scotland, 19 Mar; Social Enterprises invited into the Dragon’s Den, Fife Council, 18 Mar; Social Enterprise Mark: Discussion Forum, Senscot, 18 Mar; Fintry Renewable Energy Show, Fintry Development Trust, 8 and 9 May
NETWORKS 1st News: Colin writes: Tuesday’s ‘Fit for Purpose ’09’ at the StoryTelling Centre in Edinburgh, saw a full house hear a range of speakers including Minister Shona Robison. There was a real buzz at the event with real evidence of a growing understanding of how social enterprises can deliver innovative, responsive services to local communities. For links to presentations and more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=75
Got our dates wrong last week for CEiS`s Gala Dinner. The Dinner takes place on 2nd April at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow and marks the start of a series of events celebrating CEIS`s 25th anniversary. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=7902
Senscot has been doing weekly profiles on social enterprises starting with the Birse Community Trust back in December 2001. This archive attracts 300 hit weekly. Recently, a number of people have been updating their profile – like WASPs, FSB Enterprises and The Melting Pot. If you’d like to do so, contact email@example.com . See full list of profiles http://www.senscot.net/fulllist.php
This week’s bulletin profiles a community enterprise that is part of the Grassmarket Mission in Edinburgh. Based in the historic Greyfriars Kirkyard, GROW (Greyfriars Recycling of Wood) recycles old church pews. These are refurbished and restored to the specification of the buyer. GROW range of products include seats, garden benches, frames for mirrors, seats, and planters for the garden.For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7924
One of the most impressive organisations I know about (in the world) is L’Arche (The Ark) – where groups of people, with and without learning disabilities, live and work together in small communities. L’Arche was founded 40 years ago by Jean Vanier – based around the spiritual values of love and caring. Their International Federation now has 130 communities in 30 countries – including one getting underway in Glasgow, which is recruiting for a part time development worker. The money’s not great but the work is http://www.senscot.net/view_job.php?viewid=7919
Here’s a quote from the spiritual writer, Thomas Moore: ‘It’s important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don’t necessarily nurture soul. The soul has different concerns, of equal value: downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people. And any animal’s rhythm of rest and activity.’
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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