Dear members and friends,
Wednesday lunch time – my favourite beach restaurant run by Miguel and Rosita; 28 degrees under a blue sky – gentle breeze from Morocco rustles the palm trees. I’ve shed my winter garb – for polo shirt, shorts, bare tootsies in the sand; the wash of the surf is unclenching my soul. I flew out yesterday – Easyjet from Glasgow; sat next to a woman aged fortyish – with a child just turned one – a wee ‘ginger nut’. I have rarely seen a mother so besotted – so attuned to her child; the wee one’s joy enchants all of us. But on the ground – as we approach passport control – we are hurried through a side door; a man, late fifties, is spread-eagled on the floor – a paramedic is pounding his chest. We lower our eyes – file past.
That’s what I’m thinking of now – how the laughter of children – and the dread of death – are all part of the strange unfolding of this life. It is not given to us to understand what it’s all for; it is enough to navigate our way through it. When I remember – I try to still my mind – bring my attention to the detail of the present; the pattern of sunlight through this awning; sparrows pecking crumbs at my feet; the babble of Spanish voices – the exciting way they roll their Rs – almost sexy; Rosita’s smile, as she passes – the warmth of friendship. Folk smiling at each other – with the sun in their faces. Let the good times roll. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13765
We still have copies of ‘Kindness’ – Laurence’s latest selection of bulletin intros (2007-12). If you’d like a copy, see http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
The second leader in Saturday’s Herald was testament that many values from the counterculture are becoming mainstream issues. The piece introduced me to Whitmuir Farm – an established organic food producer near West Linton – which is offering itself for community ownership. A heartening story. Senscot’s own work has identified a huge unmet appetite for this kind of venture – thwarted by the unacceptable difficulty in Scotland of getting hold of a piece of land. Scottish Govt could encourage each local authority to create a land bank – parcels of land specifically available for local community ownership – co-housing, co-farming, co woodlands etc. Major local landowners would be ‘encouraged’ to ‘hand back’ some of the common land which was stolen. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13746
Important report from Scottish Govt called ‘Sustainable Responsible Banking’; a strategy for Scotland. They want more diversity in the sector; there is good understanding of the potential of credit unions, mutuals, and what they call community banking. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13759 Also a report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) – looking at what they call ‘Stakeholder Banks’; by this they mean CDFIs, Credit Unions etc. Data from 65 countries indicates that they offer better value for customers. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13741
The UK Govt’s blurring of the definition of social enterprise is clearly bearing fruit. They have just produced the ‘G8 Factsheet: social enterprise and social investment’. We are now being told there are 180,000 social enterprise employers in the UK – including sole traders, the total number of social enterprises is 688,000.
In other words, if you want to call yourself a social enterprise – why not? See,
Following the above nonsense, a welcome note of caution from Jerr Boschee (co-founder of the US Social Enterprise Alliance). A few years back, Jerr was a regular face on the SE ‘circuit’ in the UK as an advisor to the UK Govt’s then Social Enterprise Unit. In a recent interview, he cautions the SE movement in the UK against ‘setting unrealistic expectations’. One of his observations: "People start making claims – then, someone does some digging, and it turns out that the claims people are making are based on mist". Worth a look. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13760
The present economic system is rigged to favour global corporations – to the detriment of the common good. Many of us want Scotland to move towards a new economic model that delivers wellbeing and social justice within environmental limits. This is the theme of the 2013 Fred Edwards Trust Lecture to be delivered by Tim Jenkins from New Economics Foundation on Wed 19th June. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13742
In his visionary book ‘No More Throwaway People’ – Edgar Kahn introduced me to the notion of ‘co-production’ – whereby the users of caring services become service providers. An English organisation MySupportBroker (MSB) has designed a 3 month online course; it enables disabled people – who have experience of the care system – to use it to assist others – to practise as brokers. Caveat: MSB calls itself a ‘social business’ – which in England can mean a private for profit business. This venture hasn’t reached Scotland yet – so there’s an opportunity here. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13743
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: Edinburgh University Students’ Association, Transition Extreme Sports Limited, Turning Point Scotland, Clackmannanshire CAB, The John Muir Trust, The Scottish Interfaith Council
EVENTS: Leith Festival Bruncheon! featuring The Sound of Muesli, 8 Jun; Browsing Hour, 12 Jun; Discover Social Enterprise, 12 Jun; Badges of Honour: People’s Palace, 12 Jun; LeithLate, 13 Jun;
TENDERS: Newmains Community Hub Building, Consultancy Services – Alternative Delivery Vehicles For General Fund Homelessness Services in Fife and Flooring for St Columba’s RC High School, Dunfermline. For more details, see www.readyforbusiness.org
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: We attended the launch of the Glasgow SEN’s Mapping Study on Wednesday. This impressive study, by Social Value Lab, is stacked with interesting and revealing stats. Examples include: over 500 social enterprises; employing circa 13,000 people; annual income around £767 million (stats include Housing Associations and Credit Unions); over £300 in financial reserves; and 51% of SEs generating over half their income from trading. The Report demonstrate not only the scale and substance of the SE community in Glasgow but also a maturing sector in the city that is making an increasing contribution both socially and economically. See report, http://www.se-networks.net/shownetwork.php?org=3524 . For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=295.
Employment opportunities for young people are high on everybody’s agenda: Scottish Govt; UK Govt; Local Govt; the EU. Sadly, despite the plethora of initiatives in recent times, the situation has deteriorated over the last 20 years. A report from think tank, the Scotland Institute, states that youth employment today is characterised by short term, part time, poorly paid work and with much more limited prospects of any future improvement. It calls for Scottish Govt to do more. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13761
News last week of a new initiative from The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) – the Coalfields Regeneration School. The ‘school’ will teach a range of management and development skills to grass roots organisations in Scotland’s former mining communities. The intention is help local organisations become more enterprising, develop funding skills, strengthen their governance and leadership and lay down strong foundations for growth. It will be run by Tracey Muirhead from the School for Social Entrepreneurs – Scotland. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13690
If the telly’s crap – often listen to a TED talk – very high standard of speakers. This one by Juan Enriquez suggests that the speed of advances in information technology is causing human brains to evolve in real time – that a mutation is underway – that our children could become a different species. I’ve rejected his conclusion – but his talk made me think. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13777
This week’s bulletin profiles The Salmon Bothy, a social enterprise run by Cultural SEN member, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival (www.scottishtraditionalboatfestival.org.uk) in Portsoy in Aberdeenshire. The Salmon Bothy comprises of a museum – housing artefacts and information about Portsoy harbour and the salmon industry; a bothy or bunkhouse with sleeping accommodation; as well as a community space for venue hire – used by local clubs, theatre groups and for folk music evenings. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=13744
Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal God – but he described himself as religious.
"The most beautiful and deepest experience a person can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we can comprehend of the knowable world. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."
That’s all for this week.
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