SENSCOT MEMBER’S BULLETIN No. 286, FRIDAY 8th JULY 2005
Dear members and friends,
On Monday I travelled to Colonsay to visit the new monument in memory of all who drowned on the Arandora Star in 1940. My grandfather Lorenzo Demarco was among them – I wanted to say goodbye to the ancestor I never knew. Drive 100 miles up the A85 – Callander, Crianlarich to Oban. A leisurely 3 hours, toddling along behind the inevitable caravans – the scenery soothes my soul. Leave car at Tesco’s – board CalMac ferry ‘Lord of the Isles’ – relaxing 2 hour cruise to Colonsay. Met off the boat by Kevin Byrne, a new friend, who walks with me to the remote northern shore, where the monument is placed – along the way identifying seabirds and wildflowers unknown to me. On a still summer evening, in a remarkable spot high above the sea – I place a stone on the new cairn.
Later, in the hotel, I meet members of Colonsay’s Community Development Company – hear their plans – feel their fire – real social entrepreneurs – warriors of light. The big issue is ownership – unbelievably in these times, Colonsay is still the personal fiefdom of some Lord who controls all the land. Scotland’s islands should be owned by their inhabitants who will invest their energy and creativity for posterity. But these folk have visited Gigha – seen what’s possible – it can only be a matter of time – let the people be Lords of the Isles.
Three bodies washed up from the shipwreck of the Arandora Star were never identified – remain buried in Colonsay’s graveyard. It occurs to me that one of these could be Nonno Lorenzo – so I pretend that he’s here – and say goodbye. May he rest in peace.
Last Saturday’s march in Edinburgh lifted our hearts – so many folk on the streets in support of justice – a remarkable moral force moving with discipline and dignity – telling our leaders to ‘get it sorted!’ Great credit to Geldof and the rest of them who brought awareness – catalysts of a massive political lobby which won’t go away now. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_news.php?viewid=2772). My only uneasiness is that everyone seems a bit too pally – as though our campaign has been co-opted into the G8 process. Are we just going to get smoke and mirrors again?
George Monbiot wrote on Tuesday that the world’s key institutions – including international aid – are controlled by global business interests – and that the G8 is part of this. Because of a few hundred professional nutters – the anti capitalist activists are cast in the media as ‘warriors of darkness’ – but I can’t get rid of a sneaking suspicion that their critique of global neo liberalism is not far wrong – and that everyone staying pally may not remain an option. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=2776).
Very interesting letter from Ian Mitchell in Wednesday’s Herald telling how he was denied access by the police to Edinburgh’s sheriff courts on Tuesday morning. He received an apology from the clerk of the court but the incident is worrying for two reasons. First the law entitles everyone to a ‘fair and public hearing’ – so Tuesday’s court business was rendered illegal. But more worrying is the ‘attitude’ – the cavalier suspension of core civil rights as a response to possible disruption. http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=2775.
The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition sends us news that the Welsh Assembly has now launched its strategy for social enterprise – a Welsh version of the DTI strategy and much better than what we have in Scotland. Our much mutilated Social Economy Action plan was surely only a stopgap to get Futurebuilders out the door – we must assume that the promised Advisory Group will produce a proper strategy. Let’s be getting on with it. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_res.php?viewid=2783).
Alistair Grimes – Chief Executive of Community Enterprise in Strathclyde (CEIS) is to leave the company which he has built over the past 8 years into a brand leader. On Sept 1st he will take up a Directorship in Rocket Science – the Edinburgh consultancy. This week Alistair said ‘It was not an easy decision – but I am looking forward to ‘new challenges.” The CEIS job will be advertised shortly.
YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to email@example.com and we’ll post them on our site. This week:
JOBS: 54 vacancies, incl. posts with: The Lennox Partnership, Skoll Centre, Multi Cultural Family Base, Inclusion Alliance, Share Scotland, Mercy Corps, Scottish Churches Housing Action.
EVENTS: Business in the Parliament Conference 2005, Edinburgh, Sept 8-9; Proposals call for: Practical Connections event for community and participatory arts practitioners, Edinburgh, 8-10 Sept. ‘Making Knowledge Work’, social capital conference, Stirling, 25-28 Oct;
A number of local events to give potential participants a chance to hear about and get a ‘taster’ of the Social Academy and its programmes. First up is a joint event with Kibble on 27 July: www.theacademy-ssea.org.
Where social enterprises have attained a degree of ‘trading maturity’ it is the responsibility of Scottish Enterprise to provide them with business support through its Business Gateway service. But how seriously do the LECs take this task? – how effective is their service? Senscot has commissioned independent research to look at the performance of the individual LECS – and to make recommendations on how it could be improved. Les Huckfield, who is leading the project, would like to hear from anyone in our networks with a story to tell – good or bad. If you prefer, it can be confidential – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s bulletin profiles a Development Trust based in Dumfries and Galloway, the Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society. The Trust was established in 1997 and, initially, had the aim of recording the natural and cultural heritage of the village, and then to raise awareness of the area’s heritage to locals and visitors alike. The Trust is now involved in a wide range of activities, including creating and reinstating 7 heritage sites in the village. Their future plans include a project to conserve a graveyard on the site of the original village and the creation of a geology trail from Kirkconnel to Wanlockhead. They are also investigating the potential of establishing exhibition space, a tea-room and low cost tourist accommodation. For further info’, see ‘Profiles’ on the Senscot website: http://senscot.spl21.net/recent_prof.php?W21ID=112.
When urban regeneration programmes were getting underway in the 1970s – Social Scientist Chelly Halsey questioned whether we were doing anything more than ‘creating a series of sandpits for middle class professionals to play in.’ Thirty years as a community worker convinced me that the top down partnership model is a failure. What is required is investment in strong community owned anchor organisations like Development Trusts and a new breed of social entrepreneur/change agents to help communities build assets and income streams. Matthew Pike, director of the Scarman Trust, has written a good article in New Start about tackling inequality in the UK. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_news.php?viewid=2801).
Here are 3 quotes on the same theme – the importance of solitude – even within a close relationship:~~~ ‘Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by any affection. Keep your solitude. The day, if it ever comes, when you are given true affection there will be no opposition between interior solitude and friendship, quite the reverse. It is even by this infallible sign that you recognise it’ Simone Weil. ~~~ ‘Love one another, but do not make a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup….And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.’ Kahlil Gibran. ~~~ ‘Love consists in this – that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.’ Rainer Maria Rilke
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.