Dear members and friends,
When I was about 30 my business failed- couldn’t hack it at home either- so I ran away – blanked everything- holed up alone in one room above a bookies- stayed more or less drunk for a month. I didn’t wash or eat or sleep properly- it was like a systems shutdown. I clearly remember the elation of giving up- of escape. No one knew where I was – that wee room was my asylum – I felt safe. Left alone, I began to fill up with something good. As the weeks passed, something healed- then the urge to get my show back on the road. I often wonder why some people walk away while others stay in the game. For me, it’s something to do with survival – not going mad.
I thought about that episode watching ‘Famous, Rich and Homeless’ on telly recently- 5 well-heeled volunteers spending 10 days as vagrants on the streets of London- without money or possessions. I found it compelling. Tired, dirty, hungry, demoralised- we watch as their confidence, their very sense of themselves- unravels. They all found begging the worst- being ignored- feeling invisible. The guy called Bruce kept repeating that he’d seen things he never wanted to see. Was he upset by stuff happening on the streets or within himself? As we walk past beggars- averting our eyes- we tell ourselves that we are not like them. This programme showed different. Great TV.
Work towards establishing a UK wide social enterprise mark (SEM) continues on schedule for a November roll out- but discussions have taken a turn which makes me uneasy. The English Government (OTS) are keen to bring two things together- a widespread awareness campaign about social enterprise- and the roll out of the SEM. The wider campaign is to raise profile and will invite a large number of people and agencies to sign up their support- the SEM is only for authentic social enterprises. The problem arises because it is proposed that both the campaign and the SEM are to carry brands “which have a strong visual continuity”- which means customers are intended to assume that they are parts of the same thing. This implies that anyone who claims to support social enterprise will be able to brand alongside us- which we think will invite confusion about what the brand actually identifies. We’ve made our views known. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8358
The Supporting Voluntary Action programme, (SVA) jointly funded by Scottish Govt and the Lottery with around £20m, has been fraught with difficulties and delays. It is paramount that by the end of the current funding period, a shared vision and direction emerges for a Scottish Third Sector support infrastructure. On the 27th of May, SVA’s Shaping the Future away day considered a draft vision which delineates the Third Sector into three subsets: Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise. I’m sure they’ve got this right but the community sector infrastructure is seriously underinvested and doesn’t even appear on the radar of the Scottish Govt or the Lottery. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8354
On TV on Tuesday, Muhammad Yunus called people trapped on welfare “Zoo people- fed, housed, with health care but who’d be happier in the wild, caring for themselves.” In our culture his analogy gives offence – perhaps it takes fresh eyes to see how our benefits system can disempower its recipients. Good luck to the new Grameen bank in Glasgow. It will at least open a window on a situation we all know needs sorted. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8353
In order to qualify for charitable status in Scotland an organisation can’t charge fees which are ‘unduly restrictive.’ In the Scottish understanding of charity- it has to be ‘affordable.’ For some of us it is outrageous that the Scottish regulator (OSCR) continues to give preferential treatment to private schools, which openly flaunt their exclusivity. Stephen Maxwell outlines the latest episode of OSCR obfuscation. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8355
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 Centre of Health and Wellbeing, Voluntary Action Fund, Show Racism the Red Card, Hamilton & Clydesdale Women’s Aid, ARC Scotland, YMCA Scotland, Sustainable Scotland Network (Keep Scotland Beautiful), East Renfrewshire Women’s Aid, Bethany Christian Trust, Christian Aid
EVENTS: Compassionate Living Fayre Edinburgh’09, 25 Jul; Stress Awareness at Work, 21 Aug;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Over the next couple of months, Senscot will, with support from Cooperative Development Scotland (CDS), be developing a legal model specifically for Local Social Enterprise Networks (LSEN). The basis for this work came form the LSEN Blueprint produced last year with input from the Network Reps meetings. The Community Benefit Society model was of interest to a number of the Networks, however it became clear that the costs for this legal model would have been prohibitive without a bespoke set of Model Rules being written up, which Senscot agreed to look into. For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=97
Good news for all of us who support the campaign for a Community Allowance, whereby benefit claimants can earn some money for community work without affecting their benefits. The DWP are keen to run with some pilots and have asked the Create Consortium to submit a modified bid. Looks like this is going to happen. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8351
The Post Bank Coalition has published its detailed proposals to transform the Post Office branch network in to a people’s bank using the government owned Northern Rock. A spokesman for the New Economics Foundation said that a Post Bank could help build strong, resilient local economies that can bond communities together. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8352
The Community Retailing Network has received ERDF funding to aid the survival and growth of rural shops in Scotland http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8370
The Scottish Government will introduce a new Housing Bill to parliament in 2010 and the first draft is out for consultation. EVH (Employers in Voluntary Housing) has produced an excellent briefing paper. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8369
Community Powerdown, a new consortium website to help communities reduce their carbon footprint has launched this week http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8371
I’m a great fan of Firstport’s programmes of awards to social entrepreneurs- especially level 1 (up to £5k) which gets to people beyond the reach of most programmes. Over the years the level 2 awards (up to £20k) have helped kick start some notable businesses. Here’s the latest batch of level 2 entrepreneurs. I think we will hear more from these four. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8356
This week’s profile The Wee Gallery is a new social enterprise based in Kelso and headed up by serial social entrepreneur Diane Henderson. The Gallery, previously home to Abbey Soft Play for 9 years until its recent expansion into the ACE Community Centre, opens its doors to the public for the first time on the 11th of July with an exhibition that is a collaboration between local P7 pupils and artist Jane Gaze. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=8357
This quote is from Charles Handy’s book ‘The Empty Raincoat.’ ‘Portfolio people’ is his term for independent individuals who determine their own work patterns and interests.
“It is tempting to call for better leadership, but we probably expect too much from the leaders of the nations. Those nations are too big; the connections are not strong enough… the commitment to the future not long enough. It is better to look smaller, to our now smaller organisations, to local communities and cities, to families and clusters of friends, to small networks of portfolio people with time to give to something bigger than themselves. We have to fashion our own directions in our own places.”
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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