Dear members and friends,
I don’t watch much TV -but I like to keep the radio on – tuned to some easy listening channel; Smooth Radio Glasgow was my favourite till I discovered Rupert Murdoch owns it. I recognise most of the songs played – especially the oldies – but I may not know the title or the artist or the lyrics (my hearing’s poor). I have no interest in who is currently ‘hot’ or ‘cool’ – If I like it, I exclude nothing – even Neil Diamond. Sometimes I pause whatever I’m doing – just go with the music.
At the top end, of course, music does more than entertain – it evokes nobility of soul. Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ has this grandeur – the swelling confidence that, yes, we can make things the way they should be. But nobility isn’t only assertive; when at the opening of the Scots’ Parliament, Sheena Wellington, unaccompanied, sang ‘For a’that and a’that’ – there were tears in my eyes – I felt the grandeur of Burns’ egalitarian vision – that we can make a world where what is good and honest and fair prospers.
The poet Philip Larkin was a great jazz fan – in particular, he loved the magic of Sidney Bechet. He even dedicated a poem to the New Orleans legend in which he says: "On me your voice falls as they say love should – like an enormous yes". What a great line! Sometimes that’s how music feels to me – like an enormous yes.
I’m on the board of a charity called ‘With Kids’ which supports children and families in Glasgow’s East End. The head of one of the nursery schools we cover says that from her new intake of 3 year olds – more than half already have problems – with less than ‘normal’ emotional capacity to cope with life and ‘significant additional needs’. This sad state of affairs chimes with what Frank Field’s recent report suggests – that for many children from disadvantaged backgrounds – by the time they reach nursery "life’s race is already run" such is the impact of the first 2 years. More than universal benefits, Field wants to see resources better directed – with incentives to target ‘hardest to reach’ parents. He also suggests that Sure Start Centre’s may be more effectively run by locally embedded community organisations – which are better able to reach the most needy. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10476
During the decades that the Labour party ruled Scotland – it showed no interest in empowering communities. This was not however the case in the Highland region, which under different rule, has long pursued a policy of supporting local ‘anchor’ organisations. It is therefore no surprise that when the prestigious SURF awards for best practice in regeneration where awarded in Glasgow last week – that three out of the four winners were from the Highland and Islands, where innovative community action has strong tradition. See winners, https://senscot.net/?viewid=10477
This week sees the launch in England of Scaling to Success, a programme to support organisations looking to replicate their work through franchising. I don’t agree with the prevailing view that franchising is an appropriate route on social business. If anyone wants to copy anything Senscot does – you’re welcome – we’ll help you set up. If you want to purchase services from us – we can discuss it – but it won’t be a condition of our relationship. I’d rather see the social enterprise movement follow the values of ‘open source’ activity than those of the Microsoft empire. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10478
Senscot is a founder member of unLtd – the UK charity which supports social entrepreneurs – we still serve on its London Board. Katherine Danton, unLtd Research Director, has been taking a look at what constitutes success for a social entrepreneur and posted this thoughtful piece. I know it’s not helpful – but I remain unconvinced about the measurement of social impact. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10487
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: Outside the Box Development Support, GIFT, The Knoydart Community, Equal Say, The Big Issue in Scotland, Rosemount Lifelong Learning, Forth Environment Link, Young Peoples Futures
EVENTS: Burns Supper, 15 Jan; Tender writing training, 30 Jan; Whose Economy? the third in a series of four seminars, 17 Feb; Climate Change Effective Communication, 17 Feb;
TENDERS: Supply of Electrical Equipment and Consumables, Production and Distribution of Fifelife, Short Break and Respite Services for Adults – Bearsden, UK-Hamilton: floor coverings
NETWORKS 1st: Since the Scottish Govt included ‘Social Enterprise Development’ as a function of the Single Interfaces (SIs), it has become critical that SENs (where they exist) are actively engaged and consulted if social enterprise is to be properly represented at a local level. We know the business plans for the SI’s are now being scrutinised by the Scottish Govt’s Third Sector team, yet there is still no coherence to how the SIs are engaging with SENs. Reports range from Moray SEN being given an equal share while others don’t even merit a mention in their local budget plan. Senscot is circulating the attached document to each SI as part of our campaign, with others, to ensure appropriate social enterprise representation across the country. See, http://senscot.org/docs/TSIFrameworkforSENsDec10.doc For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=169
Senscot currently has an office available for rent in Manor Place (comfortably four people). If you’re interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . We also have copies of Laurence’s book "You’ve got to laugh", Xmas gifts? £10 each – 2 for £15. If you’re interested, contact email@example.com
News this week of the first acquisition through Social Firms Scotland’s Acquiring Business For Good (AB4G) programme. The programme supports social enterprises and charities wishing to acquire private businesses and transform them into social firms. Aberdeen SEN member, CFINE has now purchased the Fruit Mart in Longside, Aberdeenshire. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10475
Scotland boasts several social enterprises which stand comparison with their equivalents, anywhere in the world. One of these is the Glasgow based Wise Group (also one of the biggest) which has just been chosen as the only Third Sector group in Scotland to main provider of the Govt’s new Work Programme. LINK
Another Scottish ‘star’ is Kibble which leads the field in working with youngsters who need help to get their lives back on track. Kibble has asked us to flag up a couple of their initiatives – Project Oskar and their Paisley branch of the Caring Christmas Trees franchise. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=10484
Eight community groups have overcome the last major hurdle with their wind and hydro power projects in the Western Isles. The issue of connection to the National Grid has been holding things up for ages and Nick Gubbins, CEO of Community Energy Scotland, this week paid tribute to the dedication and tenacity of the voluntary groups. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10485
It’s impressive the way David Cameron is sticking to his Big Society theme. I often find myself wondering how this Big Society thing will apply to Scotland. The Community Development Alliance Scotland (CDAS) recently hosted a discussion on this topic – addressed by Martin Sime of SCVO. I found the note of this meeting both informative and illuminating. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10479
A consultation paper ‘Securing the Benefits of Scotland’s Next Energy Revolution’ has been published by our Govt. It asks for responses to proposals for increasing the benefits that Scottish Communities get from the development of renewables. I suspect that by ‘communities’ they mean municipal authorities. It also proposes the transfer of the management and revenues of Scotland’s Crown Estate from London to a new Scottish Fund. About time! http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10480
This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise in Wester Ross – Made in Ullapool. The new venture has been established in a retail unit in the town and provides supported employment for a group of adults who would otherwise face lengthy trips to Dingwall or Inverness. The success of their handmade candles has encouraged Made in Ullapool to look to diversify their products early in the New Year. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=10481
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, speaking on BBC Scotland Newsnight 24th August 2010.
"You took all that North Sea oil and you did very well, for that period, because you were living off your wealth. And you mistook the success of the Thatcher era as a success based on good economic policy when it was really a success based on living off your wealth, leaving future generations impoverished. You should now realise the mistake of the past. You don’t have that asset and you have to make up for lost time".
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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