Senscot Bulletin: 12.06.20

As previously notified, at the end of June I retire from Senscot and my weekly column; 1034 bulletins over 20 years – not bad eh? Along with Social Firms Scotland, Senscot is forming an exciting new entity, called SE Connect, which will continue to circulate its weekly bulletins about frontline social and community enterprise in Scotland and beyond; you will continue to receive these normally. Personally, I don’t feel ‘done’ with writing, so I’ve set up my own wee independent blog site – which requires separate subscription. It’s called Larry’s Lunchette – a name recycled from my first venture, sixty years ago – so a bit of nostalgia; it’s a pleasingly modest name, personal, convivial, no ongoing significance. I love Steven Camley’s cartoon. So continued access to my weekly slaverings, requires that you subscribe here.

Before this week, I’d never heard of the 74 year old biologist turned Buddhist, Matthieu Ricard, but I can’t exaggerate the pleasure I got from reading this interview with him; I’m in almost total harmony with the philosophy he espouses: “I don’t have huge plans – I don’t want to die on an aeroplane – it’s time to go back to the hermitage – a few years of peaceful life; It’s my time to rejoice and prepare for death in peace and joy’. Reading about people like Ricard steadies me; from a lifetime of practice they can quieten their minds – till it’s only kindness that makes sense anymore. T.S.Eliot’s insight: ‘a condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything’

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After the Black Death – in the second half of the fourteenth century – the peasants demanded and achieved significant social advances (good article).  Much journalism during our pandemic is weighing the likelihood of another such peasants revolt.  The FTs Simon Kuper looks this week at the realistic prospects of progressive change: “Most govts still deny that they can print money with impunity, as advocated by modern monetary theory, but what matters is that they are doing it”.  He says radical reform in the US has never seemed less improbable.  What an irony, if in both the UK and US, the biggest fiscal stimulus is modern times is delivered by right wing, populist administrations

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Nigerian poet and writer Ben Okri has posted an inspiring article about the killing of George Floyd – how, ‘I can’t breathe’ is now the powerful mantra of oppression around the world: “This is a great moment in the life of humanity – rich with the possibilities for change.”

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Enough Scotland published an excellent report this week – ‘A Call from Scotland to Embrace Degrowth Thinking’.  I particularly like their reiteration of the five international principles for creating a just society; I’d subscribe to all five.  Scotland has many groups whose work connects to degrowth thinking – but we Scots are slow to share collaborative networks.  Subscribe to ENOUGH newsletter.

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In Australia, despite the deaths of 432 Aboriginals in custody since 1991 – no one has ever been convicted; racist silence and complicity are to blame.  This article says, that whilst there is much in their legal structure to inhibit prosecution – the basis of the silence itself is colonisation and white supremacy.

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In Saturday’s Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole wrote: “The violence of racism is deeply embedded in American society; in 2016, white American’s elected a racist president.  That privilege comes at a cost.”  The price, of course, is a society founded on a fundamental hypocrisy – that we are not all created equal.

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Quote from Arundhati Roy – from this FT article: The Pandemic is a Portal.

“Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

On 1st July, Senscot and Social Firms Scotland (SFS) will merge into a new, single entity – Social Enterprise Connect Scotland (SE Connect). This will not be news to many of you – and follows not only on the back of the SE Review of social enterprise intermediaries (part of the SE Action Plan 2017-20) –  but also after almost a decade of working closely together on a range of issues that, we believe, have been of importance to frontline social and community enterprises across Scotland. Both Senscot and SFS have played their respective roles in helping to support the Scottish social enterprise community over the last two decades – and our new body – SE Connect – will now act as the national representative body for social enterprise and social firms in Scotland – seeking to represent their interests and values.  We are committed to working with others across the sector – at both a local and national level – to help develop policies and practices that will add value to communities across the country – and to raise awareness of the important contribution made by social and community enterprises to the social and economic fabric of our country. In the weeks ahead, leading up to the merger, we will provide further updates and details on our progress.

NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.

Last week, with Social Firms Scotland (SFS) and the SENs, we published our SE Reset Report. This was on the back of SE Reset Week which saw over 800 participants engage in over 20 meetings/sessions – via Zoom. Two main questions ran through each session – what are your future plans for your social enterprise; and what funding and support is required to get you there? From these two questions – three main themes emerged: collaboration; peer support and networking; and mental health. We will be working with others over the months ahead to ensure frontline social enterprises can access the support they need.

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Senscot is holding an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Friday, 19th June 2020. This follows approval at our recent AGM in March of the proposal to create a merged charitable entity with Social Firms Scotland as the representative body for social enterprises and social firms in Scotland. The EGM will seek members’ approval on three special resolutions towards finalising the establishment of our new entity.

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A new funding programme that may be of interest to many SEN members has been launched by the National Lottery. The Emerging Futures Fund is designed to help communities move towards recovery and renewal after the impact of COVID-19 – drawing on all the creativity seen in communities and across civil society. It will look to support projects that look at how things are changing, what is needed in this transition, and what is possible in the future. £20k-50k available – with a closing date of 25th June 2020.

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Frontline News: Sport SEN Newsletter (June Edition) went out to SEN members last week – and included a video of Sport SEN’s recent Zoom session on – ‘Getting you facilities ready for Sport’. See Video (50 mins): 

See CEIS’ response to the Govt’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. This follows last week’s links to  responses from Senscot and others – and Scottish Community Alliance’s call for a New Deal for Communities:

The 2020 SURF Awards are now open for applications in 5 categories: Community-Led Regeneration; Supporting Youth Employment; Most Improved Place; Housing & Regeneration; and Creative Regeneration:

Social Shifters is running its Circles Programme – offering peer-to-peer support for charities and social enterprises. An open information session (via Zoom) is being run on Thurs 18 June at 1pm. Sign up here.

Cultural and Tourism SEN Newsletter (June Edition) now available – covering updates on members’ activities during lockdown – as well as latest info on creative industries – as well as tourism and heritage:

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This week’s bulletin spotlights another SEN member that – in response to the Covid 19 crisis – has stepped up to provide a range of services across its local community. Sport SEN member Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise (CJCE) has been part of a network of Community Resilience Hubs, working in partnership with East Ayrshire Council and Vibrant Communities to provide essential services to the most vulnerable in their local community. CJCE’s services include starting up and stocking a food larder that has been delivering over 60 emergency food parcels a week to local households. In addition, they have been distributing Covid 19 survival packs for children designed by Save the Children as well as dental hygiene packs from Childsmile at NHS Ayrshire and Arran. As well as all this, they are continuing to keep members engaged virtually with fitness sessions and challenges during the recent Volunteers Week.