Not been feeling that great lately – which varies from ‘a bit down’, to physically unwell; is it some kind of winter bug doing the rounds; or – the great fear of the elderly – is this my new ‘normal’.
In 2010, the writer Hilary Mantel had a prolonged spell in hospital, when some ‘routine’ surgery went wrong. In her diary, she wrote: “Illness strips you back to an authentic self without falsehood – but not one you need to meet…all our defences are knocked down in one sweep, and we can’t avoid knowing about our body and what it does; we see things that never should be seen”. We elderly, live very close to this kind of medical calamity which could, ’in one sweep’ leave us helpless; we are able to ‘soldier on’ because the human unconscious simply ignores our inevitable decline and death: helpful denial.
The declining competence of old age matches a natural impulse to withdraw: ‘the old order changes, yielding place to the new’ I’ve agreed with our trustees that I will retire on my 80th birthday (May 10th). Senscot, with Social Firms Scotland, is forming a new representative body for social and community enterprise; this new organisation needs the space to create its own fresh identity; geriatrics like me should make themselves scarce. Friends have asked me about this weekly column – and I wonder myself if these scribblings will continue: ‘the tooth that nibbles at the soul’. If they do, and if there’s enough interest, I’m sure they’ll find a way to circulate.
In December, Corbyn said that although Labour lost the election, they won the argument; Wednesday’s Budget demonstrated what he meant. The Tories have simply moved their tanks on to his lawn: big borrowing, big infrastructure; big state; the sums involved are massive – what the OBR is calling ‘the biggest sustained giveaway for 30 years’. The electorate overwhelmingly chose Johnson’s right wing administration, to deliver a left wing programme of enlarging the state, by borrowing. I can’t be the only person confused; where do the Labour and Tory parties go from here. Martin Kettle, in the Guardian, argues that this budget may redraw the terms of British politics.
With the whole of Italy now in lockdown, I’m taking this virus more seriously – researching what I do and don’t need to do (I don’t need two dozen toilet rolls). Social Europe has an excellent piece by Simon Wren-Lewis about the economic effects of a pandemic; some helpful pointers to what may happen.
I’m a fan of Karyn McCluskey, CEO of Community Justice Scotland (formerly at Violence Reduction Unit). She has just returned, with valuable insights, from a visit to drug rooms in Copenhagen. This word-doc of her tweets on the subject, ‘nails it’ for me; her position is now virtually my own. Let’s just do it.
I don’t often endure Ted Talks 18 minutes long – but I was captivated by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, speaking on ‘the danger of a single story’. She’s referring mainly to the lazy racial stereotypes we adopt, how they come about and how they cause inequality and injustice.
Unlike Neale Lawson, of think tank Compass, I don’t think Basic Income is an idea ‘whose time has come’ – not yet – but down the road, its arrival is inevitable. New things are happening, including Scotland’s feasibility research. This piece outlines some of the individuals/initiatives building momentum.
In my opinion, American writer Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is undervalued in his native land – too honest for most folk. This is an affectionate 4 minute tribute.
“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves…It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of individuals who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters.”
Senscot held its AGM last Friday in Edinburgh – its 20th. It was a particularly significant meeting in that members were being asked to approve this resolution. The resolution was approved unanimously – allowing Senscot to proceed with plans to “create a new merged charitable entity with Social Firms Scotland (SFS) to represent both social firms and social enterprises in Scotland – and that will embed Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) and their members at the heart of its governance structure”. These changes had initially been discussed at last year’s AGM – as we sought to adapt to the evolving SE landscape in Scotland. Having had such a close and productive working relationship with SFS and. of course, the SENs over the years, we are confident that this ‘coming together’ will bring increased benefits and more effective representation for the sector in Scotland. We will provide relevant updates on our progress over the coming months.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
DTA Scotland (DTAS) announced, this week, the appointment of its new Director – Louisa Macdonnell – who joins from Scottish Enterprise. Louisa will take up post in May 2020 – picking up the baton from current Director, Ian Cooke. We wish Louisa the very best of luck in her new post. See Press Release.
On the back of last week’s piece on the new ‘Cultural Strategy for Scotland’, this week’s piece focuses on a new Tourism Strategy for Scotland. The Scottish Tourism Alliance has published – Scotland Outlook 2030 – in partnership with Scottish Govt, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland. The Strategy has four key priorities – Passionate People; Thriving Places; Diverse Businesses; and Memorable Experiences – and, importantly for Tourism SEN members, includes a commitment to engage communities as valued stakeholders in tourism development and delivery.
P4P is hosting a couple of events over the next fortnight. First up – on Thursday 19th March in Glasgow – is Quick Quotes; Quick Wins – a workshop being supported by Just Enterprise. This is followed – Thursday 26th March also in Glasgow – with a session in partnership with Social Firms Scotland and Morrison Construction – Building an Inclusive Supply Chain . For more details and to sign up, open links.
Community Enterprise, in collaboration with the William Grant Foundation, has produced a research report – A Different Approach to Community-Led Asset Development. The comprehensive report is a response to recent changes in community asset development and challenges faced by community organisations in establishing sustainable and effective assets – and includes a series of pretty in-depth case studies.
Frontline News: RISE:Glasgow are hosting a celebration dinner at Soul Food Sisters in Glasgow – celebrating Iranian food and culture – and to learn about what it’s like to be a refugee in Glasgow:
CRNS and its Reuse Consortium , last month, picked up Scotland Excel’s Small Business and Third Sector Award – in recognition of how their consortium approach can enable small third sector suppliers to deliver a consistently high-quality service on a national framework contract. Congratulations to all involved:
MsMissMrs has now opened a new venture – Femfoods. Based in their new purpose-built kitchen in North Glasgow, Femfoods will focus on nutrition, savings, family wellbeing and overall economic empowerment!
This week’s bulletin profiles a new venture from West Lothian-based social enterprise, Simply Play.
Over the coming weeks, they will be opening Wonder Wood Outdoor Nursery (WWON) – the first such facility in West Lothian. WWON will be based at Tor Whitie woods in Harburn and will cater for 3 and 4 year olds where they will have the opportunity to spend their days exploring and having adventures in and around the woodland, engaging with nature, enjoying the campfire, cooking and using tools. WWON will have its own play curriculum and Play Policy to guide them. See WWON’s new information brochure.