Dear members and friends,
A family wedding was our excuse – perfect June weather smiled on our gathering last week in Andalucia. I relished my interludes paddling barefoot in the Med – but at several social events it was a real pleasure to laugh again with so many old friends. I was struck anew by how little any of us really change. The bickering couples still bicker; the jokers still joke; the boozers still booze; Bobby even fell asleep on cue. And I’m still one of the first to seek solitude.
Overlooking Marbella – where the wedding was – stands an iconic, 1200 metre limestone peak; it’s called La Concha (like a conch shell) – I could look at it for hours. Deep into the wedding reception – feeling tired – I find a concealed bench looking on to this brooding sentinel; sit contented. In time, one of my cousins – a beautiful woman in her mid-thirties – sits beside me to share a story. When I was wee, she says – you were staying at our house beneath that mountain; we were all at the pool – but early afternoon you set off on your own – carrying an umbrella. You returned before sunset saying that you had been up the hill – and that before turning back you had tied the open brolly to a bush. Dad got the binoculars – and it was true; up there – half way to the sky – I could see it; to a wee girl that was an amazing thing. Her remembering this story made me feel good.
I am firmly of the view that Glasgow should be Scotland’s capital; firstly because it is our largest city – and perhaps more importantly because it is distinctly Scottish – whereas Edinburgh tries to mimic a privileged London lifestyle. The population of Glasgow is stated at 598 thousand (100 thousand more than Edinburgh); in addition, much of the population of what was once Greater Glasgow still commutes to the city for work, leisure, culture, sport etc. The city just feels like a great metropolis. We link to an excellent BBC feature article by Lucy Ash which reviews the current literature on the so-called Glasgow Effect – probing the city’s enduring poor health. Whatever the referendum result – the next Scottish Government needs to understand that Scotland’s future cannot be separated from Glasgow’s future. I would start by making it the capital.
James Kelman and Alasdair Gray are not the ‘easiest’ Scottish writers, but no one would question their premier league status – or their lifelong commitment to a vision of an independent Scottish republic. I learned from Sunday’s Herald that they actually wrote the ‘Declaration of Calton Hill’ – for the 2004 counter demo to the Queen’s opening of the Scottish Parliament. Even to the demonstrators, this text must have seemed fanciful – remote from the real world. Who could have anticipated – that 10 years later……
At the recent Community Land Scotland conference on Skye – Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, committed the Scottish Govt to bring forward a Land Reform Bill during the current parliamentary term. He called the recent Review Group report a ‘major milestone’ and repeated this administration’s commitment to ensure that land ‘is used in the public interest’ see https://senscot.net/?viewid=17555. Andy Wightman’s Land Matters site posts the full text of the Minister’s speech. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17551
At first I thought it was a joke – but this photo is apparently of spikes inserted into a London pavement to prevent homeless people from bedding down for the night; puts me in mind of some medieval torture instrument, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=17556. Still on the subject of breadline Britain – three of bigger food bank operators reported jointly this week of growing demand (equivalent of 20 million meals in the UK last year). Jamie Livingstone of Oxfam Scotland said “this growing need for food banks in 21st century Scotland is a stain on our national conscience”. Some Tory MP has complained to the Charity Commission that Oxfam is engaging in politics. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17552
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: Social Enterprise in East Lothian Ltd, Forth Sector, Aigas Community Forest, Faith in Community Scotland, Impact Arts Ltd, Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd, Garvald Edinburgh, Raploch Community Partnership
EVENTS: Mixing The Colours, 16 June; Activity Inquiry presents Fish is the Future, 21 June; Midsummer Market, 21 June; Bruncheon and Leith Late, 22 June; Partnering to support young people into volunteering, 25 June; The Carbon Cycle with Kate Rawles, 26 June;
TENDERS: Research: Social/Economic Benefits of Community Transport, Transport Scotland; Framework Agreement for Accommodation Services, Inverclyde Council; Printing, Publication & Distribution Service for new Charities SORP/ Secretariat Resource, Charity Commission; http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1322
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Social Firms Scotland and Senscot host the EU SEN gathering in Glasgow next week. Delegates will be welcomed by Yvonne Strachan (Scottish Govt) and, over the two days, will get an overview of current Scottish Govt support for SE as well as its intentions for the new EU programme, 2014-20. The primary objectives of the EU SEN are to: Ensure social enterprises play a full role in helping to meet Structural Fund objectives in promoting social inclusion, job creation and combating poverty; ensure there is a comprehensive support environment for social enterprises; and equip partners to promote and implement projects involving social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. More next week. For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showupdate.php?articleid=351
I once heard a speech by the eminent lawyer and liberal peer Andrew Phillips; he said that most of the great institutions which have endured over the centuries in Britain – are not commercial businesses but charitable foundations – which were created – and have endured ‘pro bono publico’ – for the common good. This was an important insight for me – that over the long term – the common good will prevail over private gain in human affairs. New UK research from Northampton Yooni – looked at the survival rates of the top 100 PLCs – compared to the top 100 social ventures. The results show that over a 30 year period (1984-2014), the social ventures marginally outlast the PLCs. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17557
Five leading third sector orgs have joined forces – urging Scottish Govt to take early and decisive action on land reform following the recent publication of the Land Reform Review Group report. The statement – from Scottish Community Alliance, Community Woodlands Association, DTA Scotland, Community Land Scotland and SCVO – sees this week’s Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill as the ideal vehicle to advance the Review Group’s recommendations. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17549
I’ve not been on an Edinburgh tram yet – but I intend to travel the whole length – make it the subject of an intro to this bulletin. In this week’s Scottish Review I see that Gillian Somerville-Arjat got in before me – offers an enjoyable account of her impressions. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17550
Over the last year, this bulletin has touched upon the need for the SE community to provide a more supportive environment to those social enterprises experiencing difficulties. These problems can arise for a number of reasons – but a recurring theme is that help or assistance is sought too late. In response to this, the new Just Enterprise contract has built in a discrete ‘Business Recovery Service’ – designed to address issues at as early a stage as possible by providing specialist support. For more on this welcome development, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=17548
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that was started by a group of mothers in the Maryhill area of Glasgow in 1987 – who wanted to provide good quality childcare provision for their children and to enable them to take part in activities within their local community. Maryhill Mobile Creche (MMC) has now been on the go for around 27 years, providing services for around 784 groups and 5,460 children. Their services include the Mobile Creche, an after school service and a Respite service – for parents/carers, who, for various reasons find, themselves in need of extra support. MMC has also recently received an award from the Enterprise Ready Fund. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=17558
During the wedding service last week, the celebrant quoted the memorable advice the Doctor (John Hurt) gives to his daughter Pelagia (Penelope Cruz) in Louis de Bernieres’ ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’.
“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two”.
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210