Dear members and friends,
I can’t remember such a sustained period of joyful summer sunshine – most days I’m in the garden – sitting still, as much as doing. The poppies have been and gone – the foxgloves are at full blast – and this week, the evocative scent of sweet peas returns to my cottage. When gardening, my temperament still urges dramatic intervention – whereas the philosophy of the Tao counsels minimum interference with the ways of nature; old age inclines me towards ‘the way of the Tao’: disturbing a young toad recently, I carefully replace the stone – let it be. The single quality that would most improve the rest of my life is patience; Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: ‘adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience’.
I normally write in bed – snug, with laptop, phone, books to hand; seven feet to my right is a north facing window – the external sill as a timber bird table. From their flight paths, I know four different families of Jays (Garrulus Glandarius) visit daily – but one visitor is remarkable: when he lands he stares at me intently – and I stare back – sometimes ten seconds eye contact; two creatures from different worlds – yet something passes between us. I know it’s fanciful that St Francis of Assisi conversed with birds – but it’s a lovely myth. Whenever a fragment of wild nature opens to us like this – it can act as a window on the whole natural world; any part we ‘see’ will represent the whole if we see it truly.
At Chequers, Theresa May belatedly faced down the hard Brexiteers – who have failed to produce either a leader or a strategy; she will try to deliver the softest possible Brexit. But the ‘numbers’ in the House of Commons are such that less than a dozen ‘disruptors’ from her own party can cause havoc – so she’s probably too unstable to govern for long. The ‘bookies’ have shortened the odds on a 2018 General Election – and that’s increasingly likely. Labour has understandably, but reprehensibly, left the Brexit war to the Tories; from now on they’ll need to get more decisive. Now Trump blunders in.
Like everyone, I’ve been engrossed in the marvellous rescue of the twelve young lads from the cave in Thailand – but I believe that, if it had happened in the UK, some of the boys would have died. We need to wait for the whole story to emerge – but my theory is that what enabled a happy ending is that each of those youths is schooled in, at least the rudiments of, Buddhist practice. Their coach, previously an ordained Buddhist monk, would have established a regime of prayer and meditation – aimed at composure and spiritual resilience. There will be much to learn from this full story.
Some people, mainly elderly, attend GP services out of anxiety and isolation; ‘social prescribing’ is where an individual is connected to services or activities in their community, as an alternative to medical prescription. Now, a £3m grant from The Big Lottery will deliver the biggest ever boost to this activity. In partnership with a Northern Ireland consortium, the Scottish element will be coordinated by SCHW (Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing) and will see ten local organisations across Scotland each receive £40,000 per year for at least three years – to develop and deliver social prescribing. The linking of primary medical care to community-managed resources is dramatic – with the potential to change the way the NHS evolves. See Senscot’s briefing on social prescribing.
A famous quote from Albert Einstein:
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
The inaugural SE Reference Sub-Group – involving front-line social enterprises and membership-led Intermediaries – first met in March of this year. The purpose of the Sub-Group is to consider the progress of the SE Action Plan and feed back issues of concerns as well as positive ideas or potential ideas for moving forward. The first meeting agreed 5 ‘proposed actions’ to be brought to Scottish Govt’s attention – with a view to implementation, where practicably possible, during 2018/19. We’re pleased to say that there is progress on a number of fronts – and we hope to have further news over the summer months. More immediately re ‘Action 3’, Glasgow City Council recently approved the city’s own SE Strategy – being launched in August – as well as the appointment of a Social Economy Board. This follows the development of a local SE Action Plan by Argyll SEN – produced by the sector – for the sector.
Keep up to date with the latest jobs, events and funding opportunities in the social enterprise sector.
This year’s Social in the Gardens is almost upon us, bringing its biggest selection of events, treats and activities yet for a two-day celebration of all things social in the capital. This year’s event will take place on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th July at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. There will be live music, a great selection of food and drink, market stalls, art installations, kids activities and a family ceilidh, not to mention the opportunity to engage with a diverse selection of Edinburgh’s social entrepreneurs. Find out more and see the full list of attendees here.
There’s a new podcast in town for those of you who like to ponder the intricacies of the social economy on the move. Mel Young, founder of the Homeless World Cup, has launched a new media venture – The New Ism. A weekly podcast will see Mel sit down for a lengthy discussion with a social innovator – someone striving for a fairer, more inclusive world. There are three episodes out so far, the latest one featuring Bite the Ballot CEO Michael Sani. Our very own Laurence Demarco will be featuring in the coming weeks, so it’s well worth keeping tabs on the podcast’s progress…! You can listen to and download the podcasts here.
Great to see that Brag Enterprises has opened its new community enterprise centre in Levenmouth, Fife – which will be used as a base to tailor plans for driving up inclusive growth in the towns and villages in the area. With 29 years’ worth of experience developing enterprise in areas of high deprivation, the team at Brag are looking forward to a new set of challenges and hopes that the centre will enable them to help more local communities reach their potential. Brian Robertson-Fern, managing director of Brag Enterprises, said: “We are looking forward to working with the people of Levenmouth and in assisting them to achieve their ambitions for the area.” You can read the full press release here.
P4P is hosting two upcoming events. The first is a Roadshow event on 4th Sept in Ayrshire which will look at future contract opportunities in the area and the second is a webinar on consortia models on 24th August. Sign up on the P4P Eventbrite page. Remember to check out the P4P Collaboration Toolkit (accessed through the Resources page) and if you haven’t already sign up for the Ready for Business Third Sector Register here.
This week’s bulletin profiles a venture that seek to establish and promote an awareness of good environmental practice and facilitate a culture of re-use, re-cycle, up-cycle on the Isle of Arran. Arran Eco Savvy Community is also looking to work with others to set up environmental schemes which will provide involvement and skills learning for Arran residents of all age groups and abilities. They have recently been awarded funding via the Climate Challenge Fund to carry out a year-long audit of Arran residents’ domestic energy usage with a view to helping the local community to save money and reduce its carbon footprint. Other initiatives in the pipeline include a potential partnership with North Ayrshire Council; purchasing land suitable for composting; and carrying out food and beverage waste audits for local businesses.