Dear members and friends,
The Observer Magazine’s interview this week was with Jane Fonda – she looks fantastic for 73, but has known sadness. She says she was raised to believe that she had to be perfect to be loved – that her parents didn’t know how to make her feel `good enough`. Her dad, Henry Fonda, played characters who were brave and strong and fought for justice; imagine living with Mr Wonderful – frowning at you. In the film `On Golden Pond`, she plays Henry’s estranged daughter – the anger she unleashes at her father’s diffidence seemed real to me. Jane’s childhood experience can leave people trying too hard – driven to find appreciation amongst strangers.
Fonda says that life gets easier as she grows older – and I feel the same – as the need to make an impression recedes. Anne Robinson (former Irish President) was asked on the radio what achievement she wants to be remembered for – she replied, “Individuals are not important – but if you can be part of making something better – it will carry on beyond you”. I would like to follow this advice – to work away quietly at something – for no gain other than it seems a useful thing to do. I don’t, now, feel the need for much more. Grant that my health and finances hold together, my other necessity is a few true friends – who make me feel `good enough`; we can’t plan tomorrow alone.
From Senscot’s perspective, the Third Sector naturally sub-divides into 3 segments – Voluntary – Community – and Social Enterprise. The first and last of these have good identity and leadership – but the community sector has long been the poor relation in Scotland – local politicians instinctively resist the empowerment of our communities. Great news this week that the Local People Leading consortium has decided to constitute formally as the Scottish Community Sector Alliance – and to step up its momentum. Here’s a 2 page overview of its manifesto with founding members. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10549
Two of the strongest brands in England’s community sector have amalgamated – not out of need – but because it’s in the best interests of their members. The Development Trust Association and BASSAC have announced that they have joined forces as LOCALITY – under the leadership of Steve Wyler (DTA CEO) and chaired by Joanna Holmes (BASSAC Chair). This move begs the question, whether the Third Sector in Scotland could benefit from such unselfish behaviour. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10547
Some readers will be aware that Senscot is directly involved in supporting sports organisations which are looking at converting to social enterprises. But such a move is not simply a flag of convenience – with fiscal benefits; assets need to be locked-in for community benefit. Interesting to read this week the OSCR has declined charitable status to Dundee Football Club on the basis that no adequate lock was in place. Personally I believe that football clubs should belong to supporters – a no-brainer (like the great BARCA); but these new democratic structures, by definition, exclude personal gain. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10548
Before the break, we shared our enthusiasm for the Lottery’s new Jessica programme; the competition is now well underway to choose a preferred bidder – to establish a new independent trust/distributor of £15m to Scotland’s poorest communities. Here’s a note of some of the key questions and answers which emerged at the December briefing session. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10552
At the top end of the social enterprise spectrum – there’s no shortage of money and support to enable the growth of viable businesses. The new ‘Social Business Trust’ is an interesting model – a UK private sector consortium, looking for 20 social businesses with the potential to break into the big time – including Scotland. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10555 If your interest extends to the European context, here’s a report which showcases 10 top end European social innovation enterprises – some real crackers. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10562
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: Impact Arts, Glasgow Homelessness Network, Cumbernauld Action Care for the Elderly, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Talk Matters, Carbeth Hutters’ Community Company, Sense Scotland, Spruce Carpets
EVENTS: Scottish Orchards East Coast Gathering, 14 Jan; Engine Shed Burns Supper, 15 Jan; Social Impact Agenda, 19 Jan; Rural Development Day, 26 Jan; Tender writing training, 30 Jan; Whose Economy?, 17 Feb
TENDERS: Supply of Electrical Equipment and Consumables; Provision of Contracted School, College and Social Work Transport Services for Children and Adults; Architects & Related Services Framework;
NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: The public sector in Scotland puts out contracts for tender to the tune of £8 billion each year and more and more social enterprises looking to bid in for these contracts. Therefore, it’s encouraging to hear that Scottish Govt that is looking to introduce a more standardised approach to pre-qualification procedures through a Standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (SPQQ). The SPQQ will seek to address inconsistencies in practice; duplication of effort; and disproportionate procedures – and will be linked to Public Contracts Scotland. Currently, a consultation process is underway (closing date of 11th Feb). Senscot will be submitting a joint response with Social Firms Scotland. If you have any comments/feedback, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .To download the full document and for other Networks News, see
At the start of every year, Senscot invites financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin. Not a condition – but your support is a real encouragement. Some of our comment is too `spirited` for the usual channels of funding. Senscot’s board is accountable to our company members – around 100 self-selecting individuals who support our work – submit the application form and pay an average of £25. Here’s the 2010 list, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers10.php To donate this year, see http://www.senscot.net/donate.php
The Poverty Alliance is hosting a `Scottish Assembly for Tackling Poverty` on 17th and 18th February. See details, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10553
Many community organisations, looking for financial stability, aspire to winning a contract from the Council. But the largest ever survey of community groups in England, has found that getting involved with public service delivery, makes the third sector, not less, but more dependent on the state. This is a crunch issue for all of us. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10556
In November, the PM said that henceforth the Office of National Stats (ONS) will measure, not only our standard of living, but also our ‘quality of life’. Good stuff! Last week ONS convened the first meeting of the ‘Measuring National Wellbeing Forum’ – to begin to define what this means. Charles Seaford from NEF was there and posted this thoughtful piece. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10554
This week’s bulletin profiles the Arts Guild Theatre in Greenock that is the primary arts venue for the Inverclyde area. Founded over 60 years ago, they will be opening a new Arts Centre early next year, to be known as The Beacon Arts Centre. The new Centre will have two auditoria: one of 500 seats and a second of around 130. It will also have a cafe bar, meeting and conference rooms and will be one of the highlights of the imminent regeneration of Greenock’s historic waterfront area. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=10563
Not many people talk as sensibly about religion as Karen Armstrong – I’m reading her latest book ’12 Steps to a Compassionate Life’ where she asserts that the essence of all the main religions boils down to compassion. But Richard Holloway, another supremely intelligent commentator, questions this basic premise.
“It is probably correct where Buddhism is concerned and it is from Buddhism that Karen’s best insights and examples come. I think she is on shakier ground when she applies it to Christianity and Islam. Christianity and Islam are redemption religions. They exist to secure life in the world to come for their followers and any guidance they offer on living in this world is always with a view to its impact on the next. This radically compromises the purity of their compassion agenda.” This is a link to Richard’s book review in the Guardian. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10551
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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