SENSCOT MEMBERS’ BULLETIN No. 165, FRIDAY 14th
Dear Members and friends,
In 1967 my latest ‘brilliant idea’ had collapsed in debt –
no money, no income – in desperation, got job with Fife Council as an
uncertificated teacher. They gave me 34 8/9 year olds – I hadn’t a clue. The
only experience I could call upon was as a patrol leader in the boy scouts, so
in the mornings we did basic Reading, Riting and Rithmatic, and after lunch we
moved the desks back and played team games. The ‘proper’ teachers looked in the
door, angry at the laughter – at our enjoyment. The headmaster wasn’t bothered
as long as he didn’t have to teach One day in class I stupidly called one of my
charges a ‘twit’ – at the break he was taunted with this till the poor lad ran
home I tears. First I knew was the classroom door flies open – ferocious mother
with curlers and a brogue snarls, ‘You’ll be the one who calls himself a
teacher!’ – Nearly wet myself. They were a rough and ready bunch of kids, but
we got on well together. I saw them through primary 5 – learnt more than they
Years later in a slummy pub I was
getting a hard time from a drunk bully – not being a fighter, I was scared –
suddenly a young woman intervened. With her finger in Bully’s face she said,
‘You. Shut it.’ – and he did. Then smiling at me, she said, ‘Are you Mr Demarco
who taught at ________ Primary School?’ I nodded. ‘We all thought you were
lovely,’ she said. ‘But you’re still a bit of a Jessie.’
Andy Wightman, Author of ‘Who owns Scotland?, has long been
an intrepid campaigner for land reform. With the recent passing of the Land
Reform Scotland Bill, inhabitants of rural areas (settlements under 3,000
people) have new rights to acquire the land where they live and work. Wightman,
in a recent article in the Sunday Times, asks why these new rights do not
equally apply to urban areas (see http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/BreakCityLimits(11.02.03).asp).
The use and ownership of land is as important to urban as to rural regeneration
– he argues – why shouldn’t community organisations in the Easterhouses and
Piltons acquire land and buildings to create locally owned assets? The project
profile in this week’s bulletin is an excellent example of how community-owned
development company can spearhead regeneration even in areas where the market
is failing. Local authorities which are sincerely committed to local
empowerment can lift the morale of discouraged neighbourhoods by helping them
build and manage their own assets. The newly formed Development Trust
Association Scotland will bring new impetus to this movement.
One of England’s leading charity lawyers, Andrew Phillips,
spoke out last week against the current trend for the voluntary sector to
become more like the private sector. Phillips argued that our sector’s unique
characteristic of altruism could be undermined by the proliferation of business
methods and attitudes. The public, he claimed, support charities because
of ‘those untutored gifts of care,
compassion and attentiveness’, and that ‘inappropriate commercialisation’ was
ruining this. “The third sector has a pivotal influence to bring to bear on the
state and market duopoly. Having worked in the private sector for forty years,”
he said, “I hear the death rattle in our system of modern capitalism.
10 years since he wrote the seminal ‘At the Heart of the
Social Economy’, John Pearce has written a new book which reflects on how the
sector has developed and could in future develop, called “Social Enterprise in
Anytown”. We haven’t read it yet but we’ve ordered our copy: It’s available
from Central Books Ltd, 99 Wallis road, London E9 5LN, tel. 0845 458 9911, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.centralbooks.co.uk (Price: £8.95).
Several members have e-mailed that getting David Puttnam for
our AGM is a real scoop – well done Mel Young. Put 13 June in your diary,
Edinburgh, 1-4.30pm. Bio of Lord Puttnam at http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/LordPuttnamBio.asp.
‘No Place Like Home – Localisation in Action’ is an
International Conference taking place at Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland, in
association with The International Society for Ecology and Culture and The
Global Ecovillage Network – Europe 19 -26 April 2003. Many international
speakers. “Localisation is about bringing the economy back home, shortening the
distances between producers and consumers, promoting local diversity and
creating more just, equitable, resilient and human-scale communities, both
locally and globally.” www.findhorn.org/home
Member Margaret Davison is studying for an MSc in
Enterprise. Her dissertation is on management /leadership development within
the social economy, and Margaret would welcome m managers/leaders in the sector
to act as my research sample. Interested? Contact us or Margaret: email@example.com
Senscot gets a very good monthly e-newsletter from Social
Enterprise Network (SEN) of Australia and New Zealand. This week there’s a
useful and extensive bibliography of books and articles on social enterprise.
Website, www.sen.org.au; contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Supporting Social Entrepreneurs in Forth Valley” – Inspire
Seminar series, FREE events incl. networking lunch: Alloa, 18 Feb; Falkirk, Mar
4; Stirling, March 18 www.communityenterprise.co.uk.
CEO of Scotland unLTD, the new grants foundation, Jim
Bennett, asks us to inform readers of new e-mail address: jim.Bennett@unltd.org.uk. Messages
sent in past 10 days to previous address may not have arrived. For more info on
Scotland unLTD www.unltd.org.uk.
Following last week’s news on DTA Scotland, the bulletin
thought it appropriate to profile one of Scotland’s most successful community
development companies, the Wester Hailes Land and Property Trust. Set up in
1988, the LPT now successfully manages around 80,000 sq. ft. of workspaces,
offices and community accommodation that house nearly 250 jobs. It is a Limited Company with a voluntary
Board of Directors made up mainly of local people. It was set up to ensure that
the community could play a key role in land and economic development in Wester
Hailes with the intention of providing a lasting legacy for the people of
Wester Hailes. LPT has been operating as a self-funding organisation since
March 1997. For further information, see www.senscot.net (Project Profiles).
Thanks to those who’ve sent in bulletin subs. Please keep
them coming. Info and invoice can be downloaded at http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/Bull_Sub_2003.asp
Agree with Albert Einstein’s “A country can’t simultaneously
prepare and prevent war.” It’s clear what the US government wants to do, but
many of us will feel ashamed if our country participates in the forthcoming
slaughter. Anne and I are going on the Glasgow peace march tomorrow – feels
like the right thing to do. Blair has to be told. If he goes ahead with this he
will not be forgiven.
Kirsty Wark does a series called ‘Lives Less Ordinary’,
about individuals who have to endure traumatic change – saw the one on Monday
about Olivia Giles. Just over a year ago Olivia was a young successful lawyer
who contracted a mystery virus – woke in hospital to find her hands and feet
had been amputated,. I found her courage and determination deeply moving –
inspirational. Without any self pity, she approaches her future with optimism
and energy. Olivia showed that whatever life throws at us – what we make of it
is our own responsibility. Viktor Frankel said “Everything can be taken from a
person but the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude to any given
set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”
That’s all for this week.
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