Dear members and friends,
When I was in Barcelona last year – I had an unusual experience in the Cathedral; not Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia but the old one – in the gothic quarter – the one they call La Seu. As soon as I enter the great space, it feels good – peaceful; but when half an hour later – I wander by chance into the 15th century cloister – I am surprised by a swoop of emotion. I sit on a low wall slightly dizzy – and for maybe 5 minutes – feel intensely connected to the centuries of monks who trod these flagstones; it’s an overpowering sense of spiritual continuity – joyful. I linger for an hour – hoping the feeling will return – but it’s just an ancient cloister, teeming with tourists.
I have mostly moved on from the religious traditions of my youth – adopted a more secular spirituality – which has no truck with ‘visitations’. It is more concerned with the inner peace of the individual than a relationship with the divine; it embraces humanistic qualities like love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness etc. – concern for others. Secular spirituality would consider everything in the universe to be mutually dependent – and this overarching reality to be the basis of human ethics.
One of the advantages of getting old – is that the need to understand everything recedes; I don’t know what caused my wee episode in the cathedral cloister – and that’s ok – human puzzlement is to be commended. I’m learning not to contend with the world – to let it be.
It took me by surprise – how emotional I got when the new Pope came on to the balcony – wished us all ‘buona sera’. Pomp and ceremony – he seemed to say – will now be minimised – in favour of simplicity, humility and humanity. He has assumed the name of my very favourite saint – and I feel fresh optimism – that the poor of the world have a new champion – that sometimes a good man will rise to the top. If St. Francis is really his role model – that changes all the rules. The wee man from Assisi didn’t mess about – understood only route one. If I’m reading the signs correctly – get ready to rock. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13275
Our community sector is fortunate to have a mainstream political commentator like Lesley Riddoch – who cares passionately about local democracy in Scotland. In this Scotsman piece – she writes about a softening she detects from local councils – towards empowering communities to deliver services. I don’t want to be the negative one – but some folk are saying that 80% of the cuts are still to come. If the next decade brings forth a tier of service delivering community enterprises – it will be alongside a local govt. structure stripped back to the bare bones. It will be patchy – and there will be hardship. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13266
Across Scotland, sightings of local democracy are on the increase; over 100 folk turned out last week for the first of four ‘Comrie Conversations’. Lesley Riddoch and Andy Wightman are two of a growing band of activists – who relish debate among citizens – free from the distortions of political parties. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13273
Thoughtful piece by Giles Tremlett in the Guardian about Mondragon – the world’s largest workers’ cooperative. His short article raises questions and anomalies – but the main drift is that this cluster of companies (global sales £13 billion) is better equipped than mainstream business to ride economic turbulence. Instead of laying people off – they agree voluntary wage cuts; companies with reserves support those with cash problems; it’s an impressive story. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13269
Many social entrepreneurs have concluded – that accessing European structural funds is more hassle than its worth – particularly the delays on payment. All of us should be aware however – that supporting social enterprise is to become a specific priority from 2014 – and the sums of money are big. Member states decide how the money is spent – so it’s important that Scottish Criteria for social enterprise are applied – not those of Big Society Capital – which allow ‘socially motivated’ private businesses. Those of you who try to follow European developments – will want to read Henrick Morch’s speech to the E3M conference. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13268
Last week’s snippet ‘ask an adult’, attracted nearly 300 hits – so I checked out their archive and selected Lydia aged 9 asking ‘why does love hurt?’ – the expert is Richard Curtis who wrote ‘Love Actually’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13270
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: Health in Mind, Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust, Ailsa Horizons Ltd, Scottish Huntington’s Association, ELCAP, North East Arts Touring Ltd, GalGael Trust, Social Care Ideas Factory,
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Exchange, 21 Mar; Ideas that Ripple, Spread and Inspire, 21 Mar; Instant Puppets Workshop (all ages), 27 Mar; Youth Enterprise Nation, 16 Apr;
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Dundee SEN provides a great example of the contribution local social enterprise communities can make to shaping local policy. As a key partner in the production of the Dundee City Councils Social Enterprise Strategy, the SEN now has three representatives on the Council’s Social Enterprise Strategy Board. In addition, it is also in discussions with the Council re the establishment of a new childcare facility in the Lochee area of the city. This will operate as a social enterprise and will have a strong employability element. Also on the horizon is a Social Enterprise Conference – currently being scheduled for September – that will showcase the work of SEs in Dundee and the SEN itself. For further Networks News, see http://se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=283
ReadyforBusiness has been delivering the Scottish Govt’s Developing Markets contract since December 2011 – with the objective of embedding the Public Social Partnership (PSP) model, Community Benefit Clauses (CBC) and the use of Social Value throughout public sector commissioning and procurement in Scotland. The ReadyforBusiness consortium has recently been informed that the contract has now been extended until March 2014. To get a flavour of its work and the progress the programme has made, here’s some case studies. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13265
Next month, the Scottish Parliament plays host to an event which will be a first for Scotland’s community sector. Organised by the Scottish Community Alliance, each of Scotland’s community networks is inviting its members to gather in Edinburgh to debate and discuss some of the key issues facing them as well as to celebrate their achievements. Places are limited. Senscot has only got a few tickets to hand out to our more community minded members. For more, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=13271
Next week sees Scotland’s big SE Jamboree – the SE Exchange at the SECC in Glasgow – Thursday, 21st March. Over 800 folk have signed up so far. To book, see http://socialenterpriseexchange.com/programme/
Good news story this week from the village of Gargunnock, near Stirling, where the Community Trust is celebrating the re-opening of their Community Centre after a £500,000 refurbishment project which also saw the Centre transfer ownership from Stirling Council to the community. This marks the end of a 7 year campaign by the community to both take on ownership and the refurbishment of the 150 year old Centre. Congratulations to the folk of Gargunnock. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13264
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in West Lothian that has been part of Firstport’s Ditto pilot. Kidzeco, based in Bathgate, diverts waste from landfill by selling recycled baby and children goods and provides a community hub for families in the area. Kidzeco’s success has seen its ‘model’ being replicated in other parts of the country – such as http://www.merrygoroundglasgow.co.uk/ in Glasgow. On the go since February 2010, Kidzeco has already diverted over 18 tonnes from landfills – picking up a series of awards in the process. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=13272
Quote from Nelson Mandela
"In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education … But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life."
That’s all for this week.
Subscribe to this bulletin: http://www.senscot.net/bsubscribe.php
To unsubscribe or change subscription address/ e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210