Dear members and friends,
Popular philosophers like to tell us that we are living in unique times – that scientific advances, particularly communication technologies, are fundamentally changing human behaviour; but I can’t see it. 300 years BC, the book we call Ecclesiastes, famously said: "There is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘see this is new?’ It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered nor will there by any remembrance of people yet to come."
The ancient myths and legends of our species are remarkably constant down through the ages; the quest for power and glory – for peace and love – the eternal duality which is endemic to human nature. Warriors have been crouching in the caves of Afghanistan for thousands of years; whenever drought and famine visit the horn of Africa – innocent children still starve in their thousands. It’s going to take more than iphones and social networking.
"And yet there lives the dearest freshness deep down in things"; and each generation sets out anew – boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. In his hymn of hope, ‘Imagine’, John Lennon speaks for a generation of ‘believers’ without formal religion: "Imagine no possessions – I wonder if you can – no need for greed and hunger – a brotherhood of man – imagine all the people – sharing all the world." Now that would indeed be new.
Over 100 readers have now registered interest in attending our seminar on 30th September – looking at how the meaning of the term ‘social enterprise’ is coming under pressure from various quarters. Charities (and the excellent new SCIO) are regulated by OSCR; CICs have their own regulator; but any entity, regardless of its values can call itself a social enterprise – without challenge. Is it time for Scottish Govt to re-affirm what it means by the term? Is it time for our SE community in Scotland to firm up definition criteria? Bookings for our seminar will be open in August. There’s a special seminar page on our website for updates and related comment. http://www.senscot.net/seminar.php New piece by Rodney Stares – ‘Taking the Fight to Higher Level’.
One of the blurrings of social enterprise comes from local authorities ‘externalising’ services into arms length companies; the issue is about independent governance. Are leisure trusts, for instance, part of the SE community? This piece appeared in Third Sector Mag https://senscot.net/?viewid=11275
A new report ‘Investor perspectives on social enterprise financing’ identifies six key requirements for social business to attract institutional investors – including that they offer ‘near-market’ returns. I don’t share the popular view (in London at least) that the future for our social enterprise sector is to attract capitalist investment. Ours is a genuinely different way of organising society – separate from personal gain. Investors in our work should get their money back, and the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped advance a particular social benefit. Reports like this don’t understand the essence of the social enterprise – are still operating in the system we seek to change, not copy. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11270
The UK Govt. claims that this week’s ‘Open Public Services’ white paper will ‘profoundly change the role of govt’. This piece from Charity Times, assembles an assortment of Third Sector reactions. Let’s remember the Wise Group missing out on the Work Programme contract for Scotland – to a private sector conglomerate with govt. connections; we should learn from this. It’s also size that worries me; small, local providers offer the best value – but the procurement process doesn’t know how to engage with them. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11269
Coinneach Morrison has been in touch about Scalpay in the Outer Hebredies; Fred Taylor, the current landlord, has offered the island (free) to its 300 residents – who are considering their options (Fred would be an interesting chap to talk to). The islanders have produced an impressive comprehensive brief for a feasibility study – into the economic social and environmental future of Scalpay: nice consultancy to land. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11276 Lesley Riddoch, that doughty champion of local empowerment, wrote this piece in the Scotsman about how ownership can galvanise island communities. https://senscot.net/?viewid=11279
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: The Place2Be; Social Enterprise Academy; Migrants Support Services; Aspire2gether; Kinetic; Caledonia Youth; Highland Hospice; Cranstoun Community Development Project;
EVENTS: HR workshop- Hints and tips when recruiting your first employee, 19 Jul; Social Enterprise Notice Event, 27 Jul; Social Capital World Forum 2011, 24 Sep
TENDERS: Provision of School Transport Services; Supply & Distribution of Fresh Fruit & Vegetable; Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research Project; Care at Home Services for Adults and Older People
NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: The number and activity of social enterprise networks across Scotland continues to grow. At present, there are 25 SENs: 18 are locally based and 7 are thematics. The thematics are Health; Sport; Youth; Cultural; Community Food; Coalfields; and, most recently, the Canal SEN. Almost 300 social enterprises are active within these Networks. 5 SENs are constituted as Community Benefit Companies – Aberdeen; Edinburgh; Clackmannanshire; Dundee; and Dumfries and Galloway. Since January, over 40 SEN meetings have taken place across the country. In spite of the skills, knowledge and experience held within these Networks, they continue to be kept at arms length by some Interfaces. We have written to Scottish Govt and VAS to ask for their assistance in encouraging a more reasonable approach from certain Interfaces. For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=199
Last week Scot. Govt. launched its guidance on ‘Public Social Partnerships’ (PSPs). The crux of the idea is that a third sector organisation and a public body sit down together to plan a specific service – which they then operate in partnership. A principle gain is the degree of involvement of users in the ‘co production’ of the service. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11268
The CEiS annual social enterprise conference is becoming a fixture – and the programme for Sept 7th, nails the topical issues. Early bird bookings until August 1st. http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=11240
Brian Monteith in Monday’s Scotsman rails against centralism – wants to see more decision making and autonomy for Scotland’s proud Burgh Towns. Some of our readers, like myself, have been pursuing this campaign for 30 years – I sense it’s getting closer. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11271
On Monday John Swinney will formally launch Scot Govt’s Enterprise Growth Fund – which is to commence in August. The fund will distribute £4m over one year – in amounts of between £25k and £200k. The managing consortium is led by the Wise Group and supported by CEiS, Developing Strathclyde and the new Social Value Lab. More details here http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=11272
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise established by Fallin Community Enterprises (Stirling) in 2006 and is still going strong today. Recyke-a-bike reconditions donated and waste bicycles, selling them back to the community at a low cost. Not only are they able to reduce the impact of waste on the environment but also able to provide employment and training opportunities within the local community in Fallin. See more http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=11273
From The Way of the Animal Powers by Joseph Campbell.
"Neither in body nor in mind do we inhabit the world of those hunting races of the Paleolithic millennia, to whose lives and life ways we nevertheless owe the very forms of our bodies and structures of our minds. Memories of their-animal envoys still must sleep, somehow, within us; for they wake a little and stir when we venture into wilderness. They wake in terror to thunder. And again they wake, with a sense of recognition, when we enter any one of those great painted caves. Whatever the inward darkness may have been to which the shamans of those caves descended in their trances, the same must lie within ourselves, nightly visited in sleep.
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210