Dear members and friends,
Due to fog in Malaga – the captain says – our plane is diverting to Seville. Gobsmacked – this has never happened to me – in 40 years. Panic – my friend Tom is waiting on the ground – I must get a message to him – if I can contact his wife Liz… Suddenly – all around me, folk are on their mobiles – but I don’t have one. Across the aisle – a Spaniard with simpatico eyes – ask him meekly if I can use his phone – it’s a Ronda number I say; huge smile – Ronda is my town – proudly. Not only does Alberto connect me with Liz – but his wife Maria and friend Javier – will collect him from Seville airport tonight – and can drop me at my hotel in Ronda. How lucky is that? This simple, kindness – from 3 strangers – set the tone for a memorable festive break – shared with dear friends.
But since arriving home – I’ve been in bed with one of those bugs that’s doing the rounds; a surprising number of friends and colleagues seem to have succumbed this year. I also believe that the antibiotic I’m taking is making me gloomy – a heightened sense of how fragile everything – and everyone – really is. But in spite of my determined independence – people are exceptionally kind. It occurs to me that our helplessness can be seen as an asset; the very means by which we are porous to the world – and to others; the scarred connective tissue by which we love and are loved. Like it or not – we need each other..
At the start of a new year, Senscot, once again, invites financial donations from readers who wish to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin. Not a condition – but a real encouragement – considering that some of our comment is too ‘spirited’ for the usual channels of funding. Senscot’s Board is accountable to our company members – around 100 individuals who support our work – and pay an average of £25. Here’s the 2012 list, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers12.php To donate this year, see http://www.senscot.net/donate.php
Over the months of 2009 – Senscot represented the Scottish SE community – in London-based discussions about a UK wide SE Mark. As the SE criteria became increasingly diluted – Senscot withdrew from the Mark. Since then, we have been part of the drafting of a Scottish Voluntary Code of Practice for SE – to enshrine the ‘asset lock’ as the defining characteristic of SE. Now, in England, the meaning of SE has been further confused – by a new ‘Badge’ – launched by SE UK – which – unbelievably – removes the asset lock requirement. This decision begs the question as to whether SE UK can any longer claim to be the national voice for social enterprises across the UK. As we wrote in December: "In England, social enterprise appears to be adapting itself to accommodate the private gain that drives the normal economy. In Scotland, there appears to be more appetite to keep social enterprise distinct – to explore a different way of organising economic activity". See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13079
I receive George Monbiot’s weekly email missive – although not all his ’causes’ ring my bell. I love it, though, when he aims his guns at neo-liberal economics – the rigged system of the world’s super-rich – as he does this week. Gaun yersel’, Dode! See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13086
Today (18th Jan) was the deadline to submit evidence to the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), see remit and membership of Group, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13084. Several Bulletin readers have remarked that the whole process has been strangely muted – low key – poor communication. It would probably have helped if LRRG had created its own website – separate from Govt. – attuned to social media – to inject some enthusiasm. As well as Land Reform – Andy Wightman is also a champion of open access information – as Senscot tries to be. Here is his webpage for evidence to the Review Group. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13085
Big Society Capital has announced – that the focus of its next investment programme – (target £100m) will continue to be the promotion of Social Impact Bonds. As the attached article explains – SIBS are essentially privatisation schemes; like PFIs – they help govts shift costs off their balance sheets; they do this by allowing the private sector to run services and make profit for investors. Through Big Society Capital, the Govt. is spending millions promoting this model. Another chance to read ‘Top 10 reasons to be worried about SIBs’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13066
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: Transition Extreme Sports Limited, The Surefoot Effect CIC, Galgael Trust, Youth Football Scotland, Buddies Clubs & Services, Social Care Ideas Factory, The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 26 Jan; Intro- What is social enterprise?, 29 Jan; Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change, 31 Jan; Getting your message across, 6 Feb;
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Eric Peebles (Dundee City Council) this week presented the new Dundee Social Enterprise Development Strategy to the SEN last week. Eric has worked closely with DSEN members and key stakeholders to develop this document and also announced that a Development Board has been set up to oversee the delivery of actions set out in the Strategy. The Development Board will consist of reps from DSEN, Dundee City Council, elected members and the private sector. In terms of their definition of social enterprise, Dundee City Council has adopted the Scottish 5 Criteria that has been aligned within the SE Code of Practice. See Strategy here, www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=876. For more Networks News, see http://se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=275
The Social Enterprise Exchange is only a couple a months away – 21st March at the SECC in Glasgow. Places are still available for day delegates or to book stall/exhibition spaces. This week, the Programme was finalised. See, http://socialenterpriseexchange.com/programme/. To book your place, see senscot.net/?viewid=12926
Enjoyed this Guardian piece by Colin Crooks – about the David v Goliath battle between the big corporate battalions and our own third sector. The corporates have the muscle. "But so much of the effectiveness of social enterprises is due to the way they do things and what motivates them. They engage with communities that others cannot touch and they tailor services with them to their specific needs. They take risks. They do so through a deep commitment to a place or involvement in a community. It simply isn’t realistic to try to bottle that sort of passion and recreate it." See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13052
This Bulletin is a fan of Harry Burns – Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer – not only competent – but also cares. He has been speaking again about Scotland’s disgraceful health inequalities – and confesses to being puzzled. "One of the things that always puzzled me was – why Glasgow?" That’s the big one, isn’t it? Daily Record did the best piece. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13083
This week’s bulletin profiles the UK’s first social enterprise MOT Centre – developed by the Staran Community Interest Company in Stornoway. Staran is a social enterprise, set up by Third Sector Hebrides, and has been providing a range of services to the local community for over 20 years. These services include various community bus contracts, school meals delivery service, vehicle maintenance service as well as grounds maintenance for both the public and private sector. In November 2012, Staran launched its latest service – the MOT Centre – creating two new jobs – without any public subsidy or grant. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=13088
One of my all-time favourite poems is Kindness – by Naomi Shihab Nye; liked it so much – I chose it as the title of my new collection of musings (Laurence’s new book) – http://www.senscot.net/musings.php In the linked interview – Naomi tells how the poem came to be written; in Colombia – in 1978 – while she and her husband were robbed on a bus… https://senscot.net/?viewid=13087
Last week – the founder of AfriKids, Georgie Fienberg – spoke out on BBC Four’s ‘Thought’ – against fundraising appeals based on pity. Her call for more respect for beneficiaries – received widespread support – and reminds me of the words of Lila Watson – the Australian Aboriginal leader: "If you have come to help me – you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine – then let us walk together." This beautiful and insightful quote – identifies solidarity – not charity – as the basis of meaningful social change. Compassion as in exchange between equals. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13077
That’s all for this week.
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