Dear members and friends,
Never been comfortable with mobile phones, social media etc.– mainly because they feel intrusive – a breach of privacy; Mark Zuckerberg said “privacy is dead – get over it” – but my personal space feels more important to me than being ‘connected’ – my choice. In a lecture to the Law Society recently, one of England’s leading judges, Sir Geoffrey Voss, said that – because Britons have accepted growing levels of surveillance – carrying a mobile phone could, in future, be made compulsory – to make it easier to track and catch criminals. Because of my age, it’s unlikely that I’ll experience the ‘mandatory mobile’ but you can see the direction of travel.
I enjoy American ‘movies’ about exaggerated state surveillance; Mel Gibson’s ‘paranoid’ taxi driver in ‘Conspiracy Theory’; Will Smith in ‘Enemy of the State’; etc; but loss of privacy to the govt. (in a democracy) does not bother me as much as the surveillance of private corporations (which have no public accountability) When recently, I googled for hotels in Spain’s Estepona area, I was deluged for weeks with unsolicited, very ‘targeted’ offers. I find it ‘sinister’ that software can pinpoint me so easily and exactly; this same, sophisticated technology cannot be allowed to corrupt electoral patterns.
Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web and gave it to everyone – ‘the commons’. The internet now routinely collects all our data, so it also must pass from commercial and political exploitation to the safekeeping of the commons. “The mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights” Thomas Jefferson. (1743-1826)
I try to ignore Donald Trump as much as possible – in the hope that he will soon self-destruct – lower world anxiety. His family jaunt this week, to open a new embassy in Jerusalem, sparked the bloodiest violence in Gaza for years: 60 killed – over 2,000 injured; any unarmed person approaching the fence, was liable to be shot by Israeli snipers. Trump and the Israeli state are well matched in their open contempt for international conventions on human rights; are now complicit in the ferocity and ruthlessness of their behaviour towards Palestine. Please note – that deploring the savagery of the Israeli state is not anti-semitic – it’s anti-savagery.
Long term readers will be aware, that Senscot is not impressed with what is routinely called ‘social investment’; there is rarely anything ‘social’ about it and with few exceptions, better deals are available from mainstream banks. But exceptions exist – and this week we hear about the Social Investment Intelligence Network (SIIN) which, for the first time, makes available the perspectives of borrowers – rather than the blurb of the moneylenders. The ‘mover’ is once again our old friend David Floyd – a veteran challenger of social investment mythology; the key findings of his first SIIN report make interesting reading.
Another old friend, Niamh Goggin, has written an excellent article called: ‘Why we must embed social in social investment’. Niamh believes that SI has been taken in the wrong direction by bright, well-meaning, top-firm, city types – who simply lack the life, and work experience of the social sector. I agree.
I’ve never been convinced by the ploy of getting a film star to promote your charity or SE – too contrived; but I’m totally convinced by the enthusiasm of actor Michael Sheen, in his crusade against ‘pay day loan’ predators – inspirational. The opening of Castle Community Bank’s new branch in Edinburgh this week, shows that it’s perfectly feasible for us all to be served by financial co-operatives – not driven by naked profit (RBS rural closures) – but by the needs of customers – including those in difficulties. This new bank’s founders, and people like Michael Sheen, help us believe that we can replace shameless banking.
It’s difficult to explain the deep satisfaction I get from the decision of the Scottish Land Fund to support the community buyout of the 4900-acre Ulva Estate – the prospect of the island’s re-population; the confidence from living in a country which understands the core symbolism of such a venture.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
JOBS: Senscot, Whale Arts, Bridgend Inspiring Growth, Craigsfarm Community Development Project, Community Land Scotland, Re-Union Canal Boats, Impact Arts (Projects) Ltd
EVENTS: Healthy Daytime Disco, 21 May; Community Learning Exchange – Aberdeen FC Community Trust, 23 May; Senscot AGM 2018, 25 May; Coalfields Network Event, 01 June; The Big Lunch, 03 June
TENDERS: Tender for: Branding Articulation Exercise – West Lothian College, Inverclyde Resilience Project – Inverclyde Council, Christmas Markets 2018-2020 – Glasgow City Council
The SENs Weekly Update: Over the last 12 months, Senscot has published a series of Social Enterprise Briefing Papers focusing on a range of issues – social prescribing, community tourism and dementia amongst others. We’ll be focusing, in the months ahead, on other issues of relevance to social enterprise – including the Year of Young People and Mental Health. Two thirds of us experience mental health difficulties at some time in our lives – so it’s apt that this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, has its focus on stress. We’ve been highlighting the work of SEN members addressing a range of mental health issues as part of the campaign this week. Further work will include a series of SEN meetings looking at SE and Mental Health and will also include a specific Briefing Paper on this topic later in the year. For more info’ on any of the above, contact email@example.com
Senscot’s AGM takes place next Friday – 25th May 2018 (11am-1.30 pm) at the Scottish Youth Theatre, 105 Brunswick St, Glasgow G1 1TF. To date, 55 folk have registered but we would expect one or two cancellations – so there will be a couple of places available if anyone would still like to attend. To register, please see booking form. This year’s discussion will focus on resilience within our SE community – with speakers sharing their experiences of the particular challenges as grassroot social enterprises – and offering some practical steps that could be taken to provide a more supporting environment. Speakers on the day will include Alex Weir (Spruce Carpets) and Jean Cumming (Crisis).
Closing date for applications for the post of P4P Co-ordinator is next Friday – 25th May – with interviews taking place week commencing 4th June. See application pack or , for further info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week sees the formal winding up of the Govt’s Developing Markets Programme (DMP). DMP was initially contracted in 2011 and was delivered by a consortium led by ReadyforBusiness LLP (RfB). The Programme has provided a level of specialist knowledge and practical support to public sector bodies in Scotland to assist with their commissioning, procurement, community benefit and wider engagement with the third sector – particularly including support around Public Social Partnerships (PSPs) – see evaluation carried out by Glasgow Caley. Another important element of the DMP – the RfB SE Register – will continue to be administered by P4P over the next 12 months.
News this week from DTA Scotland member, Sustaining Dunbar, about their plans to establish a Co-working Centre in the town. The Centre will provide workspace, inspiration and support to freelancers, commuters, artists and businesses – with all profits from the project being invested in services like fundraising consultancy to help local community groups develop and expand. They are keen to let folk know about the project and to demonstrate to funders that it has the support of the community – and is an initiative that could be replicated by other development trusts and community organisations in towns across the country.
This week’s bulletin profiles a Leith-based social enterprise that picked up the ‘One to Watch’ prize in last year’s Scottish SE Awards. Projekt 42 is a gym and wellness centre in Leith that is looking to change the way people think about mental health and help people understand the connection between their mental health and physical fitness. Whilst currently based at the Newkirkgate shopping centre, Projekt 42 has ambitious plans to create a community hub in the area and work is already underway on a site just off Leith Walk. As a social enterprise, any of Projekt 42’s profit goes back into the local community, allowing them to provide free memberships, counselling and life coaching for the people who need them most
Thomas Jefferson was the principle author of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal – that they are endowed, with certain unalienable rights – that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed – That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.
That’s all for this week.
Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210