Senscot Bulletin: 18.07.08

Dear members and friends,


A gathering of the tribe – 50 of us scattered between the house and garden – great food – the smell of barbecue – but it’s too cold outside – another failed summer.  Zoë finds me sitting on the stair landing, eating ice-cream – she’s 4 – skinny – street wise – combative.  ‘‘Spose there’s this boy, right – and he doesn’t do what he’s spose to, right – what should happen to him?’’  She’s talking about her brother Philip (5) – she’s at the mix. 
Nearly everyone here is descended from nonna Carolina or nonno Gerardo – clan Crolla or clan Di Ciacca. We are a tribe of rough and ready hill farmers transported from an undiscovered valley midway between Rome and Naples.  Our valley is more beautiful than Tuscany and Umbria – ringed by the dramatic peaks of the Apennines – but its remoteness meant that time stood still: ‘‘The Roman’s left – the bandits came – for the next 1400 years we never saw a teacher’’.  Our grandparents made a good move – the tribe has prospered in Scotland.  I’ve known most of these people since childhood – a smattering of successful professionals – but mostly business people. Big Frank, the monarch of the glen – like his dad good at business – very wealthy.  Tommy – like his dad hopeless with money – great storyteller – ringed by a crowd in fits of laughter. We’re a fair cross section.  The ‘auld yins’ would be proud.
Zoë pokes me – she wants me in her campaign against Philip – the combative bit is from her mum. I try to explain that ‘‘family is forever’’ – how precious it is – but she wants to poke his eyes out.
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Good piece in the Big Issue this week about the decision of Glasgow City Council to transfer certain surplus buildings to community ownership. Glasgow has been denied its fair share of the Lottery’s Growing Community Assets Fund because of the condition that the community group must own the funded asset. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh Councils over the years have resisted transferring assets to community ownership but now, thanks to the influence of the Lottery, an important and welcome precedent has been established. More than any other single factor, asset ownership has been shown to enhance the empowerment of communities. Cynics say that this move is just window-dressing for the impending `externalisation` of more Glasgow Council services – we prefer to think of it as forward-thinking. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7382
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The Scottish Government`s consultation on the priorities of the Dormant Bank Accounts Fund is now well underway. The sums available to the Scottish Third Sector are estimated at £40m initially and £4m per year thereafter. Sometime in 2009, the Fund will be distributed by BIG who have issued an advice note to assist the consultation process. Closing date is 8th September. Here’s a link to advice note and consultation survey
http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7383
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Ealing Community Transport (ECT) – one of the flagship social enterprises – got into financial difficulties and to save itself sinking, sold out to the private sector. In the same position, given the brains, I’d have done the same thing – but that doesn’t mean it’s not sad. Stephen Sears, whom I greatly admire, says “The only people complaining are some of those who comment on social enterprise” – but there’s more to it than that. The social enterprise movement is trying to assert that there is an alternative way to run things. We’re still learning – the stories of ECT, One Plus etc have lessons for us – but some of the real issues are not being discussed. Good piece in the Guardian, https://senscot.net/?viewid=7379
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The community sector in England is still deciding whether the recent Community Empowerment White Paper is a yes or a no. Simon Jenkins of the Guardian is in no doubt: “A Soviet municipality under Lenin would have been treated less patronisingly.” He goes OTT at times – but he’s a doughty champion of the localist cause. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7380
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NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/index.php?W21ID=86&W21SUBID=0. This week: 
JOBS: 20 vacancies, incl. posts with: Cornerstone Community Care, New Caledonian Woodlands, Edinburgh Cyrenians, CRNS, Govanhill Youth Project, Business Community Connections, Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, The Wise Group
EVENTS: 15 events: Football and Regeneration – A place for community football?, 20 Aug, Kilmarnock; More Than Furniture 08 – Bigger, Better, Bolder, 27 Aug, Glasgow, Master Composter Training, Sep, Edinburgh; Social Enterprise World Forum, 5 Sep, Edinburgh; Learning Without Limits, 12 Sep, Angus; Swell, Oct0Sep, North Ayrshire; Community Funding launches, Sep-Oct, various locations; Blairgowrie & East Perthshire Walking Festival, 12 Oct, East Perthshire
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NETWORKS 1st: `Aspire to Enterprise` – the Business Support programme for social enterprises in Lowland Scotland – is now moving into the second half of its pilot period. Of 34 enquiries to date, 26 have been approved to receive Aspire`s business support services – 10 of which are LSEN members. The response across the country has been pretty well spread with two exceptions – Grampian and Forth Valley. If you’re interested in finding out more, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=40
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Every Tuesday, the Herald carries a feature called `Society` which tries to cover the Third Sector among other themes. I’ve always considered their Social Enterprise stuff to be a bit `off the pace` – but this week, editor Stephen Naysmith has penned an informed piece about the EKOS Report on Futurebuilders and the emergence of Firstport. https://senscot.net/?viewid=7378
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Many independent community organisations of the 1970s and `80s didn’t survive the imposition of the `Partnerships` with statutory bodies. Wester Hailes Rep Council, which dissolved last month, is one example. Chik Collins profiles a Clydebank Resource Centre which has retained its independence for over 37 years with support from the Trade Union movement. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7387
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The Big Tent – Scotland’s Annual Festival of Stewardship – is almost upon us – Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th July. This gathering of the environmental and cultural revival movements happens every year in Falkland among great music. Camping – good prices – family weekend. Check out their website http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7381
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This week’s bulletin profiles a new social enterprise, based in Moray, which operates an on-line shop selling environmentally friendly products. Environmental Education for Communities Organisation (EECO) was set up in October 2007 and, via their website, sells environmentally friendly, organic and local products which, in turn, will help and support the local environment, individuals and local communities. EECO`s longer term plans include setting up an Education and Visitors Centre that would also provide supported employment placements. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7384
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For half a century, The Paris Review has featured interviews with the greatest authors of our times. Canongate is collecting the best of them into volumes. This paragraph is the end of the interview with James Baldwin in 1984.


“I don’t try to be prophetic, as I don’t sit down to write literature. It is simply this: a writer has to take all the risks of putting down what he sees. No one can tell him about that. No one can control that reality. It reminds me of something Pablo Picasso was supposed to have said to Gertrude Stein while he was painting her portrait. Gertrude said, I don’t look like that. And Pablo replied, You will. And he was right.”


That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures


Best wishes,
Laurence


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