Dear members and friends,
I haven’t been to the cinema for years – but I buy and swap lots of DVDs – watch them in bed. Hollywood churns out predictable pap for mass consumption – China and India watching Die Hard 27. European stuff is better – some moral ambiguity; “the dangerous edge of things – the honest thief, the tender murderer, the superstitious atheist”.
This week I enjoyed ‘Song for Marion’ – the on-screen chemistry between Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp is masterful. They play a north of England pensioner couple – still in love. Marion is an extroverted, joyful person who embraces life – including singing in the local choir; but her cancer has returned – she’s dying. Arthur is an introverted, crabbit, pessimist; his only joy in life is through Marion – we want to understand what has caused Arthur to be so disappointed with life. We see the nobility of human loving and caring; and when his wife dies – we wonder how Arthur will survive; (perfectly pitched grief from Stamp). Prompted by his pining for Marion, Arthur joins her choir; he finds his voice – and inner courage to make and repair personal relationships – a kind of redemption.
The film made me examine my own relationships (sadly); caused me to weep a bit (tenderly); and left me with a warm smile on my face. Just ordinary people – moving through authentic moods and emotions – beautifully acted; this is all I need. I don’t need Bruce Willis saving our planet from an asteroid the size of Texas – pap.
We still have copies of Kindness – Laurence’s latest collection of musings. £10 plus £2 postage; or 2 for £20 – postage paid. Christmas pressies? See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
Most Saturdays at noon – doing tentative housework – I listen to ‘Off the Ball’, with Stuart Cosgrove and Tam Cowan. I enjoy the disrespect of their brash banter – but the Guardianista in me sometimes wonders about the Rab C Nesbit machismo – celebrating heroic bevvy sessions etc; is this harmful – does it trivialise Scottish culture? Cowan has recently been in the news – over a misjudged column in the Record – ridiculing women’s football. Two journalists I admire have different opinions on Cowan’s recent suspension by the BBC. Kenneth Roy (Scottish Review) believes that Cowan’s badinage does damage – wants him sacked – see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16181 Kevin McKenna (Observer columnist) values his irreverence as a counter-balance to the po-faced elitism of Scotland’s media lynch mob – see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16182 This issue exposes our class bias – liberal middle class or ‘punter’ culture? I find myself in the middle on this one.
‘When Bees meet Trees’ (good name) is a new report by two fellows on the Clore Social Leadership Programme. They argue that large charities, SEs, Housing Associations have ‘tree like’ qualities – scale, stability, influence, brand, resources, people etc. – but that their size makes them too risk averse to innovate. The report suggests that they need to identify and support ideas that originate outside their own organisation. There is a role for a few of the ‘Big Boys’ in Scotland’s SE community to explore the role of ‘social innovation broker’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16180
I still daydream about living in a carbon neutral cabin – close to nature; deploying the latest renewable technology – it will be snug and warm, with minimal fuel costs. Folk who have done more than dream about this life adjustment are writer activist Alastair McIntosh and his wife Verene – who have experimented successfully with a system which has radically cut their domestic energy costs. Alastair has helpfully written this up into a two page summary article. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16179
The suggestion that our SE community is now mature and confident enough to openly discuss our mistakes and failures has struck a chord. We’re getting a trickle of volunteers willing to share their valuable and painful experiences. Perhaps these case studies should be collected in a systematic way – to be made available as the shared wisdom of our community. Senscot is still minded to host a sharing seminar in Glasgow in early December. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16183
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: Scottish Drugs Form, Transition Stirling, Venture Trust, Community Transport Glasgow, SCORE Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Mental Health Foundation, RAMH, Big Lottery Fund, Firstport
EVENTS: An Introduction to Tendering, 22 Oct; 17th Edinburgh Independent and Radical Book Fair, 23 Oct; Scotland’s alternative festival of ideas, culture and politics, 1 Nov;
TENDERS: Provision of Website Design & Related Services – Scottish Social Services Council, Employee Occupational Health & Wellbeing and Independent Advocacy & Mediation Services – both Renfrewshire Council. http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=800
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Deadline for Dragons’ Den entries – today, 5pm. To apply, see
http://www.senscot.net/docs/dragonsdenentryform.doc . Over 140 folk have now signed up for the SE Conference and Ceilidh (14th/15th Nov at the Westerwood Hotel, near Cumbernauld). There are still a few overnight places available so if you’d still like to come along for the full event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll be ‘closing the doors’ within the next week or so. We will be in touch with all attendees over the coming week with further details re accommodation, workshops etc. We also will be making final ‘tweaks’ to the Conference programme – see draft, http://www.senscot.net/docs/CeilidhDraftProg13.pdf – and will have that available shortly. For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=318
Our AGM , a couple of weeks ago, approved amendments to Senscot’s constitution. Part of these amendments included increasing the number of Board members from 8 to 10. As part of this process, two new Board members were appointed – Jane Churchill (Healthy’n’Happy) and Jim Mullan (KibbleWorks). We look forward to both Jane and Jim’s contributions over the next 12 months. Here’s the full list of Board members, see, http://www.senscot.net/staff.php
There are still some places available for the “Participatory Leadership and transformational change in Scotland” event being run by The Art of Hosting – Scotland (www.aoh-scotland.org ) in Edinburgh next month. The programme will be looking at how local leadership in communities should actually be nurtured and developed. If you’re interested, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=16119
Panorama is preparing a ‘special’ about levels of pay in the charitable sector, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=16177 Personally, I believe this is an important issue – with the potential to damage public support for all of us. NCVO has assembled an experienced squad for its ‘executive pay enquiry’ – we await their findings in the spring. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16176
The recent announcement by the Dutch government of a 6bn euro budget cut – merited more media coverage; particularly the accompanying statement – that the traditional welfare state is to be replaced by a ‘participatory society’. This is shorthand for ‘we can’t afford the present social contract – citizens are going to have to do more for themselves’. This article appeared in a conservative Spanish newspaper – but I’m afraid it has the ring of truth about it – sobering. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16175
This week’s bulletin profiles an Edinburgh-based social enterprise (a member of Social Firms Scotland and Edinburgh SEN) that designs, makes and sells a range of greeting cards. In doing so, ‘Greetings from Leith’ (GfL) aims to provide creative work for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. All GfL’s materials are re-cycled – with their paper being made from 100% post-consumer waste from a small community in India. It’s also fitting that GfL is located where it is – as the world’s first greeting card was sold in Leith in 1841!.
From my own life experience – I have a strong conviction that we have a responsibility to speak openly to children about death. I extracted this from the article here, https://senscot.net/?viewid=16178
“My dad was a surgeon, and he talked about death all the time when I was a kid,” she says, “He’s got cancer, and he invited us in to see him. He was very weak. He got all the grandkids in bed with him and told them, ‘I’m going to die, but it really isn’t a very big deal. It’s what everybody does. My mother did it, my father , your parents – we’re all going to do it, and it’s okay, but saying goodbye is hard.’ A day later he was dead. It was the biggest gift to his grandkids, the way he died with such openness.”
That’s all for this week.
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