Dear members and friends,
From where I live (near Linlithgow) it’s only 40 minutes to Callender – ideal for a Sunday drive. There’s a big antiques warehouse nearby – where you can still find a bargain – with a decent restaurant called CIRCA. Over recent months I’ve been stalking a big terracotta Buddha (£60) – white glaze a bit shot – but he’s big jolly fellow who seems to catch my eye. On my way to visit him two Sundays ago – I realise how sad I would be if he’s sold – so I decide to invite him to live in my garden. But when I arrive at his stall, he’s not there – it surprises me how upset I feel – sit nearby to regain composure. ‘‘The big Buddha’s gone’’ I say to a passing salesperson. ‘‘No, just moved’’ she smiles. Nearly hug her.
So now he’s in the shed which houses my boiler – protected from frost – until I can make his new grotto – I’m thinking stone and black bamboo. I expect my new friend to set a mood of calm and equanimity. I had a great session in the garden on Sunday – Hibs V Rangers on the radio. Old Cath, who does the flower arranging in the church, is telling me about growing veg – that she is still picking sprouts. Rangers are awarded an easy penalty – before I can stop myself I say ‘‘F***’’. Apologise right away – but Cath got a fright – out of order. Let’s hope that the arrival of ‘the enlightened one’ will rub off on me. Readers who never get past this opening bit, maybe unaware that this is the time of the year when Senscot invites donations. Please read the following item.
Legally, Senscot is a membership company with charitable status. We define our accountability to the constituency we serve through our board of directors – elected annually by company members. Each year around 100 supporters take company membership (£25) – so far this year we’re up to 58 – please consider joining. If the date suits we ask members to attend an AGM to monitor Senscot governance. This is the only expectation. Associate membership is also available for organisations at £100. Invoice available on request.
Ed Mayo – the new secretary general of Co-operatives UK – brings authority and clarity of thought to our sector. In the current Social Enterprise Mag. he says: ‘‘The term social enterprise has always benefited from its own ambiguity. It is not, and never has convincingly been, an institutional form. But it is a form of identity – something that we can feel part of’’. On balance I support the introduction of the new social enterprise identifier (SEM) – but inevitably, it will mean a gradual loss of ambiguity. A new term will be needed to evoke that broad movement that we can all feel part of. I believe that Muhammad Yunus’ term ‘social business’ will increasingly be used as the generic – to cover everything – from charities trading – through co-operatives, CICs, social enterprises, housing associations etc. It can even embrace the new social/private sector hybrids which Yunus pioneers so effectively. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9200
I have previously circulated an essay by Margaret Wheatley called ‘‘The Place Beyond Fear and Hope’’ – which proved very popular and still receives regular visits. A reader has sent me a talk by Wheatley to American education professionals called ‘‘How Large-Scale Change Really Happens: Working with Emergence’’. In it she challenges conventional theory – that change can be imposed systematically from above. Large scale change occurs, she argues, when small, separate local efforts connect – and strengthen their interactions and interdependences. I find this a very optimistic understanding – not far from what Senscot tries to do. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9189
The story of AFC Wimbledon is a remarkable one – I’ve just read it on their website. In 2002 the owner simply removed their beloved team and club to Milton Keynes. So the supporters organised to create a new club – which is marching from strength to strength. There are now 4000 shareholders of the Dons Trust – one vote each regardless of how may shares. Sports Clubs, particularly football, are crying out for conversion into supporter owned co-ops – because the conventional business model is busted. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9191
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/jobsevents.php. This week:
JOBS: Fairbridge in Scotland, The Scottish Government, Open Door Accommodation Project, Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project, Portobello Transition Town, Oxfam Scotland, Turning Point Scotland
EVENTS: HISEZ Annual Conference, 26 Feb; Introduction to business planning and strategy & measuring social impact, 10 Mar; Community Recycling Network Scotland 5th Annual Conference, 17 Mar;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: The gossip from civil servants is that – across departments – Govt. ministers urge more engagement with social enterprise. As previously reported, thematic networks in particular, show increased activity – with three conferences in the next three months. As well as the developed themes of Coalfields, Cultural, Health and Sport – two new ones are emerging – Social Enterprise and Youth; Social Enterprise and Justice. There will be a Youth Dragon’s Den at S2S in April and the Justice theme will host a ‘Social Enterprise and Scottish Prisons’ event in May. All of these areas of activity have come about as a direct result of the work of front line social enterprises and we are always keen to hear your stories. In particular – if you are already working with a Scottish Prison – please get in touch. For more Networks News, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=129
The Civil Society Summit in Edinburgh yesterday was most encouraging – I believe this initiative will take hold. Report next week.
Last year Scottish Govt. allocated £1.7m to a Resiliance Fund, for distribution to third sector organisations adversely affected by economic recession. Because of demand the amount was increased to £2.2m – distributed among the following 64 organisations. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9192
Peter Holbrook – the new CEO of the English Social Enterprise Coalition was passing through Edinburgh last week – a few of us gave him lunch. Bright, values led, great energy – likes to get out and about. His Sunlight Development Trust experience couldn’t be better credentials in my view. Cause for optimism. Here’s a piece about him. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9202
I enjoyed this piece in Scottish Review about the state of our small towns and burghs – where statistically most Scots still live. Kenneth Roy attributes their decline to the centralisation of power – supposedly in the name of efficiency. Sad story. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9199
We are told that if the Tories win power – there will be a major push to encourage the formation of workers co-operatives – particularly in the delivery of public services. There are countries where the co-operative sector accounts for 20% of GDP – I wish this was the case in the UK – but we need to question Tory motivation. I can’t imagine that co-operation and mutuality was a big topic at Eton’s Bullingdon Club.
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Glenrothes, Inspirational Therapies. Inspirational Therapies provides workshops on the Benefits of Complementary Therapies for Children with Autism. Inspirational Therapies aim is to get more parents, carers and front line staff interested in using Complementary Therapies to work with children and adults with Autsim. http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=9201
Terrible week for Hibs supporters – 8 goals conceded and still a game to go. But tomorrow Aidan will be back from NZ – to steady the Hibees.
Wendell Berry must be in his 70s now – I love so much of his view of the world. The connection to the local – simple – frugal – good work – good food. His reverence for all of life – it’s interconnectedness. Here’s his poem. The Peace of Wild Things. ‘‘When despair grows in me and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting for their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.’’
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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