Dear members and friends,
Certain individuals – every time I meet them – I come away feeling bad – depleted. Being older I’m better able to defend myself from negativity – but when I was young, I actually went looking for it; drawn to understand the lives of the most desperate among us – who do dreadful things. Did I imagine myself the unflinching voice from the front line. Maybe like Brecht I believed: ‘‘The very simplest words must be enough – when I say what things are like – everyone’s heart must be torn to shreds’’.
But I feel differently now – rarely visit the war zones. It’s not that I don’t care anymore – just that I don’t go looking for it. I don’t even watch the TV news – too negative. Now in my 70th year, I feel more at peace than I’ve ever been – dark moods are fewer and shorter. Solitude suits my temperament; in the garden or workshop the simple pleasure of making things is stronger than ever; and although for some of us, optimism is not a given – I’ve learned that it can be nurtured.
In the title poem of his latest collection ‘‘Small Hours’’ – Lachlan MacKinnon asks the purpose of writing: ‘‘To report on the dreadful with an unflinching voice – is that poetry? To say life is terrible – man a morass of contradictions? Or to move like a person of leisure – dreamed of leisure – from long curtained rooms to the bright thriving garden.’’
I’m very impressed with the report – ‘Making good society’ – about the future of Civil Society in the UK. I attended the Scottish launch in Edinburgh yesterday and I’ve downloaded the 22 page summary. The commission has prioritised 4 areas where it believes a stronger civil society can make the most difference: Growing a more civil economy – ensuring a just and rapid transition to a low carbon economy – democratising media ownership and content – helping to develop more deliberative and participatory democracy. Our national consciousness of civil society and its potential to mobilise for change needs to grow dramatically. I believe this report will help build momentum. The vision of a transition from the age of ‘me’ to the age of ‘we’ is eloquently captured in this 2 page Foreward by Geoff Mulgan – chair of the Commission. http://www.senscot.net/view_res.php?viewid=9297
To decide the best way forward with regard to the Social Enterprise Mark in Scotland, Senscot has carried out two actions to gauge the wishes up here. The first action has been to hold a poll – three possible options. Over 130 social enterprises and individuals responded with a clear majority (75%) in favour of a Scottish version of the Mark. The second action involved taking soundings from members of our reference group. The outcome is that we have been asked to prepare a simple statement of what we understand to be the criteria by which the social enterprise community in Scotland wishes to define itself. This statement is to be circulated widely for reaction and we will also approach Scottish Govt for support towards creating an independent Scottish Identifier. Criteria paper next week – meantime, here are the poll results and a selection of comments. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9322
Last week’s bulletin referred to lack of information on the progress of the Dormant Bank Accounts. Scottish Govt has been in touch to say that work is ongoing altho` there are complications. They are still hopeful that funds will be available from the middle of 2011 through the BIG Lottery. Complications include that fact that some of the legislation involved is a UK matter and that elections will be taking place both north and south of the border during the next 12/15 months. Scottish Govt has, however, agreed that the central purpose of the fund will be to support strong, resilient communities. Here’s a Govt update,
Senscot is one of the seven founder members of the UK Charity Unltd which has published research about the ‘amplified ripple effect’ of its support to social entrepreneurs. Investment in start up social enterprise, delivered in Scotland by Firstport, enables enterprising citizens to invent new solutions to social needs – whilst creating employment. The Firstport programme has proven itself and deserves to be extended. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9299
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: Social Firms Scotland, Church of Scotland, Midlothian Voluntary Action, Hamilton & Clydesdale and East Kilbride Women\’s Aids, Community Woodlands Association , Children in Scotland, LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Ballater (RD) Ltd, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland
EVENTS: DTAS & The Glasshouse Building Design Study Visits & Support, 20 Mar; Emerging Eritrea: Development Strategies and the Challenges of Nation Building, 20 Mar; Business Acquisition: Getting Ready to Buy, 24 Mar; Firebrand Women – The Rent Strikes, 30 Mar; Fit for Purpose, 23 Apr;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Ready for Business (RfB) is seeing a significant increase in the number and scale of contract opportunities available to social enterprises in Scotland. This has gathered pace lately with the partner organisations (Senscot, Social Firms Scotland and CEiS) being directly approached by national private sector companies looking to deliver on the Community Benefit Clauses that are now being built into their tendering process. 150 social enterprises are currently on the register. We are convinced that the current trend will see these opportunities increase even further. If you’re keen to have the chance to access these opportunities, register now at http://www.ReadyforBusiness.org.
For more Networks News, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=133
There’s been a strong response already for this year’s ‘Fit for Purpose’ Conference. The event takes place on Friday 23rd April at the Perth Concert Hall. Our keynote speakers include Mary Allison (Director of Programme Design and Delivery at NHS Health Scotland) and Dr Lynne Friedli (one of the UK`s leading mental health specialists and advocate of social prescribing). To book your place,
A new MORI poll – commissioned by the Scottish SE Coalition – shows that public awareness of social enterprise in Scotland has risen by 11% in just six months. This means that 65% of Scots surveyed know about social enterprise compared to less than half that percentage in England. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9321
A study has revealed that the number of social enterprises in the UK could be 232,000 and not the present official figure of 62,000. We are all aware that our sector in growing but certainly not at that rate! It comes down to how you define a social enterprise which brings us back to the issue of definitions and criteria. Do we want fast growth/high volume – or do we set the bar higher for a slow burn? Both have their attractions. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9300
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in Aberdeenshire providing Information Technology training to local people from eight to eighty! BITES, based in the village of Maud, provides a range of courses that are tailored to meet on people’s individual ability or for businesses. Courses can be delivered from their premises in Maud or on an outreach basis. For more, see
This poem called June the Second, by Tom Leonard was written in 1996 – then put away in a drawer for 7 years as being too personal to publish. Then with his wife Sonya’s consent it was published and now it’s in his 2009 collection: ‘‘Outside the Narrative.’’
it is dawn and my wife is coming to bed – and she has been watching a film about the life of charlie parker – and the air in the bedroom is silent while she undresses – and the light is there at the side of the curtain beyond her head – and she tells me his body gave up of drink and drugs when he was 34 – and I decide I am awake and go to the kitchen for a drink of water – and the sky in the north is translucent like a lake – translucent like a lake though it is only 3am – and when I go back we lightly hold hands as we sometimes do – until the first to be falling asleep begins to twitch and tonight it’s Sonya – and I withdraw my hand and lie back looking at the ceiling – I am aged 51 years and nine months and nine to ten days
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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