Dear members and friends,
At 22.22pm this evening (Friday 21st Dec), the sun will reach its lowest annual point – only seven hours of light – our shortest day; at this time, with each passing year, it feels that the Winter Solstice matters more to me – a powerful symbol of ‘renewal’. Stonehenge (5,000 years old?) was precisely pointed at Winter Solstice sunset – so it’s not exactly a new fad. Every day now will lengthen towards Spring, then Summer: “lift up your hearts”.
Plato (c.427-347BC) taught that there were two ways of arriving at truth – one he called ‘mythos’ (myth) – and the other ‘logos’ (reason); he considered them complementary and of equal stature – both essential. By ‘mythical’, Plato did not mean ‘untrue’ – as we do; he meant the primordial images and symbols – older than recorded history – which still make up the groundwork of the human psyche; the Winter Solstice is mostly mythos. We humans are ‘meaning-seeking’ creatures, who fall easily into confusion and despair. When faced with tragedy, reason is silent and has nothing to say. Throughout human history – it has been mythology, and its accompanying rituals, which provide our strength and inspiration.
No bulletin for two weeks – I’ll enjoy the break, as a new solar year gets underway – daylight now building imperceptibly. We live at a time when ‘logos’ (science and technology) is producing spectacular results – at a time when ‘mythos’ is discredited. But Jung himself warned, that we are not as removed from ‘primitivity’ as our modern psyches imagine; and that the more critical reason dominates – the more impoverished life becomes. (see end piece).
“Meanwhile the country burned – and Westminster prepared to go on holiday for two weeks”. This ending of John Crace’s political sketch just about sums it up: our country, divided against itself, has been comprehensively failed by our system of Govt. Crace suggests that our PM’s behaviour has tipped over – from incompetence to mental disintegration; that ‘determination’ has been replaced by manic delusion.
A few days ago, Britain’s former EU Ambassador, Sir Ivan Rogers, gave a lecture in Liverpool, which Jon Snow (Channel 4 News) called a ‘must read’ (it’s a long read). As the Guardian reports, Rogers predicts that the public will not forgive politicians for their dishonesty about Brexit choices – for the open lies which insult people’s intelligence. Our parliamentary system has failed disgracefully.
In these times of a globalised, neoliberal economy, I’m starting to notice pushback from what is called ‘a new municipal wave’ – from European cities with progressive municipal administrations: Barcelona, Cadiz, Amsterdam, Grenoble etc – and this piece about Naples. In each of these places, citizens have rejected traditional politics – and through local elections, have taken control of their cities; their political agendas often originate from social causes – using participatory platforms. All ‘new municipalist’ cities have common guidelines: ‘people before profits – citizens before the laws of the market’. They experiment with innovative models of citizenship, local participatory democracy, property held in a new ‘commons’. I wonder if this will spread?
‘Big Money’, is an in-depth reporting project conducted by the Guardian (with a grant from the Ford Foundation). It’s a series of articles investigating the social and political clout of America’s super wealthy; whether they undermine open democracy. In August, we referenced a book called ‘Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World’ – which exposes the privileged ‘philanthro-capitalists’, who delude themselves that they protect the interests of the poor. This is an interview with its author, Anand Giridharadas, who argues that they are less helping the world, than propping up the broken system that sustains them.
A quote from the great Carl Jung: “For it is important and salutary to speak also of incomprehensible things”.
“We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend… But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the “discontents” of civilization. Unfortunately, the mythic side of humankind is given short shrift nowadays. We can no longer create fables. As a result, a great deal escapes us; for it is important and salutary to speak also of incomprehensible things. The more critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes; but the more of the unconscious, the more of myth we are capable of making conscious, the more of life we integrate”.
That’s all for 2018 – kindest regards from everyone at Senscot.
Our last Bulletin of the year tends to reflect on the year gone by – identifying some highlights and/or significant developments for SENs and their members – and for the wider SE community. Obviously, we can’t include everything, but some include – three SE Ref Sub-Group Events; 13 Glasgow SEN and Health SEN members delivering the Pockets and Prospects project; 4 SENs participating in Unlocking Potential Pilot; 50 SEN members profiled in Aim to Flourish; 8 Senscot Briefings; and 7 Community Learning Exchanges. In addition, Senscot and SEN members participated in Govt-led Advisory Groups – in Creative Industries; Changing Lives through Sport; and Tourism. The SE World Forum also returned to Edinburgh for its 10th anniversary. Senscot’s core work continues to focus on trying to act in the best interests of the SENs and their members. With 16 local SENs (900 SEs involved) and 7 thematic SENs (450 SEs), they represent the cornerstone of the SE community in Scotland. This infographic captures some of the above and more.
Keep up to date with the latest jobs, events and funding opportunities in the social enterprise sector.
This week, Scottish Govt published ‘A Connected Scotland – our strategy for tackling isolation and loneliness and building stronger connections’ – committing an additional £1m investment over the next two years. Senscot has been actively engaged in this process and it is good to see the role of SE being recognised – particularly with reference to our recent Briefing – Loneliness and Social Isolation: The Role of Social Enterprise. It’s also encouraging to read of the commitment to strengthen the cross-governmental approach and get support into local communities. Pockets and Prospects (P&P) is a Scottish Govt funded initiative, administered by SCA. This year, Senscot and Glasgow SEN (GSEN) together delivered a P&P project linked to the national Campaign to End Loneliness – small investments to local organisations – making a huge impact, see report here. We’ll be exploring, with partners, rolling this out further in the New Year.
Dundee Social Enterprise Network (DSEN), together with Dundee City Council, lead on the City’s SE Strategic Planning Group. The Group intends creating a new SE Strategy for Dundee in the year ahead – in the hope of providing greater focus and direction for the SE community in the city. To get things moving, they are carrying out this surveyto ensure the Strategy is designed around the needs of the SE community itself.
The Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) was set up in 1998 – to demonstrate that: “regeneration is making a difference to the people of Scotland and the places in which they live and work”. This month, it celebrated its 20th anniversary, including annual awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. It is good to see that the work taking place in some of our more rural communities continues to be recognised.
This week’s bulletin profiles a community enterprise on the southside of Glasgow that is undergoing a major renovation following its purchase by the community this year. Kinning Park Complex(KPC) was purchased in March 2018 following grants from the Scottish Land Fund and the Big Lottery. They are currently crowd-funding (£50k) to help them source the additional funds required to complete the renovation. KPC has been run by the community since 1996 – following a 55-day sit-in which saved the Complex from closure. It has evolved into an important anchor organisation within the community – providing a range of activities and service that, together, help to bring people together, reduce isolation, build friendships and create a real sense of community. You can support the KPC Campaign here.