Dear members and friends,
It’s a retirement party – Jim is telling a story, "I know this guy who was convicted of drink driving – killed someone – got 5 years; but when he arrives at the open prison – they hand him an Argos catalogue – tell him to select a duvet cover!!" Howls of outrage from the company – feel it myself. Then all eyes turn to me – with the expectation that Laurence will now put the other point of view – the human rights angle; feel kind of ‘trapped in role’.
It’s the same with discussions about ‘scroungers’. Left-wing Guardianistas, like myself, need to find a language that we’re comfortable with; which doesn’t diminish anyone – but makes clear our unease with a subculture which says its ok for able-bodied people to do no purposeful work – to make no contribution to the common good. The outrageous level of inequality all around us – prevents us saying this kind of thing – but we still need to discuss it, sensibly.
Most of us live remote from poor people; this week I happen on a family group at Morrisons checkout – frugal purchases laid out (99p for 4 burgers). I’ve got lamb chops, Haagan Daz ice cream, raspberries from Chile; doesn’t feel fair. I want this woman to be spared the daily gut wrenching panic of feeding her children. I suppose it’s a guilt thing – why in public discussion I’ll argue for the underdog – even a prisoner choosing his duvet cover.
Nearing the end of our annual collection – two weeks left for individual membership subscriptions – average £25. Partner organisations are invited to take up associate membership – small organisations from £50 – large organisations from £100. See 2013 list – we’re up to 70% of last year’s total, www.senscot.net/companymembers13.php. To donate, see www.senscot.net/donate.php
Scotland on Sunday this week had a great piece by Karine Polwart, the Scottish singer/songwriter – spelling out the reasons why she’ll vote yes for independence. Karine argues, that if the UK shared her core values – then independence, for her, would be a low priority. But she sees the UK as dominated by the culture of the City of London – mired in selfishness, greed and corruption. She tells a hopeful story of a fairer, greener Scotland – where compassion is valued. Gerry Hassan warns us to be wary of "a smug, uncritical belief in the story of ‘Scotland’s Good Society’" – but I’m with Karine. I want Scotland to reject grubby city values – be ‘a beacon of social democracy’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13194
The potential for community share issues is huge – the local shop – housing co-op – energy – sports clubs etc. Since 2009 in the UK – 15,000 people have invested £15m – in over 100 businesses. The major surge is in England – driven by their new Govt backed Community Shares Unit. Senscot is supporting DTAS to establish the equivalent service in Scotland – but our Govt has still to make its mind up on this one. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13192
Regular readers will be aware that Senscot supports a common understanding of what the term social enterprise means; we have been part of the work to draft the Voluntary Code of Practice for SE in Scotland. Someone posted this piece on the Guardian SE Network recently – arguing that any agreed definition of SE would be detrimental. How can we say ‘support SE – we don’t know what it is’? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13190
The Westminster Govt is telling us that ‘payment-by-results’ contracts are here to stay – so we may as well get used to them; but some of us have consistently argued, that the private sector prime contractors would simply cream off the ‘profitable’ clients – and park the ‘difficult’ cases. Research from the Third Sector Research Centre this week confirms that – in the Work Programme contracts that’s precisely what is happening. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13191
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: Elgin Youth Development Group, L’Arche Edinburgh, Ecole Enterprise, Mental Health Advocacy Project (West Lothian), Ullapool Community Trust, Edinburgh University Students Association
EVENTS: Out of the Blue Flea Market, 23 Feb; Crowdfunding Workshop, 27 Feb; Diploma in Training and Development, 28 Feb; Social Enterprise Exchange, 21 Mar;
TENDERS: Supply and Installation of Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels in Renfrewshire and Provision of a Catering Service for the Scottish Natural Heritage Battleby Office. For more details, see www.readyforbusiness.org
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Next week, Senscot is participating in a session at The Gathering – ‘Third Sector and health and social care – where next?’ As part of the implementation of the NHS Quality Strategy, Senscot, with support from ReadyforBusiness, has been leading an action group to develop, test and embed Community Benefit Clauses in NHS Procurement. Three action groups were set up in November 2011, endorsed by the Quality Alliance Board, to improve engagement between key individuals in health boards and the third sector. Other action groups have developed a Web Resource and an Engagement Matrix which will be formally launched at the event next week. See, http://se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=927 For more Networks News, see http://se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=280
Next Thursday (28th Feb) is the Gathering – the primary jamboree of Scotland’s generic third sector. It will encompass a citizens’ assembly – for 250 people – hosted by ‘So Say Scotland’; it aspires to create a space for constitutional debate beyond the punch and judy of political parties; good luck to them. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13154
Jean Urquhart and Gerry Hassan run periodic thinking and social weekends under the title ‘Changin Scotland’ – been doing it for years. There’s another one lined up for weekend 22nd – 24th March. See full programme, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13170
I’m through to Glasgow at least once a week – (Senscot has an office in Bath Street); on the return train journey – I often reflect on the differences between our two great cities – totally different vibes. In the New Statesman this week, Alex Massie reviews a new book by Prof Robert Crawford called ‘On Glasgow and Edinburgh’. If it reaches paperback – I’ll get it – because the split in our culture between east and west puzzles me – I’d like to understand it better. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=13195
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) is recruiting again for their Social Entrepreneur Start-Up Programme – run in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group (£4k grants). There is also the ‘Scale Up’ programme (£15k grants). Deadline for applications is Wed, 3rd April – with two ‘open days’ taking place in Edinburgh (27th Feb) and Glasgow (5th March). See details,
Senscot promotes the vision of a Community Bank – owned by the third sector – which gathers together all our resources; this new Scottish institution would provide investment – tailored to our needs – underpinned by our values – keeping our own money circulating. We are working on a feasibility study – and would greatly appreciate your help in scoping the requirements of our community. It’s genuinely a 10 minute job. See, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/73C6LRN We’ll run this for another week or two.
This week’s bulletin profiles Centre 81, a social enterprise, based on Garelochhead (10 mins from Helensburgh) that provides a range of services for groups and businesses. Their services including venue hire for seminars/functions, B&B accommodation, catering as well as their own gym. Centre 81 is the trading subsidiary of Route 81 Youth Project Ltd. All profits generated from the services of Centre 81 go towards ensuring the sustainability and long-term viability of Route 81 Youth Project. For more, see
"Think of a tree. When you think of a tree, you tend to think of a distinctly defined object. But when you look at it more closely, you will see that it has no independent existence. When you contemplate it you will find that it dissolves into an extremely subtle net of relationships that stretch across the universe. The rain that falls on its leaves, the wind that sways it, the soil that nourishes and sustains it all the seasons all form part of the tree. As you think about the tree more and more you will discover that everything in the universe helps make the tree what it is; that it cannot be isolated from anything else and at every moment its nature is subtly changing." Tibetan Lama, Soygal Rinpoche in ‘Universe Makes The Tree’.
That’s all for this week.
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210