Dear members and friends,
Increasingly I prefer familiar books to new ones – probably an age thing. Spending time just now with my old pal Kurt Wallander – re-reading the ‘The Troubled Man’. The plots of Henning Mankell’s ‘police procedurals’ are secondary – but I feel a strong identification with the character of Wallander – who anchors the series. I like the general mood of world weariness; the turbulence of Kurt’s personal life is convincing – his gloomy tetchiness; I appreciate the lack of glamour – that junk food and booze bring diabetes; it’s important to me that his exposure to human wickedness has not defeated Kurt’s hope – sometimes its close.
At heart though, this final book is an examination of ageing. Kurt’s career as a policeman has dominated his life – key relationships were put under strain; his late father, his divorced wife Mona, his daughter Linda. Now, facing retirement, he looks back at an honest, if flawed life – and wonders what the future will bring.
Henning Mankell says that he does not particularly admire Wallander – that in real life he wouldn’t be a close friend; I take issue with this. We have all known individuals who put too much into work – at the expense of personal issues – a kind of displacement. I have long admired the energy and commitment of such ‘displaced’ colleagues. Though he can be thoughtless and brusque – there is no pretence about Kurt; and at times I feel very close to his inner turmoil. He can be my friend if he wants.
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The banking industry’s determination to pay itself 50 times more than the rest of us – shows breath-taking arrogance; it also shows that there is a global elite beyond the reach of democracy – more powerful than governments. A growing number of us – having realised that banking has gone off on its own – are actively engaged creating a new economics – one for everyone’s benefit. Just below the surface of media attention – literally thousands of grassroots efforts have been quietly developing- – changing institutions – democratising money. Senscot’s work with SCRT comes into this category- your participation is invited. Changing the money system is a long term aspiration – ‘but though we dream, we are not dreamers – and we’re not going away’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18512
The Community Business Scotland (CBS) Network – established in 1981 – has decided to cease operations; its board has decided “to close down and celebrate its achievements”; and significant achievements they were. In a real way CBS laid the foundations – was the precursor – of the present burgeoning SE movement in Scotland. Alan Kay’s letter gives the flavour. The direct involvement of the late John Pearce in the drafting of Scotland’s SE Code – is one of the ways that the values and behaviours CBS established – will carry on into the future. These pioneers have much to celebrate. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18513
This will be an important year for land reform and Andy Wightman has prepared a helpful briefing of our Govt’s proposals – see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18523 You should also know about an exciting new campaigning website to connect and coordinate disparate contributions – it’s called Scottish Land Action Movement (SLAM). http://www.scottishlandactionmovement.org/ . More next week
The New Labour strategy – to draw the capital markets into financing third sector developments – has thankfully failed; even outline knowledge of our sector would have saved wasted years. But in London the notion of ‘impact’ investment is kept alive by the moneylenders themselves – assisted by a government which just wants rid of delivering services. Les Huckfield – a Senscot board member with good knowledge of these matters – was down in London last week – championing the Scottish position to a mainly hostile gathering. The attachment suggests that ‘our lad done good’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18507
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: Voluntary Action Fund, RAMH, Larder Cook School, Midlothian Financial Inclusion Network, GMAC Film, Touring Network, Glasgow Bike Station,
EVENTS: Meet a Mentor Event for Women, 29 Jan; Leading Growth for Aspiring Leaders, 4 Feb; Media Training, 4 Feb; Pre-Start Leadership. 5 Feb; Social Enterprise Insights, 12 Feb;
TENDERS: Therapeutic Counselling in Schools in East Lothian, East Lothian Council; Levengrove Park, West Dunbartonshire Council; CashBack for Communities: Delivery Partner, Scottish Government;
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Next week Social Firms Scotland and Senscot head to Brussels to participate in the EU Social Entrepreneurship Network closing conference. The EU SEN has looked to share good practice via ‘peer review’ meetings over the last two years – with one of its primary aims being to ensure a comprehensive support environment for social enterprises across the EU; and to equip partners to promote and implement projects involving social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. The event will conclude with a presentation highlighting results and recommendations. We’ll circulate this next week. For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=382
Asda supermarkets announced this week that they have selected SIS and Foundation Scotland as partners to distribute the new plastic bag tax in Scotland. They’re calling the fund ‘Asda Community Capital’ – soft loans for SEs and small grants for communities. It’s a good call from Asda – but how useful it becomes will depend on the red tape attached. Pauline Hinchion, who leads SCRT, says: “The ASDA/SIS link up on the use for the Plastic Bag tax acknowledges what SCRT has been saying for some time about the need for smaller, simpler, unsecured loans for the sector. So it will be welcome news for many organisations”. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18509
Many of our established grant funders are keen to support the longer term sustainability of SEs – often in the form of capital grants. What they seem less willing to do is encourage or support their grant recipients in commissioning other SEs and social firms, where possible, to help in the delivery of the agreed products/services – for fear of breaching procurement regulations. A reader, this week, writes to highlight this anomaly. Surely, with all the talk about creating an environment in which SE can flourish, this appears to be a ‘no brainer’. We’d welcome other people’s view on this. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18506
For as long as I can remember Pat Conaty has been a star among UK social entrepreneurs; wonder if he’s as old as me? He’s got a short piece on the Cooperatives UK site about social cooperatives – and their particular suitability for the delivery of integrated health and social care services. The singular feature of this legal structure is that workers, volunteers and care users are all members of the same cooperative; planning, evolving and delivering services as co-producers. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=18508
This week’s bulletin profiles an Edinburgh-based creative agency and textile collective that is looking to address a distinct lack of support and space within the arts and community for contemporary textile practice. Kalopsia was set up in 2012 and operates as a social enterprise. It has grown to a team of seven – all hailing from different practices; from textile creators, graphic designers and illustrators to filmmakers and stylists. Kalopsia sees the value in using textiles as a means to create established, productive and positive connections between the Scottish textiles scene, local communities and international groups. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=18510
A lyrical piece this week from George Monbiot – https://senscot.net/?viewid=18511 – reminded me of Joseph Campbell’s work – of our connectedness to what we came from. Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1981) researched and wrote about our complex heritage of mythology and its implications for modern humanity.
“Neither in body nor in the mind do we inhabit the world of those hunting races of the Palaeolithic millennia, to whose lives and life ways we nevertheless owe the very forms of our bodies and the structures of our minds. Memories of their animal envoys still must sleep, somehow, within us; for they wake in terror to thunder. And again they wake, with a sense of recognition, when they enter any one of those great painted caves. Whatever the inward darkness may have been to which the shamans of those caves descended in their trances, the same must lie within ourselves, nightly visited in sleep”.
That’s all for this week.
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