Dear members and friends,
The poet WB Yeats prayed that his newborn daughter would be plain and ordinary – believing that was her best chance of happiness; I’m old enough to appreciate this wisdom. The sad death of Whitney Houston set me thinking again about the relationship between booze and self destruction. Readers may be aware that I’m a drunk – who hasn’t touched the stuff for 10 years – not many get another chance. I have no hesitation in agreeing with Freud – that the human psyche contains the impulse to self destruct – which life can activate – or not. We think we know people, but we don’t know their inner struggles – moving between hope and despair. Henry James wrote, "Never say you know the last word about any human heart."
I got the results on Tuesday of my MRI scan – my spine, it seems, is older than the rest of me – ‘wear consistent with a lifetime of heavy manual labour’. It’s a bit like ‘the Picture of Dorian Gray’ – normal appearance masks internal degenerative change. Crossing Charlotte Square recently, a gust of wind upended me. The traffic stopped patiently but I couldn’t get up – eventually two big scaffolders carried me to the pavement – unhurt – people were so kind. A smiling friend remarked that it must have felt like the old days – on the bevvy. But that’s not so – I was never a fall down drunk – not often anyway.
A recurrent complaint from Social Enterprise Network (SEN) members – has been that the positive rhetoric from Scottish Government – particularly around reforming public services – has not been matched by the procurement practices of local government officials. It’s good to be able to report consistent signs that this picture is changing – that more and more councils are making serious approaches to our sector. The time has come to pay more attention to whither or not our SE community is ready for business. Derek Mackay, the Local Government and Planning Minister, has challenged third sector organisations to collaborate more – to form partnerships capable of winning more contracts. Scotland needs a new type of third sector primary contractor – with national reach – but whose express aim is to connect small local providers to the national delivery chain. The best of both worlds. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12031
The English think tank Policy Exchange published a report this week called Social Enterprise Schools. I can’t see Scotland showing much interest and it would be easy to dismiss this as Tory havers – but an aspect of the proposals is worthy of our note. Half of the profits made by these Schools would be distributed annually as dividend to its partners – while the remaining half would be reinvested. This appears to confirm the English government’s position – announced last week – that an SE is 50% private and 50% social. That’s certainly not the understanding of the Scottish SE community and it would be helpful if John Swinney would clarify the Scottish government’s position. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12024
Graham Bell (Kibble) and the Social Enterprise Academy are to host a day conference called ‘Leading Scotland’ – which looks interesting – it’s on 28th March. "It will focus on Scotland’s journey towards a society led by dynamic ethical enterprises". The event will use the Open Space format and it will be interesting to see our new generation of leaders on parade. This event is brave – deserves support. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12026
Most welcome this week was the announcement of £6m for a new Scottish Land Fund. The realisation is spreading that true community empowerment cannot happen without a degree of economic independence; Anchor organisations – acquiring land and property – generating energy – operating businesses etc. Does Scottish government ‘get’ this? Opinions vary. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12030
This week marks the final call for donations to Senscot’s 2012 annual appeal. Our aim is to attract around 100 members – we’re still half a dozen short!! A big thanks to all of you who have taken the time to donate – it’s very much appreciated. See, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers12.php
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: Lothian Centre for Integrated Living (LCiL), Community Enterprise, The Ecology Centre, MECOPP, The Furniture Project (Stranraer) Limited, DEAN and CAUVIN TRUST, Teenage Cancer Trust
EVENTS: Out Of The Blue Flea Market, 25 Feb; Body Talk: Killing Us Softly, 27 Feb; Creating Enterprise to enable Social Benefit, 29 Feb; Portobello Market day, 3 Mar; West End Women’s Heritage Walk, 11 Mar;
TENDERS: Independent Review of Advice Services in Aberdeenshire, Catering and cleaning services, Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline, Provision of Occupational Physician Services. For info, see http://www.readyforbusiness.org
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: Over the coming weeks, we’ll be reporting on ‘Vital Stats’ collated by SENs for the financial year 2010/11. This year’s format has changed, hopefully making it easier and less time-consuming. We aim to produce Vital Stats on 10 SENs – some SENs have already completed theirs. Vital Stats record key information that reflects social enterprises’ individual and collective contribution to their local economies, including employment numbers, trading percentages etc. See link to Vital Stats survey, http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8S7WNR5 . We’ll be contacting SENs directly over the next week.
For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=230
A recent Nesta project of interest was a UK wide search for ‘the new radicals’. Where are the 50 third sector organisations whose idea/work show the way forward? An interesting list emerged – including 5 Scottish organisations: Homeless World Cup; Working Rite; Includem; Community Land Scotland; and the Greenhouse. See further details, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12029
Last week, we featured the recent evaluation of Firstport’s Social Entrepreneur Awards Fund – distributing £1.5m, through 265 awards, to 232 aspiring social entrepreneurs. Here’s an update on their latest round of award winners. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12021
Thoughtful comments on the Voluntary Code of Practice have continued to trickle in – many have been incorporated into draft 5 (attached). The Code steering group will meet on March 2nd to sign off the final draft. It will never be ‘final’ of course. The code is not seen as fixed but as evolving. More ‘sermon on the mount’ than ‘ten commandments’. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12025
Jim Bennett of SKS Scotland CIC has put together a free guide for social enterprises on how to procure services. The guide covers model approaches from drawing up specifications to debriefing unsuccessful bidders. SKS Scotland is a Community Interest Company that offers business support and consultancy services primarily to social enterprises and the Third Sector. The guide is free to download. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12027
This week’s bulletin follows on from last week in profiling an organisation that supports a distinct and growing type of community enterprise in Edinburgh – community-owned cafes. The Edinburgh Community Cafes Network (ECCN) was set up early last year with the aim of bringing cafes across the city together to support each other. Most of the cafés are generating profits that are channelled towards a charitable group or other community services. ECCN currently has around 30 active members. See more,
The attached poem is a heartrending plea from Raymond Carver to his daughter – to give up alcohol. Anyone who has ever loved an alcoholic will recognise his anguish.
"You’ve been drunk for three days, you tell me, when you know goddamn well drinking is like poison to our family. Didn’t your mother and I set you example enough? Two people who loved each other knocking each other around, knocking back the love we felt, glass by empty glass, curses and blows and betrayals?
Daughter, you can’t drink. The last few times I saw you, you were out of it. A cast on your collarbone, or else a splint on your finger, dark glasses to hide your beautiful bruised eyes. A lip that a man should kiss instead of split. You’ve got to take hold now. Do you hear me? Wake up! You’ve got to knock it off and get straight. Clean up your act. I’m asking you. Okay, telling you. Sure, our family was made to squander, not collect. But turn this around now. You simply must – that’s all! Daughter, you can’t drink. It will kill you. Like it did your mother, and me. Like it did." See full poem, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12022
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210