When I was young, the word ‘vocation’ meant a ‘calling’, usually to the religious life (from the Latin, vocare – to call); now ‘vocational training’ simply means preparation for any kind of job. Disregarding the religious side, our culture has lost touch with the importance of each of us finding an occupation which inspires us. This could be something we are able to do better than others – loving that thing more than anything else – for the sense of ‘purpose’ it brings to our life.
‘Callings’ are not just for middle-class community workers – a friend of mine finds his passion in model railways. I saw two people on TV this week, from an animal sanctuary; they were releasing two brown squirrels back into the wild – all four of them were in their glory. Over 50 years, I’ve watched many children grow into adults; I’m always attentive to the awakening of a vocation – its growth to maturity; a human being’s vocation can become the highest expression of their love of life.
The biggest ‘spoiler’ of our freedom to choose, is money; earning it can be hard in itself, but the freedom to ‘follow our own bliss’, intrudes on career, security, pension etc. Faced with the same choices – it would be the ‘same again’ for me. Machado: “There is no path, other than we make by walking”. Reflecting on my life, I often make it sound more ‘intentional’ than it really was – but I believe this core message is sound: “Young people should be encouraged to discover and to follow their own bliss”.
The reason I voted for the Greens yesterday is their compassion for people – and the precious life of our planet. In the present political turmoil, you may have missed the final report from Prof. Philip Alston – the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty; he confirms his view that, for ideological reasons, the Tories have deliberately removed the UK’s post-war social safety net – leading to the economic impoverishment of a fifth of UK citizens (14 million people). More fundamental than even Brexit, is the issue of what inequality does to a society – the harsh and uncaring society we’re becoming.
The timetable for Scotland’s Local Governance Review, anticipated that new legislation would be drafted by now – for enactment within this parliament; a joint statement from Scottish Govt and COSLA makes clear that this is now totally unrealistic – and that a slower, more deliberate approach has been adopted. People I speak to, close to the process, assure me that the commitment of both Govt and COSLA is genuine – that we’ll soon see different ‘pilot’ models of local democracy around the country. I find it hard not to equate slow progress with low priority – with faltering effort – but I hope I’m wrong.
I’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones – but Doris Day made a huge impression on my life. I don’t mean the real-life Doris Kapplehoff – who seemed to make as many mistakes as most of us; I mean the pretend, completely invented, delightful, fully of joy, film star with the wonderful voice. RIP.
The lack of bickering within the SNP is quite remarkable – a credit to them all – but there is clearly a move just now against their MP, Joanna Cherry. In his column, Kevin McKenna (not one for tittle tattle) wonders if she presents a threat to Mr Blackford’s Westminster leadership.
I used to read the Spectator, an insight into poshness and privilege – good writers; but it descended into ill-informed ranting; hatred and bile; like Gerry Hassan, I’ve stopped it. He goes into more detail, but this decline reveals something dark and foreboding at the heart of British Conservatism.
From ‘the Teachings of Don Juan’ by Carlos Castaneda:
“Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone, one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere…In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere. My benefactor’s question has meaning now. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.”
We’re delighted to hear that the Community Learning Exchanges (CLEs) will be funded again through until March 2020. Almost 140 CLEs took place – involving around 600 organisations that are part of the wider Scottish Community Alliance network. These small awards that pay for travel and subsistence and a host fee, have proved hugely popular and effective – low on cost, high on impact – enabling scores of locally-based social enterprises and community organisations to learn from each other through the exchange of ideas and the sharing of common solutions – peer support in practice. See further details. Over the last twelve months, Senscot itself hosted 6 CLEs – including visits to Morton in the Community; Creetown; Cothrom; The Ecology Centre; Healthy’n’Happy; and Kinning Park Complex – with over 70 SEN members participating in these visits. If you’re interested in arranging or hosting a CLE visit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website.
Recently, P4P led a Community Learning Exchange down to Greater Manchester to look at the work of local authorities in the area of local procurement policy which promotes common wealth building (CWB). On the back of the visit, P4P launches a new feature on its website – a blog by P4P’s Neil Young – which focuses on the CWB approach to local economic development, the current procurement landscape in Scotland and what a greater focus on CWB could mean for social enterprises in Scotland. Also, this recent article gives more background on the CWB model and the growing interest in it across the UK.
Senscot is currently working with NHS Health Scotland to explore the role community cafés play within social enterprise – examining issues around sustainability and considering the different business models being used. The first session is scheduled to place in Aberdeen – see details and to register. Further sessions on this same topic are also being organised in partnership with the Scottish Borders SE Chamber and Glasgow SEN. For more info, contact email@example.com.
The 4th SE Ref Sub-Group takes place on Thursday 6th June at the Scottish Youth Theatre in Glasgow. Our Agenda will reflect on discussions at this week’s Govt SE Ref Group – as well as beginning to explore the priorities for the next Action Plan – what has worked; what gaps exist; and how can we ensure that support and resources are channelled more effectively towards frontline organisations, If you are from a social enterprise or a membership-led organisation and would like to attend, see Booking details.
If you’re in or around Perth next Saturday – 1st June – why not pop along to the PKSEN Social Enterprise Marketplace. It is being combined with the Volunteer Street Market – making one big event with over 30 stalls. The Marketplace will be based at the Perth Concert Hall Foyer and Plaza in the town centre.
This week’s bulletin profiles an Aberdeen-based social enterprise that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Foyer Graphics, set up in 1999, is a trading subsidiary of Aberdeen Foyer – surpluses used to support Aberdeen Foyer’s work to prevent and alleviate homelessness and unemployment in the North East of Scotland – enabling people to work towards independent living, learning and work. Foyer Graphics works with a wide range of clients on all types of design work. Clients include the likes of Visit Aberdeenshire (Tourism), Grampian Housing Association, Cornerstone (Charity), Apache (Oil & Gas sector) and Step Change in Safety (Health & Safety). In addition, they also offer work placements for school pupils, college students and people who receive support from the Foyer.