SENSCOT MEMBER’S BULLETIN No. 201, FRIDAY 24th
Dear members and friends,
Demarco’s cafe in Edinburgh’s Bread Street was opened by my
grandfather in 1920. I joined the
business from school in 1955. It was a
‘clean well lighted place’ with a busy bustle and good smells of coffee and
cooking. It had eight wooden booths
with black polished marble tables – but the star attraction was the new fish
and chip range. It stood facing the
counter – gleaming stainless steel and green vitrolite – like a great Wurlitzer
organ. Open all day – every day. ‘Demarco’s’ was the natural focus of social
life in the neighbourhood. Locals would
meet and eat and chat – leave messages – things to be collected – including
sometimes their children.
I remember some of the characters
– like Mrs. Muir who lived in the next stair – kept to herself. The night in 1940 when Italy entered the
war they came to arrest Nonno Lorenzo and an ugly mob was doing the rounds. It seems Mrs. Muir stood up to them; "You should be ashamed of yourself –
this is an honourable man". She
faced them down, our windows weren’t smashed.
And I remember Blackie – who worked on the roads – lived alone and came
in every night for a fish tea. Always
with his old dog who sat under the seat eating a white pudding. When the dog died, Blackie still put the
white pudding under the seat. Mary,
the waitress, would retrieve it later.
I was for telling him to stop but Mary said "There’s no harm in it
– he’s lonely." I was only 15 at
the time – didn’t understand much.
Barry Knight in a recent Centris publication (http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/charityServDeliv.asp)
argues that the Voluntary Sector’s shift into delivering public services is a
mistake – that it will erode the sectors historical benefit to society which he
sees as mobilising citizens to challenge injustices. Annie Gunner, writing in Third Force News, disagrees with
Barry. Why, she asks, can’t we do
both? Deliver services – and also
campaign for change – the first activity informing the second. The problem is that when we wear different
hats – tensions can arise. Our own SCVO
is a high profile example of this.
Wearing one hat – representing our sector – SCVO sits at the table with
government, deciding what services are required. Wearing another hat the agency frequently wins contracts to
deliver these services, potentially in preference to its own members. This conflict of interests compromises
SCVO’s core representative role. Is it
possible to deliver contracts and be free to criticise the commissioner? In theory it is but let’s not pretend that
there won’t be compromises.
Forth Sector have been asked by the Scottish Executive to
build on the work of the DTI Social Enterprise Unit – to produce a ‘Scottish
Procurement Toolkit’. The toolkit is
being designed for Social Economy organisations who want to develop their
trading activity through procuring public sector contracts. Forth Sector are keen to ‘case study’
examples of social enterprises which have already won public sector contracts
in competition with private sector companies.
If anyone knows of good examples could you e-mail Stephanie.Wilson@forthsector.org.uk. A template is available. Or discuss suggestions with Kevin Robbie –
0131 539 7374.
The Strategic Funding Review of the voluntary sector is
currently previewing its initial findings at road shows in Edinburgh, Glasgow
and Inverness. The purpose of the review is to improve the performance of the
voluntary sector by improving the way it is funded. The English ACEVO –
Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisation is a passionate
champion of this theme. Stephen Bubb, their CEO writes, “The real challenge is
to transform the sector’s business relationship with government. Too many not
for profit organisations depend on bureaucratic grant processes and short term
contracts. If they are to have a real impact on service delivery – they need
some long term funding.” Stephen has written a powerful preface to ACEVO’s
recent publication – ‘Replacing the State’: (http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/replacingState.asp)
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re
right” – Henry Ford
YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every
notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to
email@example.com and we’ll post them on
our site. This week:
JOBS: 21 vacancies, including posts at the Wise Group,
Community One Stop Shop, Oxgangs Community Care Group, EVOC, Inclusion Glasgow,
Royston Youth Action, Youth Scotland, SCVO.
PUBLICATIONS: Two new reports for social enterprise
‘anoraks’: following consultations this year on Community Interest Companies
CICs, the report is out: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/CICsrep.asp;
Communities Scotland Corporate Plan for 2003-06 is at http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/CSCorp.asp.
EVENTS: Sustainable Communities workshop, SCI, Kinghorn, Oct
31; ‘Social Firms Successes’, Glasgow, Nov 7; Community Enterprise
Lochaber conf, Strontian, Nov 15; Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
conf, Edinburgh, Nov 19; ‘Radio Morning’ on community radio and cultural
development, Glasgow, Dec 9; ‘Finance for Growth’ events for Forth Valley soc
ent, Oct 28 & Nov 25.
‘Toward a Confident Scotland’ conf, Glasgow, 24th Nov, looks
to have wide appeal. “Explore new ideas on confidence and culture and relate
them to practice in education, health, enterprise, young people, social
inclusion, sport, etc”. Speakers incl. Carol Craig, Janice Galloway, Kirsty
Wark, Iain Macwhirter.
For details on these and more: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Yellow/YellowFrontPage.asp
Our consultants list now has 117 names, and attracted 307
hits last week – these are all potential customers – are you listed? (http://www.senscot.net/LD/consultants/ConsultantFirstPage.asp).
We have also started to assemble the list of Intermediary Organisations (http://www.senscot.net/LD/consultants/InterOrgsFirstPage.asp
Following a period of consultation, Scotland is to get a new
Co-operative Development agency – along the lines of the successful Welsh one.
Responsibility for this has been switched to Jim Wallace’s Enterprise
Department (ETLLD), which many of us believe is the natural place for Social
Enterprise in general. Scottish
Enterprise Business Gateway website mentions the social economy (http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/businessgatew.asp).
Communities Scotland’s website also mentions it but their commitment is still a
bit vague (http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/commScotSE.asp).
This week’s bulletin profiles Westray Development
Trust. It was formed in April 1998 as
the Westray Development Group (now Trust) to build on the positive ideas which
emerged from a public meeting held by the Westray Community Council in March
1998. The Development Plan for the
Trust, outlines nine strategic themes encompassing all aspects of life on
Westray – transport, the environment, meeting care needs, agriculture and
fisheries, industry, youth and children, education and training, arts and
crafts and tourism. For further info’,
(Project Profiles at www.senscot.net).
The founder of yoga is considered to be the Indian
philosopher Pantanjali who lived 300 years BC.
In the yoga sutras he wrote, “Yoga is the settling of the mind in
silence, and only when the mind is silent can we realise our true nature, the
effortless Being of the Self”. This
selfsame ‘quest of the quiet mind’ is pursued anew by each generation – always
will be. Another Indian philosopher
Jiddu Krishnamurtu wrote in 1950, “Just watch and be aware of all your
thoughts, feelings, reactions – without judging, comparing, approving,
condemning or evaluating them in any way.
In this state of ‘choiceless awareness’ the mind penetrates and
understands the entire structure of the self and the world that thought has put
together – and the very act of seeing and understanding the structure conveys
freedom from it”. I must try this
That’s it for this week. Good luck with your adventures.
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