Dear members and friends,
It wasn’t very warm – but the Easter weekend brought bright sunshine to our wee clachan; I was out on four consecutive days – an orgy of gardening. Winter hibernation – long periods in overheated houses – saps our physical fitness; so that changing the duvet cover becomes a challenge. My first two gardening sessions are unpromising – weak as a kitten; but patience and determination keep me going – till I begin to feel stronger. The beds are weeded – the sweet peas are geraniums are in – feel I’ve got myself ahead of the game; but the lawn’s in a terrible state.
The ancient church near my cottage has a loyal congregation – mostly older country folk – the women especially are keen gardeners – offer kindly advice. After Sunday service, Cathy suggests that my Acer – in the big clay pot – is ailing – urgently needs to go into the ground; so I dig it in beside the terracotta Buddha – where it already looks happier. I’m reminded again this week how gardening suits me; my overstimulated brain starts off from the urgency of the task in hand – but I soon become conscious of the weather, the soil, my tools, my own body. The tempo slows – the task recedes – just ‘doing it’ becomes the focus; this feels good.
The great Carl Jung lived to 85, in a house he built in rural Kusnacht, near Zurich. He spoke of the routine tasks of his daily life – food, house, garden: “They help keep us simple,” he said “and it’s so difficult to be simple”.
We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See, http://www.senscot.net/musings.php
The Senscot bulletin has been around since 1999 and whilst it is widely associated with the march of social enterprise in Scotland – our focus has always been wider. Civil Society, the Third Sector, the Social Economy etc. are all terms which try to convey the independent realm of the citizen – acting for the common good – outwith either the control of the state – or the coercion of markets. I’m increasingly comfortable with the return of the concept of ‘the commons’- which embraces a range of philosophies – concerned to protect the wealth and assets we hold in common – from predatory markets. While I personally find its language impenetrable – the Community Development Journal has done a special issue on ‘the commons’.
One of the most important books of recent years is Michael Sandel’s ‘What Money Can’t Buy: the moral limits of markets’. Prof Sandel will deliver a lecture of the same title at St Andrews Yooni this Monday, 28th April at 5pm. The event is open to all – but it will be popular.
Community Land Scotland (CLS), the representative body of community land owners, has published an important report this week. It details the benefits, economic and otherwise, of communities owning the land on which they live and work; the stats help build a compelling case. Senscot campaigns for a much bolder distribution of land ownership – so that the massive estates of the landed gentry (feudal) have no place in the future of our country. See, https://senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=17242.
In the year of the Referendum on Independence – it is understandable that Scottish Govt doesn’t want to distract attention/energy from the main event: but the building momentum to do something about the appalling state of local democracy – has an air of inevitability about it. The Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy – has produced an interim report which is surprisingly radical for a body set up by COSLA – changed days; worth a look. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17252.
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: Transition Extreme Sports, FirstPort, Community Enterprise, Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre
EVENTS: Community Is The Answer, 9 June; Badges of Honour Exhibition Launch, 1 May
TENDERS: General Wastes from Household Waste Recycling Centres / Aids for Daily Living, North Lanarkshire Council; City of Edinburgh Council External Works Framework; Mental Health Support Service for Adults, Aberdeen City Council; See, http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=1153.
The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Senscot Legal has entered its fourth year of trading and today, with the support of the Enterprise Ready Fund, is interviewing for a second paralegal to support the existing staff quota. Senscot Legal was set up as a social enterprise itself – to deliver affordable and accessible service exclusively to social enterprises and third sector organisations. Over its first three years, it has provided these services to over 400 organisations – in areas such as legal structures, set up and governance, employment law and charity issues as well as delivering an increasing volume of workshops and seminars. Demand for its services has been increasing year-on-year and the recruitment of another paralegal will go a long way to meeting this demand. If you think Senscot Legal could be of assistance to your own organisation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showupdate.php?articleid=344.
I’m proud to have been around during the formative years of the Children’s Hearing Systems; it remains a treasured part of Scotland’s response to children in distress. It’s quite clear from the survey which the Herald managed to get hold of – that the morale of staff and volunteers is very low; the recent centralisation of this service has been bungled – can we please have a Govt statement about what’s going on here!
John Naughton of the Observer has reviewed a new book by Astra Taylor called ‘The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age’. Should we believe the hype about information technology – its liberating, empowering, enlightening, democratising power; or should we regard it as a medium increasingly dominated and controlled by the organisations that have effectively captured the technology? Is social media corporate or ‘the commons’? See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17246.
Measures against pay day lenders, like Wonga, are gathering momentum – which is good; but think tank IPPR proposes a more radical solution. It proposes a levy of a £450m windfall tax against the consumer credit industry – on a ‘worst polluter pays most tax’ basis. The money to be used to capitalise a new generation of ‘not for profit’ affordable lenders; credit unions, churches, housing associations – way down at community level. What a great idea. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17243
Over the last month or two, we have been reporting on a series of new initiatives from Firstport – including Ditto; LaunchMe; and Beyond the Finish Line. Earlier this month, Firstport also produced a report – Start Something Good – that sheds light on the journey and impact of start-up social enterprises in Scotland since the inception of Scottish Govt`s Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund in 2009. Headline figures include – £3m invested in 524 individuals; 60% still in existence after 5 years; with each, on average, creating around 3 jobs. For more, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=17241.
This week’s bulletin profiles a Scottish-based social enterprise that works across the globe. The International Network of Street Papers (INSP) works from an office in the centre of Glasgow but supports and helps develop over 120 street paper projects across 40 countries in 24 different languages. Today their combined readership is over 6 million per edition. Street papers are independent newspapers and magazines that operate on a social enterprise and self-help model to provide innovative solutions to urban homelessness and unemployment. INSP is one of 5 Scottish SEs, supported by Scottish Govt, operating on an international basis. For more see, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17250.
Earlier this year, we mentioned that Swedish writer, Henning Mankell has been diagnosed with cancer – and that he undertook to post periodic updates on how he is coping – physically and mentally; this is an extract from his third post:
“I have no idea how many of those 50,000 people in Sweden every year afflicted with cancer are lonely and defenceless. But nobody should be in that position. It is a challenge not only for the health services, but for the whole of our culture. The loneliness that has been allowed to spread over the last 50 year and become almost the norm is casting us even deeper into a society that is basically inhuman. One in which solidarity and brotherly love has become the exception. When all is said and done, the way we see others is always the way we see ourselves. No-one should be alone with his or her cancer, their hopes and their fears.”
See full post, https://senscot.net/?viewid=17240.
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