SENSCOT MEMBER’S BULLETIN No. 234, FRIDAY 25th JUNE 2004
Dear members and friends,
Wednesday was dark and wet like winter. Driech funeral in Bathgate Kirk for my pal Andy – heart attack aged 58. He was a West Lothian boy ‘made good’ – successful builders business – kids through Fettes. We only ever met up in Spain – where he and Bella built a house. If we were over at the same time we’d go for a meal – drink and talk ’til all hours – we enjoyed each other’s patter. He played guitar – fancied himself as Willie Nelson.
Last met with Andy in Marbella two years ago. Our favourite piano bar – after midnight – drinks expensive but good measures – good live music. Simone, a black French woman is resident – sings classic blues – occasionally celebs drop in – do a spot. That night Simone says, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen I want you to give a big welcome to Mr Barry White.’ We assume its an impersonator – but unmistakable voice – it’s the Maestro himself. I’m sitting five yards from him – nearly wet myself. He does three numbers – the last one is, ‘Let the music play – I want to dance the night away’. Barry died within the year – kidney failure – aged 58. He must have known that night – very emotional – he really enjoyed performing. Afterwards I realised I’d shed a tear – Andy had too.
In Wednesday’s rain I remembered that evening – our encounter with a living legend. I also remembered a proverb, ‘When the game is over the pawn and the King go into the same box.’ Adios amigo.
We learn that the Social Economy Action Plan has been subsumed into the new Scottish Futurebuilders Fund – and that fund managers will be appointed from open competition. In England the equivalent competition was announced in September 2003 – the winners appointed in January 2004. Their fund is to ‘go live’ in July with ‘early’ awards this September. This process took them one year which is reasonable. The problem for us is that Futurebuilders is a ‘one off’ investment fund to end in March 2006 – when the next government spending review takes place. If the Scottish fund doesn’t go live for another year (July 2005) that would only leave eight months to spend £16 million pounds – which is impossible. Given the lack of time it would make more sense to ask Communities Scotland to administer the fund – working to a Board from our sector. This would enable awards to start in October and would place our Regeneration Agency at the leading edge of the social economy – where we need it to be.
Last week 454 separate people visited our new website. The average visitor opened seven pages. Today we launch our new ‘help yourself’ facility. This section contains Senscot’s initial selection of tools and templates to help improve your business. Most of these are self service – but with some you may need advice. Feedback on the usefulness of this stuff would be helpful – as would information on better aids. Our initial work has made us realise that with some of these subjects we have only dipped our toe in the water – that a great deal of research will be required over several months to install and refine our content.
Senscot responds to requests from clusters of social enterprises around the country who may be considering creating a local network / hub to support each other. Colin is in touch with groups in Ayr, Aberdeen, Midlothian, The Borders and Fife. Here is an update from Colin. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=569)
I don’t know James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, but I feel he is a friend because of his passionate advocacy of local leadership in the regeneration of communities. In this weeks’ New Start Magazine the Bishop, lists ten positive assertions which can ‘strengthen your case’ if you are presently engaged in this debate. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=550) Here is also a separate link to his piece calling on government to set up a ‘national academy for excellence in community leadership’. He has obviously given this careful thought and I hope our new Scottish Social Enterprise Academy will consider his ideas. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=568)
YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them on our site. This week:
JOBS: 39 vacancies, incl: Fresh Start, The Rock Trust, Cranmore Housing Group, Pilton Youth and Childrens Project, SCVO, Volunteer Centre Stirling, Skills for Justice, CVS West Dunbartonshire.
EVENTS: 1st Uk Earthship Launch Celebration, Kinghorn, Fife, 21st August 2004; Seminar: Sustainable Food Procurement In The Public Sector – The Future For Local Food, Stirling, 14 Sept;
CAN YOU HELP: MMG independent Microcredit Group consisting of eight members, businesswomen is seeking two new members – Glasgow area businesswomen. email@example.com
MARKETPLACE: New social economy online procurement prospectus just launched. Starting in Highlands and Islands area, to be rolled out to lowland Scotland in due course: www.buyethic.com
For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at: www.senscot.net
Big conference going on in Belfast today about the future of CDFIs (Community Development Finance Institutions). As you’ll be aware – CDFIs try to irrigate and fertilise those patches of the economy where mainstream financial providers won’t go. They often bridge these marginal markets by being intermediaries of wholesale banking funds. The big issue at the moment is how long should they get government support – when should they be expected to be sound businesses as well as regeneration vehicles. Two good articles by Malcolm Hayday and Nick Loney. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=549; http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=551)
Scotland’s 22 Local Economic Forums were created in 2001 to streamline economic development. A report from Audit Scotland – the spending watchdog – is now recommending that they be disbanded. The report calls on the Scottish Executive to review whether LEFs should continue – saying that ‘their impact is not yet apparent.’ (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=552)
This week we profile the Community Exchange Network (CXN) based in Forres. This is an Exchange Trading Network for Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) and social and environmental organisations. It aims to provide a simple forum for LETS groups, community exchanges and Timebanks to trade and share without having to use bank money. It operates a bit like a swap club where members let each other know what their offers and wants are. CXN keeps the accounts up to date and publishes them in the seasonal issues of Scotia News. Almost 1600 people from across Scotland are participating and in time there will be a full online trading service. Further info’: www.senscot.net (project profiles)
Thoughtful piece on the nature of leadership by Deepak Chopra in the current Resurgence Magazine, ‘Leaders and followers co-create each other. They form an invisible spiritual bond. Leaders exist to embody the values that followers hunger for – while followers exist to fuel the leaders vision from inside themselves.’ (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=572)
The writer Anton Chekov said that his favourite and most optimistic piece was his short story called The Student – so I read it – it worked for me. At the beginning the student is depressed – misery and oppression are the essence of life – always will be – but at the end of the story: ‘And suddenly there was a frenzy of joy in his soul, and he had to stop for a minute to catch his breath – the past he realised was linked to the present by an unbroken chain of events, which flowed from one into another. And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of this chain: he had touched one and the other had moved…. He realised that truth and beauty had continued to guide human life without a break until the present day and were the most important things in all earthly life.’
The story could be read as a description of what art does. It’s only three pages so we’ve made a link…in the unbroken chain….. (http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=543)
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.
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