Senscot Bulletin: 26.03.10

Dear members and friends,


We studied for the priesthood together in the 1950s – became friends – then for years after, did drunken reunions; but I haven’t seen Colin for 30 years.  Passing through Edinburgh, he tracks me down and we lunch. Gosh we’re old – would probably walk past each other in the street.  ‘‘Do you still go to church?’’ ‘‘No’’ – ‘‘neither do I’’.  Spend the rest of the meal discussing what if feels like being a ‘lapsed Catholic’ – sort of ‘in recovery’.  Colin’s intensity stays with me – no longer believing in God – but missing him.
 Find myself in Edinburgh’s Poetry Library last week – a talk by Richard Holloway called ‘‘Poetry and its part in my downfall’’.  I expect to enjoy his insights (a remarkable communicator) – but also find myself moved – by the courage of his personal journey ‘‘moving in and out of belief in God’’.  I can’t recall when I encountered, in the same person, such a longing for God alongside unflinching interrogation.  The sense of a prophetic voice among us – in a country which prefers prophets from abroad.
 Reflecting on these pilgrim souls, it doesn’t seem to me that I suffer the same sense of loss of God.  But about painful things, I often hide from myself the true extent of my feelings – so friends may see it.  Richard ended his talk with a quote I found useful – from the Spanish philosopher Unanumo: ‘‘We may be finite creatures’’, he said ‘‘but live as though we’re eternal’’.  I like that – just do it anyway.
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As you will be aware, Scottish Govt’s Third Sector investment package has three strands: Social Entrepreneurs Fund (average awards: Level 1 £3500; Level 2 £17k): Enterprise Fund (average £55k): Scottish Investment Fund (average £500k ??).  The Enterprise Fund is now spent and the attachment lists the 186 beneficiaries.  Each of these funds will now be evaluated, but Senscot reports general satisfaction with this approach and the beneficial impact it has had on the social enterprise community – 3 well pointed mechanisms.  Over the coming months, the Govt’s third sector division will be working with the sector at a strategic level to determine what improvements can be made.  They will also be exploring how other depts. of Govt can be aligned with the Enterprising Third Sector agenda. 
http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9325
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I trained as a Community Development worker, and throughout my working life, that’s what I called myself – but I don’t anymore.  My job was to help local people take power but gradually my chosen profession went over to work for the state – lost its sting; community empowerment has become a construct of academics and public officials.  Now I think of myself as a community organiser – much more comfortable with the culture evoked in this inspiring article by Neil Jameson.  ‘Citizens UK’ doesn’t accept public funding – it’ll take the state longer to neutralise this lot. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9353
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Senscot has now drafted a simple statement (2 pager) on what we understand to be the criteria by which our community in Scotland wishes to define social enterprise.  There are 5 criteria – and you will see that the paper includes the proposal that this process should not be the province of any particular agency – but owned by a self regulating co-operative of front line social enterprises.  We will now invite our reference group (or anyone interested) to comment on this paper – and then we’ll ask Scottish Govt. for investment support. We were assisted in the drafting by John Pearce, who discussed the defining characteristics of social enterprise in his 2003 book `Social Enterprise in Anytown`. Thanks, John http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9351
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The multiple advantages of communities owning their own green energy generation are obvious to those of us who work for community empowerment.  Awareness of this movement however has not reached the mainstream media – which is why hearing about Westray’s giant turbine on Tuesday’s BBC News was so encouraging.  It is estimated that in due course the community trust will earn £200k per annum from its investment because Westray don’t have a token piece of the action – they own their turbine outright.
http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9328
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When a large number of people want to operate a local business like a pub, shop or sports club, the mechanism of choice is becoming a community shares issue.  The Community Shares Programme which is leading this process in England will publish a report this week ‘‘Community Shares: one year on’’ which is optimistic. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9327 On the same theme the Plunkett Foundation has announced the launch of the £3m ‘Community – Owned Pubs Support Programme’ which hopes to assist up to 50 communities to take over and run their local.  I sense that Scotland lags behind in this community shares agenda http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9326
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NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but submit jobs and events and we’ll post them on our site. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php. This week: 
JOBS: Social Firms Scotland, Church of Scotland, Midlothian Voluntary Action, Hamilton & Clydesdale and East Kilbride Women\’s Aids, Community Woodlands Association , Children in Scotland, LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Ballater (RD) Ltd, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland
EVENTS: Firebrand Women – The Rent Strikes, 30 Mar; Researching Your Local History (Taster), 31 Mar; Fit for Purpose, 23 Apr; Basics of Being an Employer, 29 Apr; Maximising Participation, 13 May;
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NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: Over the coming months, we intend to carry out some work demonstrating how SENs are contributing to Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs) at both a national and local level. This week, Clacks SEN completed a SOA (national) Survey as part of their involvement in discussions re the local Single Interface.  As with their `Vital Stats` survey, it has produced impressive results with members collectively contributing towards 13 out of the 15 national indicators in health, education, employability, inequalities and the environment.  If you’d like to find out more, contact kim@senscot.net For more Networks News, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=134
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The largest emerging market for social enterprise must surely be the community provision of health services – which is the theme of this year’s ‘Fit for Purpose’ Conference. The event takes place on Friday 23rd April at the Perth Concert Hall. Our keynote speakers include Mary Allison (Director of Programme Design and Delivery at NHS Health Scotland) and Dr Lynne Friedli (one of the UK`s leading mental health specialists and advocate of social prescribing). To book your place,
http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=9319
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Great opportunity to support a social enterprise in Dumfries and Galloway as they convert an old building into an Arts Centre. They are looking for someone to act as an intermediary between themselves and the contractors. They would need to be able to understand and work with the group to build their capacity to manage the completed building and all that goes on with it. They’re paying £30k for six months work . Tenders need to be submitted by 7th April. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9352
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Congratulations to Firstport awardee, Victoria Lee, on winning the Bright Business Idea challenge at the SSEC in Glasgow last week. The award includes a £30,000 support package. Victoria received start-up support from Firstport to develop her own beachwear range specifically for people who have stomas and ostomies. She will be launching her range – the Glitter beach – at a fashion show in Glasgow on 11th April. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9329
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Great article in the Observer on Sunday about the work and ideas of Faisal Rahman, founder of Fair Finance.  I get really angry about how pathetic the UK Govt has been around the provision of banking services for poor people.  http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9331
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This week’s bulletin profiles Castlemilk Childcare. This enterprise provides the distinct services from different locations in the area. Their team of qualified and experienced staff offer Early Years Day Care, Out of School Care as well as a Mobile Childcare Facility providing a transferable service for training, education, conferences, etc. In light of their success, they are currently looking to expand their services beyond the local Castlemilk community. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=9330
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I enjoy solitude and I can enjoy company – but, for me, they are very different experiences. Ralph Waldo Emerson sums this up succinctly: ‘‘It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude after one’s own; but the challenge is, in the midst of the crowd, to keep with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.’’  Too often with people I feel overwhelmed – lose touch with myself.


That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures


Best wishes,
Laurence


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