SENSCOT MEMBER’S BULLETIN No. 184, FRIDAY 27th
Dear Members and friends,
On Tuesday I go to hear the Buddhist teacher known as Thay.
Over a thousand folk – mostly older middle class – concerned – pilgrim souls.
Uncomfortably like myself. “I’m not sure about this.” Find a seat out of the
way – near an exit. The moment Thay comes out I relax – captivated – can’t take
my eyes off him for two hours. He has a deep calm – an extraordinary absence of
ego which I haven’t encountered before. I believed myself immune to gurus but
this is a rare spiritual leader.
some of his teaching. “He believes that if we’re angry we must tell the other
person, “I’m suffering – I’m angry – I want you to know – I’m trying to
understand.” She seems impressed. Wednesday after work Anne’s already home –
not happy. “I’m suffering,” she says, “I’m angry. I want you to know.” “Get to
the point.” “The point is I do the dishes twice as often as you. I’m trying to
understand why.” So I wash the dishes – but this time the way Thay advises –
slowly – consciously – mindfully. To my delight it works – I feel harmonious.
Does this mean I’m a Buddhist?
supper I saunter into a marvellous summer evening – groups of youngsters
playing football. Their intense enjoyment takes me back to those endless summer
evening games of my own childhood – back to that half-remembered state of
‘wholeness’ when ‘now’ was only this football game and the game was everything
– and we thought it could be forever.
A new Fabian Society pamphlet written by public health
minister Hazel Blears sets out a visionary community theme which could form the
basis of Labour’s bid for a third term in office. Key parts of the public
sector will be transformed into mutual organisations owned and controlled by
local communities. Through these new mutual benefit societies (like the
proposed ‘CICs’) communities would have direct powers over the financing and running
of local hospitals, schools, colleges, parks, libraries, bus services etc. The
pamphlet challenges “the left’s cherished belief” that services are ‘public’ if
they are controlled by the state: “We need to make it clear that public
ownership should mean exactly that – ownership by the public. I mean real,
legal, tangible ownership by local communities.” ‘Communities in control:
Public Services and Local socialism’, £6.95 from 0207 227 4900 – a flavour of
it is on our site at: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/HazelBlears.asp
The Fabian report (above) quotes David Marquand from a 1997
essay: “A new community politics must be bottom-up, not top-down. It will shy
away from universal solutions and all-embracing formulas; it will be an
extraordinarily difficult and demanding politics, requiring levels of openness
and humility – almost unknown to the political class of today.”
When the sector in England benefits from a new major funding
stream (like the Phoenix Fund or now the proposed Futurebuilders fund) a
‘consequential’ amount is paid to the Scottish Executive – calculated on the
basis of the Barnett Formula. But – wait for it – this money can be spent in
Scotland on anything the executive chooses. Could an MSP (or Nigel Griffiths,
the new minister for social enterprise at the DTI) please ask the question:
“How much was the Scottish consequential allocation for the Phoenix Fund – and
what was it spent on?” With regard to the Futurebuilders Fund (info @ http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/Futurebuilders.29.05.03.asp),
this is under consultation in England and the Scottish Social Enterprise
Coalition is asking the Executive about the arrangements for Scotland.
Alan Hobbett’s email (last week’s ‘Yellow Pages’) about
installing wind turbines on Gigha is one of several such projects we’re hearing
about. Renewable energy projects like wind-farms quite understandably get more
acceptance when they are community-owned. In Glasgow’s Castlemilk, CEDA wants
to set up the UK’s first urban wind-farm as a community-managed trust, and
they’re looking for a consultant to carry out a feasibility study. Contact
Margo Smith, 0141 630 2236. Community Groups (and householders) can apply for
help with feasibility and capital grants from the Scottish Community Renewables
Initiative, tel. 0800 138 8858 or www.est.org.uk/scri
YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t
carry every notice you send. But please send in any relevant items and we’ll
post it on our site (Send in your items to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jobs: 30 vacancies, including posts at The Rock Trust,
Reforesting Scotland, Volunteering Fife, Women onto Work and SCVO.
Reports: The June 2003 Research Bulletins from ‘Unltd’ is
available, as is ‘Inside out: Rethinking inclusive communities’ by think tank
Demos for the Barrow Cadbury Trust.
Events: Lloyds TSB
Foundation is running ‘surgeries’ throughout Scotland to discuss projects they
might support. Poverty Alliance launches its Agenda for Action on Poverty’ in
Edinburgh, 4th July.
For details on these and more: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Yellow/YellowFrontPage.asp
Key staff will be appointed shortly for a new agency to
regulate Scottish Charities OSCR. It will be located in Dundee and will create
approximately 30 jobs: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/OSCR.asp
We announced recently we’ve switched to Triodos Bank on the
grounds that if we believe in the social enterprise movement – use it. Eoghan
Howard, one of the authors of the Wester Hailes Community Banking Agreement,
sends an interesting comment on the concept of collective sectoral banking:
This may appear utopian – unlikely – but Eoghan has the kind of intrepid optimism
which wins the big arguments – as he has proven in the past with Wester Hailes
achievements. His thoughts are at: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Articles/CollectSectBank.asp.
Senscot is also now with the phone co-op which is not only a mutual but is
cheaper. Emma, who arranged it all, has prepared a note at: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Hot/Business/Main.asp.
This week’s bulletin profile is “Rolls on Wheels”, one of
the longest established social firms in the Edinburgh area. Set up in 1991 as
one of Forth Sector’s original businesses, Rolls on Wheels provides an outside
catering and roll delivery service around Edinburgh and the Lothians. In recent
years it has seen its sales increase seven fold, and now employs 7 full-time
staff plus as 23 trainees. Four red Citroen delivery vehicles, liveried with
the Rolls on Wheels logo, serve customers in offices and industrial estates
around Edinburgh almost every day of the year. Rolls on Wheels latest venture
is a hot food express that serves a much wider menu including microwave-ready
meals. However, the hot bacon and sausage butty is still the market leader!
Further info: http://www.senscot.net/LD/Profiles/MenuTEST.asp
Among other jobs, Mel Young is President of the International
Network of Street Papers (INSP). He tells us they have organised an
international five-a-side soccer tournament which is turning into a remarkable
story. In Graz, Austria, from 7-13 July, 20 teams of homeless people from
around the world will gather, compete and have fun. From each of the countries
sending teams great stories are filtering back. In Spain it seems that Ronaldo
and Figo turned up at a practice session to encourage the lads. In USA
Hollywood wants to film the story. In Poland homeless people have transformed a
derelict warehouse into an indoor training centre. Scotland’s team is training
three times a week and is backed by the SFA. Who’ll win? Brazil are favourites
but Mel says Scotland will bring the cup home! Up to date info: www.streetsoccer.org”
Yesterday (Thursday evening) attended the Big Issue in
Scotland’s ten-year birthday bash. Good crowd – great atmosphere. We were
informed that (not counting tips) vendors income over the period in Scotland
has amounted to £13million. Marvellous tribute. In a special message printed in
this week’s issue, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, writes: “By buying this
newspaper you have shown your support for empowering the homeless themselves.
Let us all continue to do our utmost to ensure every human being’s right to
housing, dignity – and much else besides.” Last words this week to the Buddhist
monk Thich Nhat Hanh (known as Thay):
“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is
gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the
present we cannot be in touch with life.”
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.
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