Dear members and friends,
Saturday morning at supermarket – foyer commandeered by impressive team of volunteers from North West Edinburgh Food bank. Handed list of 8 items – mostly tinned stuff; would I consider adding any of these to my purchases – to help make up emergency food packages for growing number of families in food poverty. I hand in a fiver’s worth – good system – no way I would have given £5 in cash; the collection counter is busy and buoyant.
My dad would recount a story about his first day in Scotland. Arriving (aged 10) to the ‘back shop’ of his father’s café in Edinburgh’s Bread St – an inviting pan loaf had been sliced and buttered. When he asks if he is allowed a second slice, he is told, “Antonio, in Scozia, we can eat as much as we want”; my dad said he never forgot the import of that statement; and for whatever reason – it was important to him that I knew – that as a child in Italy he had known hunger.
If this incident actually occurred – it was in 1921 – my nonno Demarco assuring his family that they had arrived in a land which had conquered hunger – where there was enough food for everyone. The ensuing 92 years have seen extraordinary scientific and economic progress – yet one in five families in the UK live below the poverty line. Charles Darwin said; “If the misery of the poor be caused, not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions – great is our sin”.
Exactly a week today (Friday, 4th Oct), Senscot will host a seminar on the subject of the Scottish Community Banking Trust. It is not an event intended for a mass audience – rather we hope to attract people with specialist knowledge and, of course, an interest in this initiative – to help develop our ideas. If you’d like to come along, email email@example.com . See agenda.
Political commentator, Gerry Hassan had an interesting piece in Scottish Review recently; alongside Scotland’s two main power groups, Labour and SNP, he suggests that a new force is emerging – which he calls radical democracy. He refers to dozens of groups and individuals who are describing a very different future Scotland – one which challenges the traditional power elites. Because these voices are disconnected from each other – they will not be feared; but, perhaps, when the independence issue is settled – these radical democrats will coalesce into a new political party; one which is not intimidated by market forces – but, like social enterprise – uses them to accomplish its overarching social vision.
Cliff Mills – a specialist on start-ups in the mutual sector – has written two articles which are worth reading. In the first, he traces where SE comes from – its origins in the philanthropy of the wealthy and the mutuality of the ‘working class’. See, senscot.net/?viewid=16065 . In the second, he speculates why SE and mutuals are all the rage – but warns that the ‘externalising’ of public services is not as simple as some people would like. See, senscot.net/?viewid=16069.
I have long argued that the corporate sector version of franchising is not appropriate for our SE community; if Senscot develops a successful business idea – which could benefit other communities – we should encourage replication – free – in the same spirit as the open source IT culture. Not everyone would agree with this – but I know Geof Cox does, because I’ve discussed it with him. Here, Geof challenges SE UK on this issue. See, senscot.net/?viewid=16074.
Although he has much wider responsibilities – the effective Minister for the Third Sector in Scotland is John Swinney – an arrangement which has served us well. This week, he wrote to the Westminster Cabinet Office – expressing concern about the potential of the Transparency of Lobbying Bill to interfere with the day-to-day activities of charities in Scotland. Here is his letter, senscot.net/?viewid=16080.
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php This week:
JOBS: Street team leader – The Big Issue, Advocacy Co-ordinator – Rape Crisis Glasgow, Operational Manager – WHALE Arts
EVENTS: Portobello Market: PEDAL, 5th Oct; Wikipedia Editathon: Glasgow Women’s Library, 16th Nov; An Introduction to Tendering: Just Enterprise, 22nd Oct
TENDERS: The Provision of a Support Service for Young Homeless People – Stirling Council, Redevelopment of Website + Consultancy – Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority and Coordination of Hearty Lives Inverclyde – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. See, http://readyforbusiness.org/?p=756.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: This week, Senscot and Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) hosted the 2nd meeting of SEN / TSI Co-ordinators in Glasgow. Over 30 folk attended – representing 20 TSIs and 7 SENs – from as far apart as Dumfries and Galloway up to Orkney. The theme of the session was ‘procurement’ – with Ready for Business (RfB) colleagues delivering a presentation on the procurement reform agenda and the progress being made in the ‘Developing Markets for third sector providers’ programme, see RfB presentation, www.senscot.net/docs/rfbSENTSI.pdf. The event was another example of the increasingly positive interaction between SENs and local Interface staff – Senscot presenting on current support available to SEN members. See, www.senscot.net/docs/Senscot_presentation.pdf
For more SENs News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull1.php?articleid=315.
Changin’ Scotland weekends – at Jean Urquhart’s Ceilidh Place in Ullapool – have been attracting progressive thinking Scots for many years. The events are now more of a collaboration with Gerry Hassan – and unusually the Nov 1st-3rd weekend will be held at Newbattle Abbey College, Dalkeith. It will be participatory – facilitated by two boffins from New York Yooni.
SE Venues has revamped its website – giving it a new look as well as a range of new venues being listed. See, www.se-venues.co.uk. The site is managed by Community Enterprise which has now appointed a dedicated SE Venues Co-ordinator – Deborah Rees. Deborah is on the look-out for as many SE venues as possible so that Scotland’s best Social Enterprise Venues are listed in one place – providing a simple and straightforward way for companies or individuals to find a place that meets their needs.
One of my primary passions is that Scotland should gain a new elected tier of democracy close to our communities; but our governance has been blighted for generations by a Labour Party, wedded to ‘state socialism’. In her new book, Blossom, Lesley Riddoch shows herself to be one of our foremost champions of community-led solutions. Paul Hutcheon reviewed the book in the weekend Herald.
The big queues for the latest Apple phone – has set George Monbiot off about the company’s lack of transparency about where it sources its raw materials – particularly tin. You’ve got to admire this man’s tenacity. See, senscot.net/?viewid=16073.
This week’s bulletin profiles an organisation , based in Perthshire, that has the goal of helping older people live for as long as possible in their own homes. The Home Straight – established in 2012 by two sisters, Olivia Robertson and Clare Cooper – assists older people to move to new homes or to adapt their current home in response to their changing needs. Their specific services include: helping assess options using their ‘Home for Life’ Toolkit; reputation checks on nursing/care homes etc; and organising all aspects of downsizing and moving to a new home. For more, see www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=16081.
Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five):
“ America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves….It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of individuals who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters.”
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