Dear members and friends,
I really enjoyed reading this year’s Booker winner – ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes. I like it being only 150 pages; Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Gatsby’ is 150 pages; Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ is only 100. Barnes storyline involves a fairly mundane retired chap in his 60s – looking back at his life; the themes are ageing, memory and regret – my kind of stuff. There is an examination of remorse – painful but an essential human emotion. And the tricks of memory – how the remembered chain of events that makes up our sense of self – owes as much to imagination. On the theme of ageing, Barnes says this: "you get towards the end of life – no, not life itself, but of something else; the end of any likelihood of change in that life." I’m giving this some thought – how one meets people my age who have given up – the spark has gone. I don’t feel that’s me – yet.
The other theme in my life this week is preparing for winter; on Sunday the clocks go back – and ‘darkness shall once again cover the face of the earth’. Scottish Govt (Kenny MacAskill) was on the radio urging us to get ready (he suggested a shovel in the boot of the car!). My unconscious keeps sending prompts – nothing very subtle – reminders of the basics – health, food, shelter, warmth; similar I imagine to the instincts of a squirrel. It’s like the message my laptop sometimes sends: "preparing to hibernate".
Social enterprises in Scotland increasingly consider themselves part of a growing ‘community of practice’. We hope that this bulletin and the activity of the SENs (22 independent networks) foster this awareness. Senscot recently hosted a seminar to look at how our emerging community can protect our brand from bogus private sector intruders. Jim Mullen (Kibble Works) came up with the idea of a ‘voluntary code of practice’ – which I increasingly believe is the way forward for us in Scotland. The path of regulation and policing invites too many anomalies. We’ve drafted a short initial Code – intended to elicit reaction – keep the debate moving. After the Ceilidh, we’ll host another discussion. See, http://www.senscot.net/seminarfollowup.php
The issue of private businesses parading as social enterprise was raised in the House of Commons last week.
Nick Hurd, the minister, conceded that the case for a legal definition of social enterprise is getting stronger. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11654
Older Senscot hands will be aware that, alongside social enterprise, our ‘other’ main theme is the empowerment of Scotland’s communities; their emancipation from controlling local authorities. It is not widely enough celebrated that Scotland boasts two community based movements which are envied across Europe. The first of these, Community Energy Scotland, held its annual conference in Inverness on Tuesday – which we hear was a great success. The range of communities and organisations they have supported is impressive. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11657
The second – the community owned housing associations – have been with us longer – and will be meeting on 11 November to challenge what they perceive as the ‘interference’ of the new housing regulator. His proposals to end the voluntary status of board members – and to limit their term of office – shows a fundamental ignorance about the history of this movement and its core ethos. Why do they want to change something which works? Extract from Jim Harvey’s briefing to community-based Housing Associations, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11650
A social enterprise operating in England has caught my eye – as far as I know – no-one in Scotland has copied it yet. If you’ve got an old banger you want rid of – Giveacar will collect it – for scrap or sell it at auction – and give the money to charity. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11648. Also this link shows the BBC’s selection of the best 12 social enterprises in the world – Giveacar is one.
Islington Council in London has pledged to make sure that its highest paid employee will earn no more than 10 times that of its lowest paid workers. The new CEO will get £160k – £50k less than her predecessor; the authority has also committed to paying directly employed staff at least the London living wage – which is £8.30 an hour. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11647
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: Scottish Hockey, Terminal One, Tobermory Harbour Assn, Youth Football Scotland, Raploch URC Ltd, Carnwadric Church, Glasgow Disability Alliance, Equality Network, Equal Futures, The Scottish Parliament
EVENTS: Creating Enterprise to Enable Social Benefit, 2 Nov; Introductory and Practitioner Training, 10 Nov; RE:THINK, 15 Nov; Engaging Communities on Climate Change (London), 1 Dec, Winter Light, 3 Dec;
TENDERS: Money and Welfare Advisory Services, Provision of Community Mediation Services, Easthall Park Housing Co-operative: Environmental Services Maintenance Contract 2012-2014 and The Helix: Public Realm Project.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: The Audience Prize at this year’s Dragons’ Den is being promoted by crowd-sourcing organisation SoLoCo (see, www.soloco.co.uk). We’re aiming for £1,000 and would urge you to make a small contribution if you’re able to. Last year we managed to raise over £700 on the day but are looking to surpass this figure. Rocket Science will also be kindly donating their usual 2 days consultancy. The Dragons’ Prize is, as always £5,000 and we have to thank Eric Munro (RBS), Marie Marin (Employers For Childcare) and Ken Milroy (Aberdeen Foyer) for their contributions. Ceilidh is, as you know, sold out but if you’d like to go on to the waiting list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=214
This week Senscot lost another valued member of staff as Varda Mehrotra (our IT guru) heads back to India. Varda joined us 6 years ago, fresh out of university, and has been responsible for developing and maintaining all our IT systems. Her main passion, however, has been animal rights and, with her husband Geoff, is returning to work in a tiger sanctuary in Jaipur. We’re sure it’ll be a great success.
The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC) and SE UK are combining forces for their annual jamborees (S2S and Voice) in 2012 by hosting `The Social Enterprise Exchange` in Glasgow. They reckon this will be the world’s biggest social enterprise event with over 1000 delegates and 150 business exhibitors. We hope as many grassroots social enterprises as possible will be able to attend on the day. The event itself is being organised by CEiS Events. The date for your diary is 27th March 2012. See press release,
https://senscot.net/?viewid=11649 Also, with the Social Enterprise Coalition in England recently changing its name to SE UK, our Scottish Coalition is looking to follow suit. They are proposing to take the name, Social Enterprise Scotland. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11656
Last year, we told you about plans by Albyn Housing Assoc and the Calman Trust to open a social enterprise hotel in Inverness. Last December, as a precursor, they opened Artysans’ Café in the city, offering opportunities to 14 young people to train alongside professionals from the hospitality business. Last week, they picked up the ‘Innovation Prize’ at the Highland and Islands Food and Drinks. The plans for the hotel are still on schedule for 2014. See more, https://senscot.net/?viewid=11652
This week’s bulletin profiles the Millennium Centre Community Trust in Stranraer. The Trust purchased a local supermarket from the Co-op in 1998 and hosts a wide variety of community events and private functions as well as being home to a number of community groups and sports clubs. Plans are currently underway for a £2m redevelopment which will create state-of-the-art facilities that will allow an even greater range of activities to take place there. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=11651
I bought another of the Booker shortlist – ‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman; not read it yet. Here he remembers his mother.
"When I think about my mother – I think of an unremarkable council house where I learned to read from the books she gave me. More than any writer, it was my mother who taught me the value of words: how the most prosaic, such as ‘family’ and ‘duty’ and ‘work’, take the most living up to… My mum is the product of a class who accepted their lot, whose toils were largely thankless and whose dreams defaulted to the modest – a yearly caravan holiday and decent coats for the kids. I’m also a product of that class, but one generation further along and with the benefit of her example – an example given quietly in unfussy acts of generosity – I am able to enjoy the kind of life that she could only aspire to on my behalf."
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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