Dear members and friends,
I sometimes toy with the idea of writing my autobiography – a project for retirement – a holding to account – but I don’t think it will happen. My source material (early diaries) annoys me – some other bloke, recording stuff which he’d be better forgetting. My hero, Raymond Carver said, ‘‘It’s strange – you never start out in life with the intention of becoming a bankrupt or an alcoholic – or a liar, a cheat and a thief – but I’ve been all of these things!’’ Well, I have too – sifting through it all just makes me depressed and ashamed – better to let it go – concentrate on the present – preparing for new adventures.
Monday was dark and stormy – realise that I enjoy this cottage as much in winter as other seasons. Trees shaking violently – rain driving against the windows – wind howling in the lum making the fire roar. Awesome! Then Tuesday – cold clear skies – perfect calm – low bright sunlight. Trudge down through the woods – along the seashore – paddling in my wellies. Suddenly get one of those flights of optimism: ‘‘And all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.’’ Where do we find such moments – or maybe they find us? When I was drinking I could sometimes summon great optimism – but, hey, no complaints, I’m grateful for my sober life – less ups and downs – being me is mostly ok. The writer Isak Dinesen (Out of Africa) said that she wrote a little every day, without hope and without despair. That sounds sad.
Ever since he was Home Secretary it has been clear that David Blunkett really understands the importance of civil society. On behalf of the Labour party, he has chaired a major review of the Third Sector which is a ‘must read’ for serious professionals. ‘‘If one thing above all refutes the suggestion that Britain is broken, it is the strength of our Third Sector. It demonstrates, in essence, the very existence and resilience of civil society. Where that resilience or social glue has been washed away, families lack support, communities become fractured, and it is the job of the Government to support and help their renewal.’’ This understanding is far ahead of Scottish Government which claims to support the Third Sector in order to grow the economy. They don’t get it. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7702
The value of voluntary action in a free society depends on it being outwith the direction of the state. The Big Lottery distributes so much money to voluntary organisations in Scotland that it shapes our sector – so it’s very important how its policy is made – and by whom. The current consultation, Big Thinking, is a welcome and imaginative initiative – channels are open – for everyone – till 27 February 2009 – to influence future policy. Senscot will articulate ideas to stimulate debate. The attachment informs that the Glasgow and Edinburgh public meetings are ‘fully subscribed’. It would send the right message if more meetings were arranged. For more http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7699
Would it be a good idea to have a UK wide ‘Social Enterprise Mark’ (like the Fair Trade mark) to let customers know that an organisation trades for social or environmental benefit? Senscot believes that the use of a common identifier – nationally accredited – would benefit our emerging sector. Such a `mark` has been operating in South West England for exactly a year. The success of this pilot has convinced Senscot to partner RISE (the pioneers) to bring the Social Enterprise Mark to Scotland. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7697
The village shop, where I get my rolls and papers, has just lost its post office franchise – the shop’s future looks precarious. Here’s the inspiring story of a similar village in England where they got their act together. The emergence of a leader, a social entrepreneur, seems critical. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7698
Benjamin Barber – interviewed in New Start Magazine – talks more sense about democratic empowerment than I’ve read for a long time. I’ve an inbuilt resistance to flying in American gurus to tell us about basic community organising – but we need to ask why the community development profession in the UK turned its back on communities and went to work for the state. See http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7652
Last week, we announced that Senscot has received funding from the Lottery to support the Networks over the next three years. We also posted a job ad for Networks Co-ordinator. Closing date is Friday 5th Dec. http://www.senscot.net/view_job.php?viewid=7665).
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: incl. posts with: Paths for All Partnership, Senscot, CVS Inverclyde, Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, The GRAB Trust, Croy Miners Welfare Charitable Society
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Seminar Series, Aspire to Enterprise, 3 Dec; SURF Awards Dinner 2008, Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum, 4 Dec; New Ideas for Business Growth, Interface – The knowledge connection for business, 4 Dec; AGM & Launch of Business Acquisition, Social Firms Scotland, 9 Dec; Alternative Giving 2008, WKCIL / Craft Town Scotland, 23 Dec
NETWORKS 1st News: This Monday, social entrepreneur and Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunis gives a lecture at Glasgow Caledonian University. Over 80 Senscot members will be attending, thanks in part to Mel Young. One of Professor Yunis’ key messages is about a mixed economy where social enterprise plays a major role. We’ll report back on what he has to say next week. For more NETWORKS News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=60
The Glasgow-based social enterprise Scotcash has scooped the Guardian Newspaper’s Public Services Award for 2008. Scotcash was set up as a one-stop shop that offers customers a range of services that include arranging low-interest loans, setting up bank and/or savings accounts and also offering advice on budgeting and rescheduling debt. To date, it has received over 4,500 inquiries, with 1,500 people being granted new loans worth a total of £819,000. In addition, almost 500 people have opened new accounts. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=7696
The Scottish Government has launched its new Public Contracts Scotland Portal. This site is where all contracting opportunities can be found as well as the Govt`s latest procurement project for promoting and supporting Public Social Partnerships. If you’re interested in tendering for any of these opportunities either individually or as part of a consortia, keep an eye on the site as it will be updated on a daily basis. The Govt is keen that social enterprises get equal access to these opportunities. For more,
Last year, the bulletin profiled Ask Clyde – a social firm that provides research and consultancy services to clients in the public, private and third sectors. Last week, the organization re-branded itself as Red & Black Innovations as it formally became a Community Interest Company (CIC). Red & Black will continue to provide employment, training and volunteering opportunities for people recovering from mental ill health within the West Dunbartonshire area. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=7701
I like this quote in Maureen Lipman’s current book ‘Past-it Notes’. She attributes it to Martha Graham, the American choreographer.
‘‘There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you, keep the channel open.’’
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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