Dear members and friends,
Most physical disabilities attract some sympathy – but being hard of hearing (which I am) just seems to annoy people. I smile – point to my ear – apologise etc – but folk get irritated – respond as though I’m stupid – or being awkward. Mostly now I pretend I’m listening – which is surprisingly easy.
An academic, called Mehrabian, has shown that words play only a minor part in conversation; he even offers percentages: 7% the actual words: 38% the way they’re said: 55% facial expressions. Whither these ratios are accurate, I don’t doubt his basic point – that we trust what we see, more than what is said. Harold Pinter, the playwright, went further – held that we mostly use speech as evasion – a smokescreen to hide behind. Honest communication, he believed, is too alarming. To enter into someone else’s life – or to allow them to see our inner poverty – is too frightening. He saw speech as a constant stratagem to cover nakedness – to keep ourselves to ourselves. This implies that in conversations about feeling and attitudes (emotional stuff) a deaf person is at little disadvantage – is able to watch what’s going on.
I attended a meeting recently in a room with bad acoustics. At the end, an old adversary told me that I’d mellowed – couldn’t believe I didn’t come back at him on some point. ‘‘Not sure about more mellow’’ I said ‘‘but certainly more deaf – I didn’t hear you’’. This annoyed him.
There are prominent (and strident) social entrepreneurs in England who want to take the social enterprise community closer to the private sector – to attract city money; an approach which appears to find favour with Whitehall. In Scotland, I detect a different vibe. As our communities increasingly take ownership of local facilities – wind turbines, shops, land etc – we will need to become more comfortable around equity, shareholding, dividends etc – but I detect little appetite to court private business. Our movement’s central message to citizens is that social enterprise is an alternative, a better way to organise society – including the economy. The main purpose of the new Social Enterprise Mark (SEM) is to make clear our differences and promote their benefits. Softening our boundaries with the private sector is the wrong way to go.
Peter Holbrook, who has taken over the leadership of the English Social Enterprise Coalition, was the driving spirit behind the Sunlight Trust – one of the UK’s leading community based Development Trusts. In his interviews with the Guardian this week, we glimpse the scope of his vision for our movement – threefold expansion by 2020. We wish him much good luck – in the hope that his plentiful skills at the grass roots are transferable to the politics of the national arena – dancing with the dinosaur of govt.
As TV news coverage contracts – and the Scotsman and Herald continue to shrink before our eyes – let us welcome the arrival, this week, of the Caledonian Mercury. Scotland needs a stable platform for the discussion of current affairs which is not filtered through London. Indications are that a Huffington Post-type online publication has the best chance. Good luck to Caledonian Mercury. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9089
The 18 places allocated to Senscot for the forthcoming Civil Society Summit have now been taken (see list). There may be cancellations or a further allocation – if you wish to be a reserve of if you can’t use your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9088
Thank you for the flurry of responses to our annual appeal for donations. Apart from the money, it’s most encouraging to hear from folk whom our meetings around the country don’t reach. Your goodwill is much appreciated. We’ll keep this running for a bit. http://www.senscot.net/members.php
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 Investment Scotland; Edinburgh Advocacy Representation Service (EARS), The Scottish Huntington’s Association, The Scottish Government, Theatre Nemo, The Soil Association Scotland, Camphill Blair Drummond, Quarriers, Penumbra, Scottish Network for Families Affected by Drugs
EVENTS: View from the centre, 23 Feb; HISEZ Annual Conference, 26 Feb; SROI, 9 Mar; Introduction to business planning and strategy & measuring social impact, 10 Mar; CRNS 5th Annual Conference, 17 Mar;
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: In recent years, Senscot has been working with a growing number of community sports organisations interested in adopting the social enterprise model with a view to boosting income, sustainability and the numbers of people coming through their doors. We have been supported in our efforts by sportscotland and The Robertson Trust. Both have now agreed to provide a support package over the next three years to promote this work in community sports organisations across Scotland. The package will include the appointment of a Social Enterprise and Sport Co-ordinator. For an application pack, contact email@example.com or download at http://www.senscot.net/view_job.php?viewid=9094 For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=126
The body of research from across the world shows that the ‘broken’ societies are the ones which allow the most inequality between rich and poor – the UK is one of the worst. The bi-annual report of Glasgow’s Director of Public Health, is called ‘‘An Unequal Struggle for Health’’ this extract indicates the being poor can be life threatening. But the poor already know that. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9091
Senscot banks with Triodos who announced their figures last week for 2009, showing increased lending across the UK. David Cousland, Triodos’ man in Scotland, tells us that they did even better up here with lending up by 54% and loans to social enterprises, in particular, up by 62%. Beneficiaries of Triodos’ strong position and ability to lend include Comrie Development Trust, Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH) and Westray Development Trust for their award-winning community wind turbine. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9084
Firstport has successfully secured further funds for distribution via Channel 4’s 4Ip Innovation Fund. The fund can offer up to £5k to individuals looking to develop digital media projects. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9090
Most people I speak to are confused about the most appropriate legal structure for their social enterprise. I believe there is a market gap for a small network of selected regional facilitators – trained together – using shared materials with exemplar case studies – to lead people methodically through this process. It’s not rocket science – doesn’t normally need expensive professionals – but it is a specialism. Senscot will explore such a service. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9087
This week’s bulletin profiles a well known Edinburgh Social Firm, the Engine Shed. This month, they celebrate 20 years in business, providing innovative employment and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities. Using the social enterprise model, they operate four businesses from their premises at St Leonard’s, on the south side of the city, that include a vegetarian café, organic bakery, organic tofu production and conference/catering facilities. The Engine Shed is the trading name for Garvald Community Enterprises Ltd. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=9086
One of my heroes in Carl Jung (1875-1961) – that great explorer of the human inscape: Jung said ‘‘as far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being’’. And kindle he did. I think that what I have taken most from his teaching is the extent to which we underestimate the influence of the unconscious in determining human behaviour. Jung said ‘‘If the unconscious can be recognised as a co-determining factor along with consciousness, and if we can live in such a way that conscious and unconscious demands are taken into account as far as possible, then the centre of gravity of the total personality shifts its position. It is then no longer in the ego, which is merely the centre of consciousness, but in the hypothetical point between conscious and unconscious. This new centre might be called the self’’.
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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