Dear members and friends,
For over 30 years – Wednesday afternoon golf was a fixed point in my life – top priority; 12 of us – a core of 8, with a churning fringe. Smattering of lawyers/accountants – but most of the gang were self employed; a few ‘wealthy’ – but most of us scraping by – ducking and diving. The vibe was robust – streetwise; I enjoyed the contrast with my day job, as a community worker. The golf itself – usually for money – was a kind of ritual warfare – compelling; but looking back the après-golf was a bit manic; all those bottles of wine – all the slavers. Not my scene now – but glad I’ve been there.
Found myself in Edinburgh on Wednesday – passing what was, for many years, one of our favourite golf clubs. On impulse I drive in – but it’s a mistake – I don’t know a soul – even the public rooms have changed; about to leave when I spot Joyce – big smile – big hug. She was our favourite barmaid – glamorous – generous – genuine; she’s senior steward now – joins me for lunch. We have a great blether about old times – she was fond of our gang – but we also talk about our lives now. As I leave, I feel a strong connection – decide to own up to something. "I secretly fancied you for years Joyce." She smiles – "I fancied you too." This takes me by surprise – we look at each other for a few seconds – with our own thoughts. I say "It’s amazing what people are able to tell each other when ‘the chase’ is behind us." She laughs, "speak for yourself".
The UK govt. has given Big Society Capital £600m – to develop and launch mechanisms to finance the social sector from the City’s capital markets; SIBs are an early (clumsy) example, Ronald Cohen explains https://senscot.net/?viewid=12416. Scotland is less comfortable with the profit motive driving the delivery of public service – so we need to find an alternative source of social investment which excludes the private sector. At the Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) AGM this week, Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney said that Scottish Govt was interested in exploring innovative ways of bringing investment monies into the sector and hoped to convene a meeting on this subject over the summer. Senscot has had a longstanding interest in the establishment of a Scottish institution – owned by our sector which can maximise our collective impact.
It is unfortunate that Rowan Williams will retire from public life in December – he speaks the truth to power. His latest ‘gem’ is to refer to David Cameron’s Big Society concept as "aspirational waffle – to conceal a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable". See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12425
Cameron stepped up his campaign this week to open a policy gap between Tories and Labour – by suggesting that young people, under 25, should be ineligible for housing benefit. A respectful debate about our welfare state and the safety net it provides would be welcome. Easterhouse activist Bob Holman – once a supporter of Ian Duncan-Smith – says he has changed his mind. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12430
I can remember when Alex Wood was leader of the Labour Group in Edinburgh – always an independent thinker. I enjoyed his recent piece in Scottish Review – well argued – why Labour should support the ‘Yes’ campaign. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12431
I’m an immense fan of Sistema Scotland – the Raploch version of the Venezuelan original which has spread all over the world. Richard Holloway went to Caracas in 2005 to observe how the slow steady process of building a youth orchestra – can transform the confidence of underprivileged communities. Read this inspiring Guardian piece, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12428
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: The Scottish Inter Faith Council (SIFC), Edinburgh University Students Association, Scottish Artists Union, Perth Service, Ailsa Horizons Ltd, Blue Trianle Housing Association, Lothian and Borders Police
EVENTS: Portraits from the Banana Plantations of Cameroon, 4 Jul; Portobello Market, 7 Jul; Bruncheon! featuring The Sound of Muesli, 14 Jul; Researching Women’s History In Clydebank, 25 Jul;
TENDERS: This week’s tenders include Delivery of Community Based Health Improvement Activity in Glasgow, The SNH grants process, Review of Scotland’s Supported Businesses and Carpet and Vinyl Flooring. For more details, see http://www.readyforbusiness.org.
NETWORKS 1st: Kim writes: The Social Enterprise Academy and Senscot are delighted to announce that applications are now open for ‘Ignite 2012 Scale up your Social Enterprise’. The programme will run from 19th – 22nd October. Join a group of 18 other social entrepreneurs in a four day residential to that will help you clarify goals, explore options, and plan the next steps to grow your organisation. You will leave with new understandings about your enterprise, yourself, and importantly, a plan to ‘ignite’ your business. Application deadline is 13th Sept. The programme is 75% funded by Scottish Govt, ensuring costs for SEN members are affordable. See www.se-networks.net/shownotice.php?articleid=708 For more Networks News, see http://se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=248
I must have a dozen books about ‘Mindfulness’ – ways to quiet the mind – bring our attention into the present – to ‘the power of now’. Good piece by Ronnie Smith, who says that personal communication gadgets – like the blackberry – are destroying our ability to be where we are – who we are with. The sad thing, he says, is that so many of us want to be somewhere else. https://senscot.net/?viewid=12432
This year a number of well known social enterprises have gone ‘to the wall’. As SE in Scotland looks to create an environment where it can develop and grow, similarly we need to create an environment where you can call for help. Here is an encouraging letter from CFINE, thanking those who helped them during a difficult last twelve months. The good news is that their future is looking much better. See, http://senscot.org/docs/Summary2012.doc
Cormac McCarthy’s novel ‘The Road’ made a lifelong impression on me – a desolate nightmare about our wasted planet – no longer able to sustain life. In this sombre piece, George Monbiot reflects on the failure of the recent talks in Rio de Janeiro – says he’s given up belief that global agreements will substantially after our relationship with the natural world. He asks: "so what do we do now to defend life on earth?" https://senscot.net/?viewid=12429
One of the foremost events in the SE calendar in Scotland is CEiS’ September Conference. The event, now in its 5th year, takes place on 5th Sept at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. This year’s focus will be on ‘maintaining, developing and growing SE in Scotland’. Early Bird bookings are available until Wed 25th July. See, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12423
Social Enterprise Scotland (SES) held its AGM in Edinburgh on Wednesday, appointing two new Directors – one being, Senscot chair, Sophy Green and the other being Karen McGregor of Firstport.
Couple of bits of news on two well kent faces from our SE community. Congratulations go to Neil McLean (SE Academy) who has picked up one of this year’s Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur (Scotland) Awards. See list of winners, https://senscot.net/?viewid=12435. Also, Naomi Johnston (formerly of Firstport) embarks on a year long bike trip, covering all five continents. Naomi will be raising money for the Homeless World Cup Foundation. To support Naomi, see https://senscot.net/?viewid=12436
This week’s bulletin profiles a social firm set up by Apex Scotland. All Cleaned Up is a specialist industrial cleaning and clearance company that can take care of your unwanted household and commercial rubbish. As well as offering a high quality service to its customers, it aims to create real jobs for the people that Apex Scotland supports who are often deemed disadvantaged in the employment market. Altho’ based in Edinburgh, All Cleaned Up covers most of east/central Scotland. See more
A quote from Reiner Maria Rilke which always quietens my mind.
"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart– and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
That’s all for this week.
Good luck with your adventures
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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210