SENSCOT MEMBER’S BULLETIN No. 289, FRIDAY 29th JULY 2005
(Going out weekly to over 2700; searchable archive of bulletins at web-site, www.senscot.net)
Dear members and friends,
The invasion of Iraq was probably the worst decision by a British government in my lifetime. We marched through Glasgow saying “not in our name.” But of course the ensuing slaughter was in all our names and has brought forth a new generation of suicide bombers. Thought twice about travelling to London this week – not so much fear of bombs, but the disrupted travel. The way to defeat terrorism is not to be terrified – it seems important to carry on as normal.
My dislike of London lessens and on this trip I feel admiration for the sheer size and energy of the place. 20 different nationalities sitting stoically in a tube – hurtling along – sweltering heat – thundering noise. What a marvellous thing that 7 million diverse people live here harmoniously. And I’ve found a corner of Bloomsbury where I feel relaxed. There’s a good hotel with ‘half price Sunday’ deals – nearby a superb Italian restaurant (chef from Amalfi) – and an old independent bookseller open all hours. After supper on Sunday I pop in for a browse – he recognises me, says: “I’ve found a copy of Powys’ “Soliloquies of a Hermit”. Ya beauty! This book meant a great deal to me over many years – somehow lost my copy. Hurry back excited to my hotel room – will this reunion be a disappointment? But Powys old magic is still here – brave and wise and graceful. Funny how a battered old book can calm the soul. “The centre of life is always near” I read “the things of greatest value can be had for the asking.” I slept well.
Stock transfer was sold to Glasgow tenants because of the success of local housing associations. Not only a better housing service but genuine local control and the potential of further community services developing through Wider Action programmes like in Govanhil and Queens Cross. But 2 years have passed since GHA took over 80,000 houses from the council and not much has changed. As the Herald editorial said on Wednesday “Tenants need to be satisfied the hurdles to second stage transfer are not being raised higher by those with vested interest in the monolithic status quo.” Is Communities Scotland applying enough pressure to this process? http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=2869.
A new book was launched on Wednesday called “Communities in Control”: The New Third Sector Agenda for Public Sector Reform produced jointly by ACEVO and the Social Market Foundation. The publication asks the government to speed up the transfer of service delivery budgets from the public sector to the third sector. It specifies employment training, children’s services, correctional services and independent living aids as being areas where the voluntary sector is ready to improve the quality of services. Nick Aldridge, the book’s author said “It’s no longer a question of whether the third sector takes over significant tranches of public service delivery from the state – it’s a question of when and how well this is managed.” Strategic thinking in Scotland lags behind in this field because municipalist Labour politicians don’t distinguish between the third sector and the private sector. But I agree with Aldridge – we should assume that this is going to happen on a large scale – even in Scotland. http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=2870.
On 18th November, Senscot will host the Social Enterprise Ceilidh, the first get together of the new Social Enterprise Networks. The New Lanark Mill Hotel has been booked for the night and the gathering will see social enterprises coming together from around Scotland for conversation, stories, music and dancing. Members from the 8 Social Enterprise Networks will be invited to attend a series of workshops and trading activities in the afternoon with the evening being more of a celebration with a dinner and ceilidh. Invites will be going out to the Networks over the next couple of weeks. Royal Bank of Scotland is sponsoring the event.
For some time Senscot has been developing an online tool to facilitate trading between social enterprises – where they can ‘strut their stuff.’ This week we launch ‘Intra-Trading’ – it’s in the ‘Exchange’ section of our website at http://senscot.spl21.net/intra-trading.php. We welcome comments, suggestions and new entries. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to email@example.com and we’ll post them on our site. This week:
JOBS: 48 vacancies, incl. posts with: Scottish Community Land Network, Theatre École/GYCT, Ethnic Enable, Community Training and Development Unit (FV) Ltd, Blake Stevenson Ltd.
Social Firms Scotland is tendering for a contract to make an impact assessment on the work SFS has done to develop social firms and social enterprises: http://senscot.spl21.net/view_job.php?viewid=2863
EVENTS: Social Enterprise Academy information and ‘taster’, events, Aberdeen, Aug 10, Edinburgh 16 Aug; 1st Festival of Politics, Edinburgh, Aug 24-26; More Than Furniture Conference 2005, CRNS, Perth, 26 Aug; ‘Making Knowledge Work’, social capital conference, Stirling, 25-28 Oct.
SURF Awards 2005 to promote good practice in regeneration, sponsored by the Scottish Centre for Regeneration (SCR): info available at http://www.scotregen.co.uk/events/default.asp?ItemID=326.
Our attempt at a feedback page (13 comments) we judge to be not bad but not great. We’ll keep this topic for another week then introduce a new theme in the next bulletin: http://senscot.spl21.net/feedbackfile/index.php
One of the most ‘feel good’ things that our parliament has achieved is the community ‘Right to Buy’ Land Act. Instinctively I’m a very strong supporter – this legislation sends all the right messages about who should own Scotland – but I have to admit I don’t know enough about it. Helpful short interview with Andy Wightman in last weeks Regeneration (R&R) magazine where Andy explains the potential benefits – but also the restrictions of the Act. For instance – a community can only buy if the land is offered for sale – half of Scotland hasn’t been on the open market for 100 years: http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=2873.
Senscot got a letter officially notifying that a partnership has been formed to support three pilot Enterprise Facilitation processes led by Ernesto Sirolli in Scotland. Check out the letter – such remarkably high level patronage. Senscot will be helping any way we can. If this works we want to learn from it. http://senscot.spl21.net/view_art.php?viewid=2874.
This week’s bulletin profiles a successful social enterprise located in the village of Cairndow on the shores of Loch Fyne. ‘Here We Are’ has been operating for over 4 years and, in the last year, was able to generate over 40% of its own income through its range of activities. As well as providing an Information and Resource Facility for locals and visitors, they also provide an outreach centre for Argyll College and are looking to develop managed office accommodation. In the spirit of social enterprise inter-trading, they are working with Fyne Homes on a housing development in the village and with Argyll and Bute CAB to establish a much needed service in that area. They are also investigating a renewable energy initiative. For more info’, see http://senscot.spl21.net/recent_prof.php?W21ID=112.
“Chaffinches, for example, have to learn from other chaffinches in order to develop their song to the full; if they are reared alone they achieve only a rudimentary chaffinch vocabulary, whereas if they are reared with larks they do their best to produce a difference set of calls. Similarly with other species the ability to perform instinctive behaviour patterns is innate, but it is only fully developed through imitation and learning from others of their kind. Human beings surpass all other animals in their adaptability, in the large share which learning takes in their development. Childhood is the period in which we assimilate and build upon the inventions and discoveries of our forebears. As Margaret Mead has put it: ‘A child who does not participate in this great body of tradition whether because of defect, neglect, injury or disease never becomes fully human.” From ‘This Island Now’ by GM Carstairs.
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures.