Dear members and friends,
The extended family of my childhood was dominated by several formidable women – the generation which moved from Italy after the first war; I remember them as always kind to me personally – but tough as old boots. It may be an age thing but I’ve developed an interest in what shaped these women – our tribal leaders. Great book by Alberto Moravia has taken me closer to understanding their story – its not as romantic as I wanted to believe.
Moravia criticised the Fascists, and in 1943 had to flee for his life – high into the hills south of Rome near where my family lived. Later he used this period with the peasants (contadini), as background to a powerful anti-war novel. (La Ciociara 1958). His book is not unsympathetic to the peasants – allowance is made for the dislocation of war – but he describes a people lacking compassion – who in the struggle for survival are become suspicious, cunning, grasping. It is no longer surprising to me that our tribe ‘adapted’ so readily to commerce – theirs was a hard school – the survival of the fittest.
The Scotland they came to, was very different – a powerhouse of heavy industries – with a working class whose survival depended on organising together, solidarity; a culture of looking after everyone. Both these behaviours have played a part in my life. The opportunistic entrepreneur – collective community action. The role of the social entrepreneur reconciles these two different cultures.
Social Investment Scotland (SIS) predicts that by March 2011, its portfolio of live investments in Scottish social enterprise will total £35m – of which some £25m will be in the form of repayable loans. Additionally, SIS announces that it has secured a further £2m loan funding from the Cooperative Bank. This all seems very impressive. News from England is that their new Big Society Bank is ‘complicated but on track’ for an April 2011 start. It, of course, won’t function in Scotland as we have our own allocation of the dormant bank accounts money. If due diligence confirms that SIS is as effective as it appears – then it seems a no brainer to make it the basis of Scotland’s own Social Investment Bank. SIS seems to be able to get money out of the door – and that’s half the battle. The other half is getting it to the right places. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10355
Some voices in the social enterprise community advocate partnering with private sector companies – usually to get access to growth investment. Often hybrid companies are formed. This piece advocates such a direction, https://senscot.net/?viewid=10360. My hero, Muhammad Yunus, does joint ventures with international corporations but my sense is that he gets them to cross over – to do it on a non-profit basis. My own view is that hybrid social/private ventures are too complicated; can be charter for chancers. This piece in the New York Times seems to support that view. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10347
I didn’t manage along to the launch of Andy Wightman’s new book yesterday but I’m mighty impressed by ‘The Poor had No Lawyers’. Stephen Maxwell is also impressed and his review places the book in a policy context better than I can. Apart from being an exhaustive researcher, Andy is a passionate activist for land reform. The final chapter of his book is a manifesto for change. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10348
Ed Miliband has taken his time appointing a shadow minister for civil society and his choice has no profile in the Third Sector. Roberta Blackman-Woods has spent most of her life in academia – with a PhD in Community Development. She says, (in the linked interview), that Britain could learn from the US where they have gone down the social enterprise route delivering a whole range of services. But what’s considered a social enterprise in the US may not be here. I wonder if she knows that. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10349
It would be a major step forward if funding could be diverted to preventing social problems – rather than picking up the pieces when the damages is done. Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are an attempt at a mechanism to do this and should get every chance to prove themselves. It seems The Wise Group is exploring SIBs as a potential funding source for its successful Roots out of Prison programme. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10345
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 National Trust for Scotland, Cairn Housing Association, Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, Bute Connections, Kirknewton Community Development Trust, Children’s Parliament, The Big Issue
EVENTS: Connecting Social Innovation 2010, 7 Nov; Whose Economy? seminar series, 11 Nov; Good Deals 2010: The UK Social Investment Conference, 16 Nov; EVOLVE workshops, 23 Nov
TENDERS: Landscape Maintenance & Repairs Contract, Deer Population and impact assessments, Close Cleaning Contract, Police Cycle Clothing & Equipment, UK-Glasgow: refuse recycling services
NETWORKS 1st: Only 20 places left for this year’s Social Enterprise Ceilidh. We now have the complete line up for the “Audience With…..” which includes 3 previous winners in the Den; Angie Foreman of DWIC, Bosco Santimano from You Can Cook and Gregor Cameron of Here We Are. We’ve also got the Programme for you to download and read over http://www.senscot.nethttp://www.senscot.net/networks1st/downloads/ceilidh2010flyer.pdf More information will be made available on each of these over the coming weeks. A final reminder for prospective Dragons’ Den entrants – closing date is next Friday – 29th Oct. For an application form etc, contact firstname.lastname@example.org To book your place at the Ceilidh, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/ceilidh10booking.php
For more Networks News, see http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=163
The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition is to be commended for the media coverage achieved by the launch of the manifesto last week. Priority has been given to procurement – social investment – and land and asset acquisition. The manifesto calls for cross party support to build our sector.
The village shop where I get my rolls and papers is hanging by a slack nail – which has sharpened my interest in community share issues. 250 residents of Dunbar in East Lothian have brought shares in a new co-operative which is going to re-open the High St bakery. This initiative deserves our careful attention – as a possible way of saving our High Streets – from the carnage caused by supermarkets.
After its setting up phase, Senscot Legal is now ready to recruit its second member of staff – a paralegal. Over the first couple of months, Alan Dunipace (our Lead Solicitor) has been getting himself known around the scene, making many useful contacts. With amended legislation passing through Parliament earlier this month, Senscot Legal will be formally constituted over the next week or so and is ready to become fully operational. To assist Alan in his work, we’re now on the look-out for a paralegal who will be based in our office in Bath St., Glasgow. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_job.php?viewid=10350
This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise that provides a range of food and health services in Edinburgh. Cyrenians Good Food has been operating since 2000 and focuses in three areas of activity – Food redistribution; Food education; and Traineeships. Their Food redistribution involves collecting good quality surplus food from wholesalers and retailers and redistributing it to our member agencies who work with homeless and socially excluded groups. This saves 9 tonnes of food each week that would otherwise go to landfill. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=10353
From ‘The Poor had No Lawyers’ by Andy Wightman.
“Land is about power. It is about how power is derived, defined, distributed and exercised. It always has been and it still is thanks to a legal system that has historically been constructed and adapted to protect the interests of private property. The few counter balances to this, such as the defence of public rights to foreshore or to burgh commons, have been significant but limited in scope. Ultimately, the dispensation of land we have today is the product of centuries of vested interests organising things to their own advantage. We are thus living with both a legacy and a culture that have become so ingrained as to be almost invisible and have been subject to only the most cursory and short-term critique.
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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