Dear members and friends,
The writer, John Burnside, whom I admire, got stranded in Rome by the ash clouds – penned his thoughts. He feels belittled by the experience – but not by the exploding volcano. ‘‘What I think of as nature, even at it’s wildest and most destructive, is a system with which I feel an accord.’’ No – what makes him feel small and powerless is the behaviour of the cynical, fat cat corporations which, he says, just abandon people and get away with it: the airlines with their unmanned helplines – the insurance companies with their bogus policies. Understandably his piece is a bit of a rant: ‘‘It’s pretty clear that these institutions and corporations are committed to an agenda that holds me in contempt’’.
The attitude of the British public to the forthcoming election is not unlike Burnside’s position. We sense that power in our society operates for the benefit of those who are richer and less moral than the rest of us; that both Labour and the Tories are so compromised by the established order that there’s no point voting. But on Thursday 15th April something remarkable happened. Joe Public may be scunnered with the moral failure of our politics – but we love our TV talent contests – bestowing stardom on the humble. Nick Clegg fits the bill – and suddenly from nowhere – the cat is among the pigeons and feathers are flying. Suddenly change is possible and this election has become interesting. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9462
We are well served by our First Minister Alex Salmond, who may well be the smartest of the political leaders – and I don’t only mean in Scotland; his efforts to win us more fiscal autonomy have my wholehearted support. But his current pretence that we can somehow escape our share of public spending cuts is not helpful. I have no problem with scrapping Trident, the Lords and everything else he suggests – but that won’t prevent cuts of a scale that none of us have yet experienced. The third sector sits as a buffer between the state and the most needy in our communities. At this time we need our leaders to be telling the truth – helping us prepare for the storm. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9452
The financial inclusion proposals published by Labour in their last budget, were so important that it`s surprising how little attention they attracted. They include a People’s Bank, through the Post Office network; a levy on banks to fund credit union expansion and a requirement on banks to disclose their lending patterns. Faisel Rahman, who (like many of us) has been campaigning for these measures for years, says that if implemented properly, they have the power to eliminate financial exclusion at a stroke.
Last week, Society Guardian carried a feature about 23 year old Scots lass, Sarah Drummond, who has set up a social enterprise called MyPolice. Her invention is an online communication platform which reaches out to people who have had a good or bad experience with the police – and feeds their comments back to police managers. Midlands and Strathclyde forces have agreed to pilot her idea. Sarah got a Firstport award last year – it’s great to see a new generation of social entrepreneurs coming through
When lawyers pay themselves in excess of £500,000 annually (as is the case with some Scottish companies) – they effectively put their services beyond the reach of ordinary people – go to work for big business. Senscot is in the process of recruiting a lead solicitor to set up and run a new social enterprise legal practice, to offer quality legal services at affordable prices. https://senscot.net/?viewid=9412
From stats on our website, we’ve noticed that HIE/Senscot Report, “Contracts, SLAs, Grants – Understanding the Differences” is attracting a lot of interest. We’ll keep this link in the bulletin over the next couple of weeks. See http://www.senscot.net/view_res.php?viewid=9407
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: Inspire (North Berwick Christian Youth Trust), Greyfriars Community Project, Ardalanish Isle of Mull Weavers, Upkeep (Shettleston Community Enterprises), Community Enterprise Ltd, Senscot
EVENTS: Business Acquisition, 10 May, Maximising Participation: How to hold large scale interventions, 13 May; The Fruitful Gathering, 22 May; Creating a difference- introduction to cultural social enterprise, 26 May; Exploring Sustainable Living, 28 May; Greyfriars Recycling of Wood – Display of Works, 11 June
NETWORKS NEWS: Colin writes: This week’s update comes from Malmo in Sweden. Senscot was invited over to share our experiences of the development and growth of SENs in Scotland. Our colleagues in Sweden are initiating their own Network and are keen to know how more about the SEN model – why they are important and what the obstacles and benefits have been. The notion of local social enterprises offering peer-to-peer support and joint working opportunities is attracting increasing interest from overseas. This visit follows on from Aidan`s trip to New Zealand as well as recent inquiries from Australia and Austria. We’ll keep you posted on what develops. For more Networks News, see https://senscot.net/networks1st/showart.php?articleid=137
Flyer and booking form for Scotland’s first creative social enterprise conference are now ready. The event – now titled, ‘Social Enterprise and Creativity: Introduction to Creative Social Enterprise’ – takes place at The Lighthouse, Glasgow on Wed 26th May. The event aims to raise awareness of social enterprise amongst creative organisations.The event is FREE. See details http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=9409
Community Enterprise (the consultancy social enterprise) has launched a new marketing service to complement its existing business development support. The new service aims to demystify marketing and offer practical, accessible support to the sector to help organisations reach more customers. It will ensure their products and services meet the needs of their customers and communicate the unique value of their enterprise. We wish them well.
See more, http://www.senscot.net/networks1st/shownotice.php?articleid=180
SURF held its annual conference in Edinburgh last month. The event was titled ‘Sustaining and Reinventing Community Regeneration in Scotland’ and the Conference Report in now available. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=9461
Last week’s ‘Fit for Purpose’ event seemed to go really well. Over 90 delegates attended with John McDonald (Community Transport Association) commenting, “I enjoyed the “Fit for Purpose” conference on Friday, particularly Mary Allison’s contribution. She gave the best thumbnail sketch of the NHS and how it works that I have seen in a range of different events covering health over the years”. Here’s Mary’s presentation as well some other presenters, http://www.senscot.net/view_event.php?viewid=9319
Over recent weeks the bulletin has profiled new ventures set up by existing social enterprises. This week, it’s the turn of Autism Ventures Scotland (AVS) who opened their ‘Gallery on the Corner’ last month in Edinburgh’s New Town. The ‘Gallery on the Corner’ provides artists with a disability, mental health problem or from a disadvantaged background a platform to exhibit and sell their artwork in a high profile location. AVS plans another venture later this year that will offer apprenticeships in retail and art to young people with Autism Spectrum Condition. For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=9451
I watched ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’ again and was struck by these wise words on love, spoken by Dr Iannis (John Hurt) to his daughter Pelagia (Penelope Cruz).
‘‘When you fall in love it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then it subsides. And when it subsides you have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together it is inconceivable that you should ever part.’’
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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