Senscot Network Development Update
25th June 2004
Over the last few weeks things have been busy with a number of social enterprise groups getting together around the country to discuss with each other how they are working to develop their communities. Events in Fife, Dumfries & Galloway, the Borders and Midlothian have been full of energy, commitment and enthusiasm.
In Fife, the first meeting for social enterprises and social entrepreneurs took place at Furniture Plus, in Kirkcaldy on June 2nd. Senscot sent out a general invite on the bulletin, but the meeting was run by the participants. It was the first time many of those present had met, yet it was also the first time they hadn’t had to explain what they meant by ‘social enterprise’.
In the Borders on June 21st, Community Enterprise and Social Enterprise Links (CESEL) held an excellent network meeting attended by 22 people, with presentations from 3 front liners, Jay Lamb of Re-Union, Elaine Richards of Community Mums and Diane Henderson of CESEL and Abbey Softplay, about the high highs and the low lows of running a social enterprise. If you’d like to know more about what came out of the event Diane has collated results from the questionnaires filled in at the event, which can be accessed by visiting CESEL’s website.
In Dumfries & Galloway, a Senscot and Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) event, sponsored by D&G Council on June 23rd, brought together 19 people to hear from the Glaisnock Trust in Cumnock, Scotland UnLtd and DTAS. The meeting ended with a call to set up a local network to represent social enterprise in the area.
June 24th, saw the first Midlothian Community Economic Development (CED) area Chamber of Social Enterprise event in Mayfield, a stone’s throw from McSense, one of Scotland’s premier social enterprises. Organised by Pat Bowie, the meeting heard from Kevin Robbie, Manager of Forth Sector and author of the Scottish Procurement Toolkit launched on June 23 in Inverness. Kevin spoke of the opportunities being presented for social enterprises able to take advantage of the 5bn public services market, as it is opened up to social economy organisations.
Many of the issues that have come up at these events tend to be quite familiar; the number of people running social enterprise without knowing it; people setting up Development Trusts who have never heard of the concept; where can people find objective information about social enterprise and how important it is to have support to keep you going through the hard times. It has also been very clear that communities are ‘champing at the bit’ to take ownership of their local issues.
On June 30th, Senscot and CRT are hosting a second joint event in West Lothian and the next few months is likely to see new social enterprise networks starting up in Ayr and Aberdeen. Senscot is happy to facilitate meetings for social enterprises and social entrepreneurs around the country, so if you want to see more happening in your area, let us know and we can help get things off the ground and announce your events on the bulletin. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Campbell 25.06.2004