The SENs: Friday 6th October 2017

Fears that Scotland’s newly devolved Employability contracts would see our third sector missing out have been confirmed. Scottish Govt announced – with some spin – this week that of the nine contracts covering Scotland from April 2018, private sector firms will make up around 80% of the preferred bidders. Third sector only makes up around 15%. This will be a huge disappointment to many in the sector – and a huge missed opportunity for Govt to demonstrate distinct approaches to delivering such programmes in Scotland. They will rightly be asked to account for why this has happened. It appears that is spite of all the talk about these ‘new approaches’ – cost still appears to be the main driver. SCVO has produced this statement as well as a briefing on the process involved.

Our Sport SEN co-ordinator, Alan Johnston, was asked to provide evidence to the Health and Sport Committee on Tuesday this week. This followed the submission of ‘Call for Views’ back in June, for which Senscot compiled responses received from Sport SEN members. The thrust of the conversation was regarding sport and physical activity participation, with a focus on the health benefits of active participation, access to facilities and inequalities. Alan highlighted Sport for Change as an example of social enterprises addressing social inclusion, meeting specific needs in communities and the issue of affordability. We will share the final report on the enquiry when its published.

Following on from a successful social enterprise event in Argyle & Bute in June, another event is planned for the 30th November delivered in partnership between InspirAlba, P4P, Senscot and Unltd Scotland. This is an opportunity to meet new and existing social enterprises in Argyll, share ideas, learn from others, and make worthwhile connections. The event will have a focus on upcoming procurement opportunities and will involve a workshop delivered by the new Partnership for Procurement (P4P) team. For full programme and registration, see here.

Senscot will be working on an impact evaluation pilot as part of the Scottish Government Social Enterprise Strategy. The evaluation will be based on a new, cloud-based evaluation tool called U>P (Unlocking Potential) which measures, monitors and manages progress by demonstrating positive change being delivered in terms of connectivity, trust and the value of relationship networks. The pilot is being delivered by ASC who will work with four SENs over the next 12 months to create impact reports on the social added value of the Social Enterprise Networks. So far Glasgow, Dundee and the Health SENs have all signed up.

Earlier this week, Senscot joined Crossroads Caring Scotland Dementia Conference which focused on early intervention for individuals and families.  It was fantastic to see Health SEN member The Ally Bally Bee Project present to delegates, alongside inspiring contributions from individuals with experience of living with dementia, Heart & Minds Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland and Maureen Watt MSP.  With a growing number of SEN members developing services and products for people living with dementia, we have a couple of dementia-focused activities coming up, including a Briefing Paper and a session at our December conference. To find out more contact

Partnership for Procurement (P4P) are kickstarting their roadshow with a trip to Aberdeen on the 30th October. The event will be delivered jointly with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Shared Procurement Service, providing an opportunity to learn about the range of services P4P has to offer as well as the ‘refreshed’ Ready for Business third sector register. Take the opportunity to meet the P4P team through a range of workshops, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities to find out how they can benefit your organisation. Register here.



FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Aldi’s Scottish Sport Fund is open for applications from sports clubs in the west of Scotland. Applications to be in by 5th November. Find out more and apply.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: The Aviva Community Fund remains open for applications, with grants of between £1000 and £25,000 available for community organisations. Find out more and apply.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Groups of businesses in the creative industries, food & drink, and tourism sectors are being invited to team up with academic experts for research and development projects which have the potential to transform their industries. Funding ranging from £5,000 to £10,000 will be awarded to projects determined by an external judging panel. Find out more and apply.

EXCHANGE: If your social enterprise has an interest in community cinema, why not sign up for a Community Learning Exchange hosted by the Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh for a day of peer support and learning. Find out more and register.

EVENT: GSEN are launching Glasgow’s Social Enterprise Mapping Report 2017 on the 24th October. Find out more and registerCONFERENCE: Voluntary Health Scotland’s AGM and conference will be held on the 16th November at the Radisson Hotel in Glasgow. Tickets can be booked here.

RESEARCH: The University of Glasgow is looking to collaborate with GSEN members as part of a PhD research programme intended to benefit academic and community interests. To find out more, email


Dates for the Diary

Moray SEN, 12th October

Aberdeen SEN, 18th October

SBSEC, 26th October

West Lothian SEN, 2nd November

Fife SEN, 13th December


Best wishes, Kim