The SENs: Friday 9th December 2016

Like many in our sector, we look forward next week to the launch of the new SE Strategy for Scotland. Many SENs and their members were able to participate in a wide-ranging consultation process that began in late 2014. Reflecting on the first SE Strategy (March 2007) – and Action Plan – offers an opportunity to consider how the SE community in Scotland has evolved over these last 10 years. From the SENs perspective, here are some stats from our annual report in 2007 (2016 figures in brackets): Local SENs – 10 (18); Thematic SENs – 2 (5); Local SEN members – 215 (1068); Engaged on Thematic SENs – 32 (486). It’s certainly not been plain sailing – but the increased level of activity, engagement and influence is there for all to see. We are hopeful the new Strategy helps SENs and their members build on a growing contribution within their respective local communities.

With council funding cuts placing an ever greater strain on delivery of community services, third sector organisations are looking at new ways to address local needs and increase their own sustainability.  This week, several Argyll-based recycling and re-use organisations met in Tarbert to discuss the possibility of developing a consortium approach aimed at maximising use of resources and providing innovative solutions.  If you would like to be involved in any future discussions, email Reeni – with an outline of what services you currently deliver and your interest in joining the consortium. Also – a further meeting of the prospective Glasgow Employability Consortium took place earlier this week to discuss collaborative working opportunities.  For more info or to get involved – email George.

The Grassmarket Community Project are hosting a Community Learning Exchange Visit Social Enterprise and Tourism on the 19th Jan.  Based in the heart of Edinburgh the Grassmarket Community Project are ideally located to attract visitors and have been working hard to improve their offer.  With experience in balancing service delivery alongside tourist needs, and experience in working with a variety of partners, Jonny will give an insight into the opportunities and challenges that the project has faced in being part of the tourism industry.  Followed by a discussion session that will allow SEs to focus on the challenges and the opportunities open to them.  For more information, contact Sarah.

Last month, Senscot hosted a Social Enterprise Learning Exchange in Elgin in partnership with Social Firms Scotland, Highland & Islands Enterprise, Moray SEN, Highland TSI, Aberdeen SEN and Aberdeenshire TSI. The aim of the session was to provide a space for in-depth discussion; strategic thinking; influencing; making broader connections; sharing good practice and developing ideas and / or pieces of work. Hopefully this will lead to greater involvement for social enterprises across a range of policy areas. See the report here.

Nourish has partnered with Oxfam Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, and The Poverty Alliance to try to evolve the response to food poverty in Scotland from foodbanks to tackling the underlying causes. The focus of the ‘A Menu for Change: Cash, Rights, Food’ project will be on enhancing access to cash and promoting alternative, more dignified ways of supporting those facing hunger.  Also, find out more about Nourish’s Community Food Catalysts programme – a fabulous opportunity. To find out more email or see here and sign up before 5pm Friday 30th Dec. 

Earlier this year, The Homeless World Cup (HWC) took place in the heart of Glasgow. All credit and congratulations due to all involved as it has been voted ‘event of the year’ at the prestigious Peace and Sport Award ceremony in Monaco.  For the duration of the event, George Square was transformed into ‘the most inspiring place on the planet’. Teams came together from across the globe to celebrate and highlight the year-round life changing work of the HWC National Partner network. Over five hundred players arrived in Glasgow – each with their own story to tell, their own point on a journey to create a better life for themselves. See more.


TENDERS: Outdoor Playground Equipment / Business Gateway Core and Specialist Workshops and Expert Help Services – Renfrewshire Council, Independent Advocacy Service – Inverclyde Council, Provision of Transport Services – North Ayrshire Council and more. Join the Ready for Business Linked-In group and follow on Twitter.

FUNDING: Managed by SCVO and supported by the Scottish Government, the new Digital Participation Charter Fund is now open for applications (up to £10K). There is a particular focus for the Fund to support organisations currently working to tackle poverty, social isolation and other forms of inequality to embed basic digital skill development work into their day-to-day activity with service users.

CO-WORKING: The Co-working Europe Conference in Brussels last week, saw Claire Carpenter of The Melting Pot, launch the Co-working Accelerator Network. This brand-new offering gives people a unique opportunity to take advantage of The Melting Pot’s decade of co-working experience. The initiative will help new, independent, co-working spaces establish themselves across Scotland, the UK and internationally.

AGM: Edinburgh SEN will be holding its AGM on the water! It will be taking place 13th Dec on Lochrin Belle, the main vessel in the Re-Union Canal Boats fleet.

SURVEY: On behalf of the Scottish Government Supported Business Advisory Group, Ready for Business is compiling a register of Supported Businesses to inform public sector commissioning and procurement staff of the increased opportunities of the recently revised, much broader, EU definition of Supported Businesses.

SUCCESS: After the recent destructive fire at The Edinburgh Bike Station a crowdfunder was launched. The initial target was successfully reached and there is now a ‘stretch target’ to allow it to continue to operate and to offer services and workshops to the community.

Dates for the Diary

Edinburgh SEN AGM, 13th Dec
Glasgow SEN, 14th Dec
Perth & Kinross SEN, 24th Jan

Best wishes,