Social Enterprise Network Scotland is now in its third month and whilst our ‘settling in’ period is still with us, we have been fortunate, thanks to our staff, in being able to maintain our day-to-day activities relatively unhindered. Over the coming weeks, we will have more news on the shape and direction of travel for the organisation and how we will engage with and support our membership. In the meantime, however, the Board has agreed to move forward using SENScot as our trading name. This not only reflects a familiar and, we think, successful brand within the sector in Scotland – but also reflects an organisation that will represent the interests of grassroots social enterprises – with social enterprise networks (SENs) at its heart – a network of networks.

An integral part of SENScot’s work revolves around its engagement with and its support to the thematic SENs. The thematic SENs first began to emerge around a decade ago. Today, there are seven thematic SENs – Health; Community Food; Culture; Sport; Employability; Tourism and the Rural SEN. Together they actively engage with around 900 social enterprises from all parts of Scotland. One of our key activities during the current pandemic was SE Reset Week – held in May – which saw over 800 people participate in around 20 separate online sessions. The findings from these sessions have been summarised in this short Briefing Paper. Planning is now underway for Reset Week 2 – with further news to follow shortly.

            The work of the thematic SENs has continued apace over recent months. This PowerPoint presentation gives a short summary of their respective activity since our recent merger in July 2020.

Following last week’s publication of Scottish Govt’s Programme for Government, the think-tank, Common Wealth, has produced this report – Charting a Just and Sustainable Recovery for Scotland – which identifies a series of key policies that , they say, could be introduced without any budgetary implications and would, ‘democratise our economy, build community wealth, create decent jobs, and support the just transition for a sustainable future for all as the first step in building a new economic consensus’.

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Glasgow City Council sadly confirmed last week, following its debate on 3rd Sept – that it will proceed with proposed cuts to the city’s third sector. The Council has been keen to point out that applications to its Communities Fund was oversubscribed by £57m – although this will be little consolation to the 130 local organisations who will no longer receive local authority support – and now face an uncertain future. In response to the current circumstances, the Council is setting up a review of its relationship with the city’s third sector. The review will be chaired by Ian Bruce – Chief Executive at GCVS.

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The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) will close tomorrow (11th Sept) at 12 noon. Over the last six months, the TSRF has provided grant funding to over 1300 organisations – seeking to help protect over 16,000 jobs and, in doing so, maintain vital services within local communities. In addition, 25 organisations have also been able to access loan funding. Very shortly, Scottish Govt will be announcing a follow up – with the opening of the new £25m Third Sector Community and Recovery Programme.

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Scottish Govt has, this week, produced this report on Community Ownership in Scotland as of December 2019 – identifying 590 assets that are owned by 418 community organisations. A 5% rise on the year before.

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Frontline News: Latest Sport SEN Newsletter is now available – including features on Sport SEN members that have re-opened or are planning to do so this month; up-and-coming virtual SEN sessions for members and others; news on funding and support available; as well as info on the Week of Sport at end of September:

CEIS has produced recordings and videos of the various presentations from last week’s SE Policy and Practice event. If you weren’t able to attend – or if you’d like to re-visit some sessions, check out the link:

Some Cultural SEN members will be interested in Scottish Govt’s new Independent Cinema Recovery and Resilience Fund announced last week. £3.5m available – with the fund opening for applications on 14th Sept:

Good news for community transport organisations in Scotland with a £5m package via the National Lottery Community Fund – for projects supporting isolated and vulnerable people through local transport initiatives:

This short video showcases the partnership approach of  West Lothian Food Network during the Covid crisis – involving West Lothian Council, the local third sector (including WLSEN members) and private sector:

Common Ground is a partnership between homeless charity, Rowan Alba and Community Shares Scotland – looking to raise capital to purchase a property in Edinburgh to provide log-term housing for homeless people.

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Dates for your Diary:

All SEN Session – Rescheduled: Monday 14th September (3-4pm) – Flexible Working & Mental Wellbeing. Our re-scheduled session will include contributions from Geoff Leask (Young Enterprise Scotland); Lisa Gallagher (Flexibility Works) and Claire Carpenter (The Melting Pot). To sign up, email mary@senscot.net

Health SEN: Wednesday, 16th Sept (10.30am) – Anne Connor (Outside the Box) will talk about how smaller providers can play a bigger role in the world of health & social care. To book, email mary@senscot.net

Community Food SEN: Friday, 18th Sept (10.30am) – Opportunity for SEN members to discuss together challenges faced moving from Phase 3 to Phase 4 of Scotland’s Route Map. Contact mary@senscot.net

Employability SEN: Wednesday, September 23rd (2pm)Drew Reid from Skills Development Scotland will be talking about how their Skills for Growth programme could benefit members. To book, email Jayne:

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SE around the globe: It seems appropriate that this week’s’ SE around the globe’ spot looks at the Social Enterprise World Forum – which will be taking place (virtually) between 21st-25th Sept. This will be the 13th running of an event which first started its life in Edinburgh, back in 2008. There is an impressive list of webinars, masterclasses and facilitated discussion available during the 5-day programme. Some of the content may seem pretty remote to frontline social enterprise in Scotland –  others, less so – but, irrespective of your own views on the role and contribution of social enterprise, it certainly gives a flavour of the different approaches and challenges in different countries around the globe.  Particular Scottish contributions will come from the likes of InspirAlba; the SE Rural Hub; CRNS; and the SE Academy. See Booking Forms.

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SEN Spotlight: This week, we look at one of the newer Local SENs – first set up 18 months ago. Angus SEN was established in March 2019 following an 18-month consultation process with the local third sector to develop the Angus Social Enterprise Strategy and a supporting 3 year Action Plan. As well as existing local social enterprises, Angus SEN is also keen to welcome new enterprises – whether start-ups or those that are as part of an existing third sector organisation. In addition to providing peer-to-peer support, Angus SEN also actively promotes collaboration and partnership working amongst its 35 members – as well as with the wider third sector and public sector. Later this month – 30th Sept – they will host the Angus SEN Showcase event – which will include the launch of the new Angus Social Enterprise Directory. For more info on Angus SEN, email admin@angussen.org.uk . Angus SEN is currently being supported by Voluntary Action Angus.

SE Network News Edition No.11