During our SE Reset week in May, mental health & wellbeing emerged strongly as one of the key themes – with social enterprises highlighting a range of issues relating to workforce; service users; and their wider community.  More recently, SCVO published its own report – ‘Coronavirus and its impact on the Scottish Voluntary Sector: a review of literature’  – which references to SENScot’s SE Reset Report along with other key publications from the sector – which again highlighted the scale of concerns across the sector relating to mental health & wellbeing. SEN members have also initiated a number of online sessions seeking to address these concerns – which SENScot has subsequently facilitated via presentations and discussions on a range of specific issues. These have included: Supporting Staff Mental Wellbeing; Legal Responsibilities of Employers; Flexible Working & Mental Wellbeing; and the Role of Sport / Physical Activity in Improving Mental Wellbeing.

Tomorrow, we host a further session – Mental Health & Wellbeing in Communities – exploring the needs emerging as result of Covid19 and the social enterprise response to this and other associated challenges. Social enterprises already play a key role in improving mental health & wellbeing across Scotland, via a wide range of direct support, early interventions & preventative approaches – and will, no doubt, continue to make a crucial contribution in the mental health recovery from Covid19. We invite social enterprises to get in touch to discuss this issue further and, hopefully, to participate in a series of sessions and activities that we’ll be facilitating in the coming months. To do so, please contact mary@senscot.net.

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SENScot has now moved its Glasgow base from George Square to new premises at 42 Miller Street, Glasgow G1 1DT (just off Ingram Street). Both P4P and Senscot Legal will also be based here. Obviously, for the time being, there will be limited staff presence. Respective phone numbers etc will remain the same.

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This week saw the formal launch of Scottish Govt’s new £25m Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme. The Programme is split into two parts – the Communities Recovery Fund and the Adapt and Thrive Programme. The links provide further details including guidelines and application forms etc – with both programmes being open to applications up until March 2021. Whilst the Communities Recovery Fund is a more straightforward grant programme, Adapt and Thrive will provide wrap-around advice and support as well as grants and loans. As stated in recent weeks, both programmes are open to community organisations, social enterprises and wider third sector organisations with turnovers under £500k.

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The Social Enterprise Collection at Glasgow Caledonian Archive Centre (GCU Archives) has been established to preserve, record and to retell the history of social enterprise’s distinctive heritage in Scotland. SENScot, itself, is currently collating its own 20-year backstory for inclusion in the Collection. In response to Covid 19 – and the innovation, collaboration and support demonstrated by the sector during this period, CGU Archives has put out a call asking for organisations, if they can, to collect the experiences of their members during Covid 19 – to be shared with future generations. For more info’ or to share your own experiences – email archives@gcu.ac.uk – or follow #KeepItDontDeleteIt

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A series of Community Learning Exchanges (CLE) have been lined up to run through October. Inspiralba and Scottish Community Alliance are teaming up to provide an opportunity for rurally-based social enterprises to share learning and solutions to the challenges posed by Covid. Rural SEN members have signed up to host these virtual CLEs, which will consist of brief virtual tours; presentations from hosts on challenges and solutions; followed by Q&As and general discussion – with a focus very much on audience participation and peer learning. To sign or to find out more, see SE Rural Hub details

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Frontline News: Midsteeple Quarter – a community-led initiative to acquire and redevelop properties in Dumfries High Street – has more good news with the acquisition of two further shop units in the High St:

Scottish Land Fund has announced funding of £1.6m for community organisations looking to acquire assets from local woodlands, village shops and an urban community centre. See list of awardees:

ILM Highland has, this week, opened a new online retail shop – and also launched its new website. In addition to the new shop, ILM continues with its Home Improvement and Electrical Recycling activities:

The John Pearce Memorial Lecture, this year, is scheduled for Monday, 16th November (3.30-5pm). Ed Mayo, Chief Exec of Pilotlight, will give this year’s lecture on ‘ The Power of Dreams: community economic development after the virus’. The event is free and will be online. See link to book your place:

The Robertson Trust today published its new 10-year Strategy – providing over £200m in funding to organisations addressing poverty and trauma in communities across Scotland over the next decade:

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Dates for your Diary:

All SEN Session: Tomorrow, Friday 25th Sept (10.30am) – Mental Health & Wellbeing Needs in Communities – addressing SE response to mental health & wellbeing in communities. Contact Mary.

Employability & Cultural SENs: Wednesday 30th Sept (2.30pm) – Exploring employability opportunities within cultural sector for people who find it difficult to access jobs. To book, email sarah@senscot.net :

All SEN Session on Flexible Working & Mental Wellbeing recording now available. Contributors – Geoff Leask (Young Enterprise Scotland); Lisa Gallagher (Flexibility Works); Claire Carpenter (The Melting Pot):

SE Restart and Rebuild – will take place week commencing 16th November 2020 – a follow on from our initial SE Reset Week back in May. Full programme and booking information available in coming weeks:

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SE around the globe: It seems appropriate that, this week, we reference the SE World Forum which has been taking place digitally since Monday (last day tomorrow). The event has included a wide range of daily sessions – and has attracted participants from over 50 countries – including a number of Scottish contributors. SENScot participated in a ‘participant-nominated’ session on the role of social enterprise networks – local, national and thematic – and the potential to connect them globally. An immediate outcome is a planned follow-up session with, in the first instance, Australian, European and American colleagues. Topics for discussion will include: Collaboration and co-operation; the commons; the role of networks in overcoming the ‘ego-system’; and the strength of ‘localism’. More info on the ‘Global SEN’ soon.

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SEN Spotlight: This week’s SEN spotlight looks at the first social enterprise network to be established in Scotland – Fife SEN. Back in 2004, Fife SEN was formed through the work of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, originally based in Fife – and hosted by BRAG Enterprise. It became formally constituted in 2012.  Over the years, BRAG has continued to provide support for the network – although, unfortunately, recent funding issues have made this more difficult of late. Fife itself – according to the SE Census 2019 – has over 300 social enterprises and Fife SEN, despite having no dedicated funding, has continued to host regular meetings – bringing members together on a quarterly basis. Providing the opportunity for local social enterprises to access peer-to-peer support remains a key function for any SEN. It is great credit to the Fife social enterprise community – and BRAG Enterprises – that they have been able to maintain this without any dedicate resources. Hopefully, this can be rectified in the year ahead.

SE Network News Edition No.13