SENScot – on behalf of Sport SEN members – has written a follow-up letter to Joe FitzPatrick (Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing) – on the back of our original letter in late July 2020. Supporting the letter is a Sport SEN Briefing evidencing the impact of three Sport SEN members in particular – Showcase the Street (Dundee); Banks O’Dee Sport Club (Aberdeen); and Atlantis Leisure (Oban). The first letter focused on key challenges being faced by Sport SEN members as they explored a gradual re-commencement of sport and physical activity whilst, at the same time, prioritising public health and safety. This follow-up letter highlights the particularly vulnerable position of many Sport SEN members – with reduced capacity; reduced usage of facilities; cancelled memberships; a significant drop in footfall; and, for members who do not own their own asset, an inability to hire the facilities they require. Redundancies have been made – and with furlough due to end – more are anticipated. We will share the response for Govt once we hear back.

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Scottish Govt is inviting community groups and organisations to share ideas and evidence, based on their own experiences of responding to the current Covid pandemic, and their engagement with people experiencing poverty and inequality. The intention is that these ideas can be gathered to help drive a fairer recovery in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19). Responses will inform the work of the Scottish Govt’s Social Renewal Advisory Board (SRAB) – tasked with building on policy and practice shifts seen during COVID-19 to tackle disadvantage and poverty, and advance equality and social justice. The deadline for submissions is Friday 16th October 2020. Our Director, Pauline Gordon, is part of a Third Sector Policy Circle that will be advising SRAB on third sector matters. See details on how to submit your ideas. Senscot will be submitting its own response, based on many of the findings that emerged during SE Reset Week in May 2020. We will be following this up with SE Restart and Rebuild – a week-long series of online events and discussions during w/b 16th November 2020. Full programme and booking info’ – coming soon!

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As part of Scotland’s ‘Countdown to COP26’, a special, one-day online conference on Tuesday, 3 November 2020 is scheduled to explore innovation, inclusive growth, cultural change around climate action, and ultimately how collaboration could achieve national net zero targets. SENScot is helping to facilitate a response from the social enterprise community. This response will include highlighting the ‘actions’ social enterprises are already taking – and helping persuade others to follow. The day-long event is free to attend.

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Here We Are (HWA), based in Cairndow at the head of Loch Fyne in Argyll, was established in 2001 – with an original vision of offering “a new concept for tourism in the Highlands – a symbiotic relationship between visitor and community – that would recreate tourism as interesting, educational and rewarding for visitor and host alike”. Nearly 20 years down the line, HWA is alive and well, employing 8 staff and operating two subsidiaries. ‘Here We Are – The Story of a Community Enterprise’ charts its progress over the years – and, despite the many challenges, how it has manged to achieve so much of its original vision.

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Following a very well-attended Employability SEN session last Thursday (24th Sept) on the DWP Kickstart Scheme, SENScot has been approached by a number of members who wish to create opportunities for young people as an employer but would not reach the Scheme threshold of 30 placements per bid.  If you have registered with DWP as a Gateway (intermediary org) or are interested in doing so – and working with partner employers, please let us know.

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Frontline News:

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

The John Pearce Memorial Lecture, this year, takes place on 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 short list for the 2020 SURF Awards is now available – with winners to be announced early December:

Reminder: the SEN Bridging Loan Fund is available to any SEN member looking for an interest-free bridging loan – under £10k. This has been capitalised by individual and organisations from the sector itself:

September edition of SENScot’s SE Health and Wellbeing Newsletter came out last week – and includes features on up-and-coming events; SEN members’ news – as well as other info relevant to SEN members:

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Dates for your Diary:

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:

Three Rural SE Hub Community Learning Exchanges will take place during October – all virtually. Hosting organisations include: Bùth Bharraigh Community Shop (13th Oct) ; R-evolution Community Benefit Society (19th Oct) ; and Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (28th Oct): See links to book your place:

Community Woodlands Association holds its Annual Conference tomorrow and Saturday – 2nd and 3rd October- with wworkshops, discussion groups and virtual site visits. See Programme and Booking Details:

Community Resources Network Scotland (CRNS) holds its Annual Conference – digitally – this year. A Fairer Scotland, A Greener World – will run on Tuesday and Wednesday,17th and 18th November 2020.

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SE around the globe: This week we highlight Open Sole Africa – a social enterprise, based in Kenya, supporting families in coastal regions in East Africa through cleaning the ocean. They do this by recycling flip-flops – the most affordable local footwear – that more often than not are discarded into the ocean. Washed-up flip-flops are collected and re-purposed into works of art or toys for local children – with this work often carried out by former woodcarvers, made redundant when deforestation of ebony and mahogany was outlawed. Open Sole Africa’s aim is to ‘make a difference to the plight of our oceans and give back what it earns to empower and enrich lives – through employment and educating the next generation’.

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SEN Spotlight: This week’s Spotlight looks at the Rural SEN – which provides a vehicle for rural social enterprises to share experiences, learning, and identify areas for future action and collaboration – and is hosted by InspirAlba. With 33% of social enterprises in Scotland located in rural or remote areas, rural social enterprises are driven by collective action, helping to sustain essential services – and, in doing so, fulfilling community needs and aspirations. The Rural SEN is hosted digitally – either monthly or bi-monthly – enabling members to share their challenges and solutions, resources, identify potential partnerships, and to benefit from a network of peer support. InspirAlba has also developed the Rural Social Enterprise Hub as a focal point for research and development activity on rural social enterprise in Scotland and further afield. This month, the Rural SE Hub is running three ‘virtual’ Community Learning Exchanges (CLEs) – being hosted by Rural SEN members in Barra, Speyside and Argyll. To sign up – see booking details.

SE Network News Edition No.14