SENScot has been supporting the Tourism SEN since 2016 – in response to the growing number of social and community enterprises active in this area. An important component of this is community tourism – an approach which puts local people at the centre of the decision-making process to produce benefits for the whole community – including allowing local businesses to capture the footfall of visitors to larger, popular local assets. Community tourism can help preserve historic and cultural heritage, improve management of land and assets for community use, encourage the development of new business opportunities, improve the quality of services and build social capital. Some of this work – and its local value – was highlighted in a 2018 Senscot Community Tourism Briefing – citing the example of Dornoch CIC. Building on this, particularly as we all look towards ‘Restarting and Rebuilding’, SENScot is planning to ‘pilot’ community-led tourism initiatives in two small towns. Working with local partners from the public, private and third sectors – this will involve the development of an action plan – setting out a clear vision and objectives – assessing existing community tourism provision – and identifying opportunities for further development. The ‘pilot’ will include an agreed ‘exit strategy’ – to ensure longer term sustainability. More on this very soon.


Further to last week’s SENScot’s Letter, on behalf of Sport SEN members, to Joe FitzPatrick (Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing) – we owe an apology to Spartans Community Football Academy (Edinburgh) for omitting to mention them as one of the ‘case studies’ in our Sport SEN Briefing. Spartans kindly shared information on the challenges they are facing during Covid 19 – and how they have sought to adapt their services – along with Showcase the Street (Dundee); Banks O’Dee Sports Club (Aberdeen); and Atlantis Leisure (Oban). No word back yet from the Minster. Last week also saw the work of another Sport SEN member – Partick Thistle Community Trust – being highlighted in the House of Commons for its work in supporting communities in North Glasgow during the pandemic. This article, from down south, highlights the extent of the crisis being faced by those across the sport community – with a call for recognition as an essential service – vital to public health. See this month’s Sport SEN Newsletter.


The Robertson Trust has announced details of its new funds and accompanying eligibility criteria – following recent publication of its 10-year Strategy. Broken into three core categories – with two additional streams for community vehicle and capital build grants – the funds will provide over £200m to local communities and community organisations over the next decade. Eligibility criteria will focus on ‘constituted community groups and registered charities working to alleviate poverty and trauma in Scotland – with an annual income under £2 million’. With a number of SEN members being constituted as asset-locked Community Interest Companies (CICs) – SENScot wrote to The Robertson Trust to ask for clarity as to whether or not such organisations could still be eligible. The Robertson Trust has, in response, reiterated that its initial focus will remain as per the core criteria. However, as work to address poverty and trauma develops, they assure us that they will be open to reviewing their guidance in line with this. Sign up to the Trust’s Mailing List for more on future opportunities and/or changes as they develop.


Citizen Investment is a term that may not be familiar to many, but its roots have a long history in Scotland dating back to the 1700s with the first Savings Bank and the Fenwick Weavers Society. The principle of Citizen Investment is much the same – with local people investing in their own community for a modest financial return – as well as a social return for their community. This article, from Pauline Hinchion (SCF Ltd) suggests, as we seek to ‘restart and rebuild’ from Covid 19 within the context of a difficult long-term economic outlook, Citizen Investment could make a significant contribution to supporting local economies through associated employment; local service provision; as well as the obvious social capital benefits.


Frontline News:

Community Land Scotland, this year, celebrates in 10th anniversary. As part of their celebrations, they have produced this excellent short video – capturing over 100 years of community land history across Scotland:

Edition No. 3 of Community Enterprise’s e-magazine Comment now available – with, amongst other things, news on the updated SE Support Map; as well as an interview with SENScot’s Pauline Gordon – as a bonus!:

News, last week, of a change in structure for the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and SSE Scotland. The new structure will see their three independent teams in England merge with SSE itself – with SSE Scotland becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of SSE. This update gives background and more details:

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:


Dates for your Diary:

Three Rural SE Hub Community Learning Exchanges will take place during October – all online. 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:

Tuesday 20th October (2pm) – P4P’s second ‘In Conversation With’ webinar – featuring Hannah Justad (Glasgow Connected Arts Network) talking about the Glasgow Arts Partnership (GAP) – a new consortium of Participatory Arts organisations and freelance creatives across Greater Glasgow. Register here :

Community Enterprise hosts an online event on Tuesday, 27th October (10am – 12 noon) in partnership with the William Grant Foundationwhich sees the launch of their Research Report- A Different Approach to Community Led Asset Development. See link for further info, to download report – and to book your place:

Friday, 30th October (10am) – A joint Employability & Health session will be looking at how social enterprises support the mental health of their beneficiaries – including how they support and retain volunteers A number of speakers will share experiences and ideas – more on this to follow. To sign up, contact Jayne:


SE around the globe: This week we spotlight one of the world’s largest social enterprise networks – covering 17 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Waste Pickers (Red Lacre) is a network of grassroots recyclers who perform the job of collecting, selecting and recovering recyclable waste for re-use. Founded nearly 30 years ago, Red Lacre works on behalf of over 2 million people across the 17 countries who are dedicated to recycling. Its activities focus on participation in regional and global initiatives, alliances and platforms, seeking to generate the conditions for the effective recognition and economic, social, technical and environmental inclusion of grassroots recyclers. This recent letter – sent to the governments of each of the 17 members countries – reflects their objectives.


SEN Spotlight: Of the 18 local SENs in Scotland, a number are supported by their local Third Sector Interface (TSI). One such example is the Renfrewshire SEN which has been supported for a number of years now by Engage Renfrewshire. With almost 40 members, Engage Renfrewshire provides advice and support to social enterprises who want to start up or develop further. They also provide support with community asset transfers and the distribution of community benefits; as well as helping organisations to build meaningful relationships within the local public and private sectors. More recently, they also produced this helpful – and not too serious – short video for aspiring social enterprises in the Renfrewshire area.

SE Network News Edition No.15