As Social Enterprise Network Scotland looks to bed in and begin to formalise its role as a strong representative body for front-line social and community enterprises in Scotland, we are also very conscious that our sector – let alone wider Scottish society – currently faces challenges than have not been seen for generations. To adequately support and represent our sector, it is critical that we do so in collaboration with colleagues across the wider third sector – and beyond. Initially, this will involve ongoing engagement with local SENs and the TSI Network; exploring with other national membership-led organisations opportunities for joint-working (including fellow members of SCA); and, importantly, engaging in positive dialogue with national support agencies to ensure that the support services we all provide are relevant, add value and are appropriate to the current needs of the sector. We are also acutely aware that this is a two-way street, and equally, all those we work with, will look to us to provide support, information, connections, resources wherever we can – in an equitable and fair-handed manner. As the recipients of public monies, we are aware of our responsibilities – and intend to do our very best to work with others to ensure that those organisations we represent are best able to continue to provide their invaluable services within their respective communities. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the very many supportive and encouraging messages we have received – from far and wide – on the news of our merger. They are all very much appreciated.  

The recent Rural SEN meeting highlighted the importance of social enterprises in providing access and progression routes for young people, especially in light of the unemployment and youth unemployment challenges being predicted as a result of Covid-19. The provision of such local access and progression routes are vital to give young people the choice to remain in their rural communities, rather than having to migrate to urban centres for employment and further education. To get a better understanding of what social enterprises could offer, they are carrying out this short survey – with a view to gaining a better understanding of the composition of both past  and future opportunities. Your co-operation would be much appreciated. 

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During our recent SE Reset Week, one of the sessions looked at what organisations, involved in food provision, need to think about ahead of re-opening their services and community spaces -  with specific input from Brenda Black (Edinburgh Community Food). Issues discussed included partnership and collaboration, and we followed this up with a further session focusing on the value of collaboration in food provision. This session heard from partnerships in West Lothian and Glasgow on their recent work to ensure food provision during Covid-19, as well as discussion on challenges and practicalities for both new and existing partnerships. More inspiration for collaborative working now comes from Edinburgh Community Food with this excellent case study on Edinburgh’s local response to Covid-19 – which may be used by others as strong evidence in promoting the food partnership model to local authorities, funders and evaluators 

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Frontline News: Scottish Community Alliance’s (SCA) highly successful Community Learning Exchanges (CLEs) are available again – virtually. See further details including guidance and application form: 

A Joint Thematic SEN session – ‘Supporting staff mental health & wellbeing’ – takes place tomorrow Friday 17th July at 1.30pm. Speakers include Jonny Kinross (Grassmarket Community Project) and Helena MacLeod (Bridge A Gap). See link for details and, to sign up, contact jude@senscot.net : 

Employability SEN meeting will be taking place next Tuesday – 21st July at 11am. The meeting will explore what members will stop doing; keep doing; and/or start doing. To join in, contact jayne@senscot.net: 

Angus’ first Social Supermarket is now into its second week – a Communities First UK initiative tackling food insecurity – using perfectly good, in-date, surplus stock from national and local suppliers. See video: 

Interesting internship opportunity (paid) with InspirAlba for a social science PhD researcher at a Scottish university – via the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. Closing date – Wed, 29th July 2020. 

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OSCR, this week, has updated its meetings section on Covid 19 guidance for charities. The intention is to clarify steps charities need to take around AGMs; virtual meetings; and governance. See updated guidelines

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The Finnish Education System is regarded by many as providing a blueprint for others to follow. Earlier this year, Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General at the Finnish National Agency for Education, visited Scotland. This short clip captures the essence of the Finish approach. To read and hear more about his visit, see here

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News this week of the launch of a new representative body for social enterprise in the Irish Republic. Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI), formed by some of Ireland’s leading SE practitioners and supporters, intends to act as a champion for the sector and its members, both nationally and internationally. We wish them well and look forward to crossing paths in the months ahead. 

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In 2014, Carnegie UK produced a document called ‘A Route Map to an Enabling State’ – which identified 8 steps that Government can take to give communities and individuals more control. Carnegie has now re-visited this document in light of Covid 19 – and how this has affected the relationship between government, public services and citizens. The result is an updated Route Map – with some guiding principles for recovery

These ‘guiding principles’ chime with much of what our sector has also been advocating in recent months. 

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Still on the recovery theme, Scottish Rural Action this week published findings from Round 1 of a series of surveys they are carrying out amongst people living in remote communities – looking to understand response and recovery from a whole-community perspective, rather than through a particular demographic or sectoral lens. Over 500 people, from every local authority area in Scotland, participated in Round 1. Round 2 is now available. The survey takes around 5 mins to complete. Your participation would be very much appreciated. 

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SE around the globe: This new, regular feature will pick out issues or developments – from around the globe – that may be of interest to readers. We kick off this week with this ‘Opinion Piece’ from Maurice Otieno from the Baraza Media Lab in Kenya. As the corporate world looks to demonstrate its social impact credentials, Maurice suggests that investing in local Black founders of social enterprises, rooted in the communities they serve, would offer fairer opportunities and better results. 

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SEN Spotlight: This week’s SEN Spotlight looks at Glasgow SEN (GSEN) as it advertises for a new Director. GSEN was set up in 2008 to provide a range of services from information-sharing and peer support to resources and access to events and training to front-line social enterprises in Glasgow. Over the years, GSEN has built up a strong track record – not only in bringing the social enterprise community in the city together but also in building strong links with other sectors – both locally and nationally. Today, they represent over 150 local social enterprises. Amongst GSEN’s more notable achievements has been to co-production of the city’s own Social Enterprise Strategy and supporting Action Plan (2019-22) – overseen by the Glasgow Social Enterprise Board, of which GSEN holds the vice-chair. GSEN is also a partner in the local Third Sector Interface (TSI). GSEN is currently seeking to recruit a new Director to build on the solid foundations that have been laid – see application pack. Closing date is Tuesday, 28th July 2020 at 5pm. 

SE Network News: Edition No.3