As Scotland continues to respond to Covid-19 and takes considered steps towards our country’s renewal and recovery, one thing that is certain is that the transition back to normality will be a gradual process and some sections of society and sectors of our economy will be hit harder than others.  Community-based social enterprises will be more important than ever in order to ameliorate the long-term socio-economic impacts of the pandemic that have affected communities all across Scotland. This week, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, reiterated that Government’s focus will be on tackling the health crisis, and in parallel, the inevitable emerging economic crisis – in particular, the significant impact on employment and a rise in unemployment. This includes Scottish Govt’s recent announcement of £100m for employment support and training 

As part of a progressive employability infrastructure, social enterprises offer a foundation for a fair and inclusive society, playing a crucial role in tackling inequalities, particularly given their reach into our communities and expertise in engaging people with significant barriers to work who are at risk of being left even further behind. There has never been a more critical time to ensure that the central goal of economic recovery and the various strategies that will deliver it, also deliver collective wellbeing and greater community resilience which are essential in tackling the deep-rooted inequalities that this crisis has not only laid bare but exacerbated.  

Scottish Govt is now carrying out a survey of third sector orgs to gauge how national measures and local effort are supporting those at risk due to Covid-19 – and will inform consideration of future support options. Please try and take the time to fill it in. The Survey takes about 15 mins – and will be confidential. 

We are pleased to say that our proposed new name – Social Enterprise Network Scotland – has now received formal consent from OSCR. Our final hurdle – via a special resolution – is to seek formal approval at a general meeting of members – which will be held virtually (by Zoom) on Friday 7th August 2020 at 9.30am. 

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The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new framework – CAEHRS – a new method for contracting employment support for individuals to access, retain and progress in employment, designed to facilitate the provision of Employment and Health related services.  CAEHRS consists of seven lots, of which Scotland is one. We’ve been approached by Start Scotland – who are looking to bid for the Scotland lot and are keen to talk to social enterprises about working in partnership.  If you’re interested in finding out more, we’re co-hosting a session for members at 11am on Thurs 30th July. Contact Jayne to book your place 

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One of the key findings from our recent SE Reset Week was the increasing importance of collaboration – as a means of addressing the unprecedented challenges currently being faced – and in view of the limited resources available. An interesting example of this approach is already emerging in South West Edinburgh with the Go Beyond initiative – a network of locally-based community organisations (including SEN members). The partners already have a strong working relationship – but with the demands Covid-19 has placed on their respective services, they believe their response must also change. Go Beyond intends to pool and share resources, avoid duplication and share expertise so as to offer the most efficient, resilient services possible. 

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Another collaboration to take note of is the Glasgow Connected Arts Network (Glasgow CAN) – with the formation of  the Glasgow Arts Partnership – involving participatory arts organisations and freelance creative practitioners across Greater Glasgow. The partnership, led by Glasgow CAN, will support smaller creative organisations or freelancers to better access tender and funding opportunities or artistic commissions. The consortium is aiming to formally launch by the end of the year but you can find out more and get involved by contacting Hannah Justad (Glasgow CAN Executive Director).  

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The Social Enterprise Collection – based at Glasgow Caley – is now in its second phase. As part of this second phase, they will be running another project in collaboration with Magic Torch Comics – called Common Good Comics. The intention is to capture the histories of community action and social enterprise in Scotland, making them visible and accessible to a broader range of people by re-telling those stories in comic book form. Here’s a short video to give an introduction to the project. For more info on this project or on the SE Collection itself, contact Gillian.Murray2@gcu.ac.uk . Also, see this short article on both. 

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With a good number of SEN members involved in food provision to vulnerable members in their local communities during the Covid crisis, a new initiative from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) may be of interest to many. Last week, ZWS announced the launch of an online matchmaking service aimed at rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted during this period of uncertainty, by connecting suppliers with surplus produce and organisations that will benefit from it. See further details

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As a number of sectors have begun or are getting ready to re-open their services as lockdown eases, the future for swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres remains unclear. Some reports paint a particularly bleak picture – with Community Leisure UK suggesting up to a third of its members being unable to re-open. This article in The Conversation online magazine puts forward the case – and the benefits – that community ownership can bring in protecting these important local services. 

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SE around the globeThis week’s Network News looks at two examples of where the co-operative business model has been used as a strategy to reduce recidivism. We are familiar with not dissimilar initiatives in Scotland such as Freedom Bakery . This article from the US-based Non-Profit Quarterly looks at examples from Puerto Rico and Ethiopia. 

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Frontline News: Abriachan Forest Trust, near Drumnadrochit, has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise £10k towards its Roundhouse Reconstruction following the recent fire. Any help greatly appreciated: 

DTA Scotland member, Linwood Community Development Trust has produced this powerful video (4 mins) 

On how they have helped to support their community during the current Covid 19 crisis. Worth a watch: 

The Scotland Loves Local Campaign is a national initiative to encourage people to think local first and support local town centres and high streets as lockdown eases – whilst following public health guidelines: 

The Remade Network is opening a new social enterprise – based in Govanhill in Glasgow – that will donate at least 500 free computers to disadvantaged people around the city. See further information.. 

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SEN SpotlightThis week’s spotlight falls on the Health SEN – first established in 2008. As with other SENs, its primary function has been to act as a peer-support network for community-based organisations seeking to make a positive impact on health and well-being within their local communities. It is also a vehicle for joint working opportunities as well as seeking to influence policy at both a local and national level. With almost 200 members, it has been engaged in a host of activities and events over the years – including the production of regular newsletters; a series of Policy Briefings; and co-ordinating the Pockets and Prospects Projects in 2018 and 2019.  Many of the issues explored via the Health SEN lend themselves to joint thematic working, with the reach of health & wellbeing being far and wide. This year, a particular focus will be mental health and wellbeing and the Health SEN will be collaborating with Sport SEN members on physical activity and mental wellbeing. Here’s a recording of last week’s session on ‘Supporting Staff Mental Health & Wellbeing’. For more information, contact mary@senscot.net

SE Network News Edition No.4