Dear members and friends,
Seasonal mood variations – believed to be related to light – affect some of us more than others – I’m certainly prone to ‘winter blues’. Sadness is as normal a part of our lives as joy – I live with it comfortably; but during Jan/Feb, my mood can dip below normal – into a numbed, negative, lethargy. The most demoralising symptom is very early morning awakening – lying there at 4am is the dark night of the soul. One solution is to winter abroad – like the swallows – but there’s nowhere in Europe warm enough – and the long haul to another continent is going too far.
The weather allowed me to get outside this week for the first time in ages – it still takes me by surprise how totally absorbing I find gardening; it sometimes feels that I actually become what I’m doing – some deep affinity. The snowdrops are late, and my lawn looks to be in shock – but the soil can be turned again and I get my hands into it – firming plants disturbed by the snow and spreading leaf mulch. I prune and shape the trees and shrubs – prepare trays to grow my own bedding plants this year. My neighbour stops for a natter – remarks at my obvious enjoyment pottering on my knees. I explain to him that I’m descended from people who lived off the land for many centuries. After a short pause he says – so is everyone. I hadn’t realised this – felt deflated.
The SNP budget, approved in principle by our Parliament on Wednesday, includes a very satisfactory allocation for the Third Sector; a 16% increase in our core budget at a time of cutbacks. Of course, we don’t know yet what the Labour Manifesto proposes for our sector, but John Swinney has set the bar high. The Minister provided this article for the current Social Enterprise Mag, in which he outlines Scottish Govt’s third sector policy and actions. That his thinking around our sector fails to develop can be forgiven; his main portfolio is, after all, our country’s economy – and the leadership of the Third Sector unit keeps changing. But he has consistently talked up our work – and found the money to back his words. It certainly helps if your patron is in charge of the till. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10594
At the start of every year Senscot invites our supporters to volunteer as company members – not an onerous role. See 2010 list, http://www.senscot.net/companymembers10.php. We also invite donations towards the cost of this bulletin – which we keep independent of public funding – and will be keeping this appeal open for a few more weeks. Thanks to those of you who have responded already. To donate, see http://www.senscot.net/donate.php
George Monbiot claims in this piece in the Guardian that (according to a leaked document) the UK Govt has been lobbying internationally on behalf of bankers – trying to limit the restraints on bonuses. I sometimes think that Monbiot goes on a bit – but this is a very serious allegation – which, if true, makes Vince Cable’s position increasingly threadbare. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10602
It’s a bit of a no-brainer that locally-based housing associations are in a very strong position to ‘spin off’ community-based social enterprises – simply by the way they allocate contracts. An idea, being implemented in England, takes this idea a step further – where 7 housing associations together have created a bespoke incubator for such projects/ventures. It provides back-up infrastructural support and a funding portal. The projects/ventures only need to become independent companies if they prove viable.
See Senscot’s new website for Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) – www.se-networks.net
NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See http://www.senscot.net/jobsevents.php . This week:
JOBS: Glasgow Women’s Library, Impact Arts, Cumbernauld Action Care for the Elderly, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Talk Matters, Carbeth Hutters’ Community Company
EVENTS: Rural Development Day, 26 Jan; Tender writing training, 30 Jan; Cash Flow Planning workshop, 8 Feb; Highlands & Islands Celebration Event, 11 Feb; Climate Change Effective Communication, 17 Feb
TENDERS: Supply of Electrical Equipment and Consumables; Provision of Contracted School, College and Social Work Transport Services for Children and Adults; Architects & Related Services Framework;
NETWORKS 1st: Colin writes: This week sees the launch of the new Networks 1st website – www.se-networks.net . The site has been developed as a focal point for all 22 Social Enterprise Networks (SENs). The intention is to raise the profile of the SENs as well as highlighting the range of activities taking place both within and between SENs. A particular feature will be the Intra-Trading section which will look to build on the significant level of trading that is already taking place amongst SEN members – with the emphasis on what members are looking to buy as much what they are selling. Over the coming weeks, Kim, Anna and Diane will be attending SEN meetings to show members how it all works. For more Networks News, see http://www.se-networks.net/showbull.php?articleid=174
A reader sent a paper by someone called Roberto Savio (Argentinian) – which argues for a World Social Economy Forum. Savio says that as well as the World Economic Forum (Davos) and the World Social Forum (Porto Allegre), a third Forum is required – so that our sector of co-ops, mutuals, social enterprises, social investors etc – can connect globally to influence world governance. As someone who believes (like Yunus) that social business has the potential to transform the way the world economy works – I support Savio’s idea. Can the existing World Social Enterprise Forum (South Africa this year) help bring this about? See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10596
Alan Kay (Social Audit Network) contacts us with news of a new Guide to Social Accounting and Audit is almost complete. The Guide is a "roadmap" to the social accounting and audit process and has been written for social enterprises and other third sector organisations that wish to regularly account and report on their social, economic and environmental performance and impact. See more, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10601
I’m a fan of Margaret Wheatley – often inspired by her thinking – her website’s worth a look http://www.margaretwheatley.com. In the current Resurgence Mag, she and a colleague write about leadership – argue that we need to abandon our reliance on the ‘leader as hero’ and invite in the ‘leader as host’. "Heroic leadership rests on the illusion that someone, somewhere, can be in control. ‘Hosting’ leaders create change by relying on everyone’s creativity, commitment and generosity." Highly recommended. https://senscot.net/?viewid=10598
‘Co-production’ and ‘Social Impact Bonds’ are current buzz words in our sector. Since Edgar Cahn spoke at Senscot’s AGM in 2009, I am an enthusiastic advocate of co-production. We hear that SCDC (Scottish Community Development Centre) is conducting a short piece of research to identify work in Scotland around co-production and community resilience. http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10599 While it’s beyond question that preventing social breakdown is better than fixing it – I remain to be convinced that Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) will prove a functional way of financing this. The SIB model was invented by the English company Social Finance – which devises ways to attract private capital into the Third Sector. SIB is holding a seminar in Glasgow on March 10th. See, http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=10600
This time last year, the bulletin profiled Blantyre Miners Community Resource Centre. At the time, they talked about their plans to become self sustainable by earning enough from lets and leases and earned income to cover their running costs. We’re delighted to hear that one of their initiatives – the Community Cinema – is now up and running. The cinema itself contains 154 retractable seats; a 7×5 metre screen and a 16 speaker digital surround sound system. They have an array of films (all on High Definition Blu-ray discs), some of which are newly released and others are classics remastered.
For more, see http://www.senscot.net/view_prof.php?viewid=10603
From the Karen Armstrong book I’m reading. "The concept of mythology needs explanation because in our modern scientific world it has lost much of its original force. A myth has come to mean something which is simply not true – a fanciful fairytale. But in the pre modern world, the purpose of myth was not to impart factual or historical information. A myth was an attempt to express some of the more elusive aspects of life that cannot easily be expressed in logical, discursive speech. A myth is more than history: it is an attempt to explain the deeper significance of an event. A myth has been well described as something that in some sense happened once – but that also happens all the time. It is about timeless, universal truth."
That’s all for this week. Good luck with your adventures
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