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This archive of Senscot Bulletins goes back to Jan 2003 - when the present format was adopted. There are 50 for each year - with a two week gap over xmas/new year.

You can browse or search full bulletins - the intros or the end bits.

If you have not already done so you can subscribe to the bulletin here.


Dear members and friends,

            I suffer from a recurring urge to give myself a hard time; lately I’ve been feeling stupid and clumsy and increasingly despondent; it’s time to snap out of it so I’m down on the Costa del Sol for 10 days wilful pampering. It’s off-season – many of my usual haunts are closed – but have found internet deal for Gran Hotel Elba, Estepona – out of the way – but 5 star service for 4 star prices. My deal includes a room on the beach – with balcony facing the med. Eastward, the sun rises around 7.30; westward, the Rock of Gibraltar; the timeless soothing wash of surf. Everything around me is clean and cared for; the breakfast buffet would win prizes (14 types of fresh fruit); and most pleasing of all – the skeleton winter staff have beautiful manners and smiles - and so far service includes daily sunshine.
           In case I felt stranded, I hired a wee car but reading, scribbling and strolling the water’s edge keeps me close to basecamp. On the beach west of here – no one wears any clothes! (there should be a sign!). So I trudge east for 20 minutes – to a wee snack bar run by gorgeous young Gloria. She must have a granddad she loves – she treats me so kindly.
           The economy here is suffering – Gloria doesn’t do much business – but this remote backwater was just right for me this week. I feel slower and calmer – sleeping better and longer; beginning to catch glimpses again of that peace – beyond fear and hope – which old people reach for.        


 Very early in the life of Senscot – our board made an inspired decision, that we would never get big; that new ventures would be floated as autonomous organisations. Over the years, this non-competitive approach has enabled several fruitful collaborations across our sector. Our present involvement is with the Scottish Community Re:Investment Trust (SCRT) which has just been incorporated as a member-led SCIO – see exec summary of SCRT’s Information Memorandum. SCRT’s mission is to advance the financial maturity of Scotland’s third sector – by harnessing our substantial reserves – and supporting financial products consistent with the needs and values of our work. The Scottish Government has recognised this development with an award of £35k – which we now seek to match with contributions from third sector organisations. It’s all explained here. See,


 My Spanish trip was 'spur of the moment' - gutted to be missing Radical Independence Campaign event in Glasgow on Saturday – a sell-out – 3,000 tickets sold - this flyer of timetable and speakers is mighty impressive - testimony to the buoyancy of Scotland’s radical counterculture. Much of this activity goes unreported, because our media is owned by the tiny elite who own everything else - and for whom engaged democracy is scary. See,


Very occasionally the 'establishment' makes a mistake - appoints an 'outsider' to a committee of the great and good - who 'spills the beans'. This seems to have been the case with Liam Black and NESTA. You may recall that intrepid Tania Mason at Civil Society exposed the UK Govt's dodgy shenanigans in the funding of Big Society Network. For some reason Geoff Mulgan (who wasn’t there at the time) decided to say that 'nothing happened' - so Liam Black wrote this column saying 'yes it did'.



Last year, Community Shares Scotland ( ) was launched – offering advice and guidance to those community organisations looking to undertake community share issues as well as direct support to existing ones. It followed on from a similar (sister) scheme in England – the Community Shares Unit – set up a couple of years ago. A report this week from NESTA – Understanding Alternative Finance – indicates a four-fold increase in investment in community shares in the last two years – from£9m in 2012 – to £34m in 2014. See more,


Looking for an original Xmas pressie? Why not purchase one (or both!) of Laurence’s musings for that ‘difficult’ friend. Each book - ‘You’ve Got to Laugh’ (2001- 2006): and ‘Kindness’ (2007 – 2012) – is available at £10 + £2 postage. If you buy both, we’ll cover postage. To order, contact


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Victim Support Scotland, Scottish Huntingdon's Association, Freespace, SCARF, Greener Leith, Hillcrest Housing Association, Citizens Advice Scotland, Remade in Edinburgh
EVENTS: Pre-Start Leadership, 4 Dec; Engaging Communities on Energy and Climate Change, 9 Dec; Cinderella at Ecole Enterprise, 10 Dec; Social Impact Measurement, 11 Dec;
TENDERS: Supply of a Welcome to Fife Website, Fife Council; Employability Fund 2015-16, Skills Development Scotland; Youth Counselling in Schools West Dunbartonshire, Aberdeenshire Council; Homelessness Support Service, North Ayrshire Council;


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) has now produced its second Impact Report on Scotland’s 32 Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs). TSIs have four primary functions: Developing volunteering; Supporting and developing voluntary and community organisations; Building the third sector relationship with Community Planning and Supporting social enterprise. The Report, in particular, highlights challenges faced by TSIs in being seen as equal partners within the community planning process. For many within the SE community, challenges also remain in ensuring TSIs are able to provide informed and consistent support via their ‘Supporting social enterprise’ function. As last week’s SE Conference and Ceilidh showed and the current consultation on a SE Strategy for Scotland is also showing, many SEs feel this issue remains to be resolved. See,  For more SENs News, see


 We’ll have our SE Conference and Ceilidh report soon – still collating feedback etc. In the meantime, if you are not part of the twitteratti, you can see comments etc here, Storify 


Last week’s story on research carried out down south by Ipsos Mori prompted a reader to inform us of Ipsos Mori’s employment practices. Our reader worked for them for a number of years. He writes: “You often cite Ipsos MORI research, and you might be interested in publicising this petition that has been started by Ipsos MORI field staff like me who are fed up of being treated as 'casual workers' and given no rights as employees despite often working for decades for the company. A recent Industrial Tribunal Appeal found in favour of the employees, but Ipsos MORI has yet to take this into account and still treats staff as disposable, with no compensation. I think this is despicable, and I hope you agree”. Here's the petition:


 Senscot, sportscotland and the Sports Marketing Network are supporting a one-day event on 4th Dec 2014 at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh entitled ‘Enterprise and Collaboration – the way forward for community sport in Scotland’. The Conference will focus on how Scotland's community sports providers can benefit both themselves and their communities by developing and delivering innovative and enterprising programmes. Around 100 folk have signed up already. Discounted rate available for Sport SEN members @ £50pp. See,


 This week’s bulletin profiles a social enterprise in the town of Tain that helps young people with additional needs from across the Easter Ross and Sutherland area gain work experience and life skills. Made in Tain sells cosmetics and crafts, handmade by local young people, and  celebrated its 2nd birthday last week. Started in 2011 as a soap making enterprise at a local school, Made in Tain soon won an award through the Social Enterprise Academy’s Social Enterprise in Schools initiative. It has now grown into a successful social enterprise - employing three full-time staff; eight volunteers; has its own premises in the town; and a legacy of supporting over 28 young people in building confidence and employability skills. For more, see


I live on the edge of hundreds of acres of wild woodland - from my window I frequently see people arrive - alone or with a dog - to lose themselves for a while in the trees - for me too it is essentially a solitary experience - the spirit of which Mary Oliver captures in this poem, “How I go to the Woods”.

“Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

That’s all for this week.

Best wishes, 


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