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19 Aug 2016



            I’m an admirer of Richard Holloway (former bishop) who, as writer and commentator illuminates the Scottish firmament on subjects social, artistic, religious etc; I’m enjoying his latest book – ‘a little history of religion’. I already know – from the intelligent interviews he conducts on Sunday mornings (Radio Scotland) – that I am comfortable with his brand of tolerant agnosticism.  Like him I am a former Christian, without rancour – as long as you don’t bother others – what you believe is your business.

            In more or less chronological order – travelling across the globe and millennia – Holloway’s book charts the growth and decline of the major religious traditions; in a remarkably even handed way – he is just as authoritative on Islam as Anglicanism. It struck me as a text aimed at senior school students – which irked until I realised that was exactly what I wanted: a sweep, in 240 pages, across all the religions I know so little about – and how they are linked. (I now know the difference between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim?)

            Throughout his wee book, Holloway maintains a parallel search in which I have particular interest: what is it in the human psyche which makes us hanker after religion in the first place. Of an evening, I often ‘surprise a hunger in myself to be more serious’; this feels like a need for harmony – for sanctuary – for a grandeur beyond normal human experience. I suspect that this is an innate longing – part of our humanity – and that simply removing religion from our lives doesn’t end it. 

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The SENs is the name Senscot gives to our work with Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) - both thematic and geographical. SENs provide members with opportunities for peer support, collective action and market development. The vision is of a growing community of 500 frontline social enterprises across Scotland - connected and energised through a network of Networks.


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The SENs: Friday 19th August 2016

For the last 11 years, Senscot has hosted a SE Conference and Ceilidh in November of each year. The first event took place at New Lanark in 2005 and eventually moved to the Westerwood in Cumbernauld in 2013 – in an effort to accommodate more folk. The primary objective of the Conference and Ceilidh has always been to bring together grassroots social enterprises to make connections with each other and share their respective stories – and, importantly, include a strong social element. The time has come, in our view, to refresh things. We still intend holding a national event in November but this time in collaboration with others – Community Enterprise; Social Firms Scotland; and the Scottish Community Alliance. We`ll have more details over the coming weeks.

The revised Social Enterprise Health & Wellbeing Roundtable met for the first time on Wednesday, with members connecting via VC from both Edinburgh & Glasgow. With strategic updates provided on all three of the priority issues (SDS; H&SC Integration; and Food Poverty) from Scottish Govt and Community Food Health Scotland, there followed some challenging discussion and the identification of key actions to address issues currently being experienced amongst SEN members. See Draft Note of Meeting - plus final SEHWRT Position Paper agreed by the Roundtable.

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