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02 Dec 2016

In October I applied to the DVLA to renew my driving license – informing them that I have been diagnosed with ‘macular degeneration’ (whatever that is); I was instructed to make an appointment at Specsavers for a vision assessment.  The main test involved looking through a visor at a dark screen – ‘follow the red light and press the button when you see a green dot’.  But I’ve always had a degree of red/green colour blindness – couldn’t easily follow the red light; I had to repeat the test – ended a bit despondent about my performance.

            Lately I’ve been imagining life without the car – it comes down to freedom and independence. Household chores come first - then within an hour of my cottage, I have my own selection of favourite places – beaches, woodlands, hilltops, villages – so many happy memories to visit – collected over a lifetime.  I know fine that old age means adjusting to new incapacities and dependencies – but psychologically I don’t yet feel done with driving.

            Last Friday I received notification from the DVLA – ‘from the information we have received you satisfy the medical standards for safe driving’ – YES!! -  and on Tuesday my beautiful new driving license arrived (expiry date 20.12.2019).  I bought my wee Fiat Panda in Dec 2007 – my cheerful companion for nine years; with a new exhaust and rear suspension she passed her MOT on Wednesday.  We’re both a bit ramshackle – but (touch wood) the open road beckons for a few more years.



When in 1959 Fidel Castro marched victorious into Havana, I was 19; all during the ‘60s and ‘70s, the walls of student flats were adorned with posters of Fidel and his compadre, Che Guevara – symbols of the peoples revolution. Without examining the pros and cons of its...Read more

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.

Visit the new website here

The SENs: Friday 2nd December 2016

The theme in our Conference last week, ‘Keep it Local - Strength in numbers’ was about how community-based social enterprises can play a greater role in delivering local services. Participatory Budgeting (PB) is one particularly creative measure that can support this objective. PB is all about ‘community led commissioning’ - and with communities having a direct say during commissioning processes, then money is more likely to go (and stay) locally. PB Partners have received funding from Scottish Govt to run 10 masterclasses on PB - and Senscot is in discussion about co-hosting one of these masterclasses (for SENs/SEN members) early in 2017. So far, 16 communities and 12 Councils have accessed the Govt’s Community Choices Fund to support PB at a local level. More soon.

The ESF Tackling Poverty and Social Inclusion information went live on Scottish Government website this week.  Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty and discrimination are key priorities in the 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) Programme.  The £9.7m Social Economy Development Programme and £18.9m Aspiring Communities are part-funded by ESF and Scottish Government - meaning there is no requirement for applicant organisations to provide match funding. Please note the application, guidance and timeline are not yet available but will be soon - we will keep you posted.

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