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24 Feb 2017

It has always been important to me to have ‘favourite’ restaurants – where I become a ‘kent face’ – usually eating alone, but part of the social world – like ‘neighbourhoods’.  The food has to be taken seriously; the rooms clean and warm – good light; the morale of the staff is important – professionally courteous but also cheerful because they’re respected; finally, the interaction of customers with all this, imparts a unique ‘ambience’ (or not).  Saturday lunchtime finds me in a current ‘howf’ – a child friendly ‘farm deli and café’ outside Edinburgh – looking over the Forth estuary.

            Someone I know called Clare arrives with her two, nursery age, wee boys – I used to work with her partner Andy; tables are scarce – invite them to mine – she looks unwell.  The corner is set-up with toys – kids straight over.  Then Clare is eating her soup – telling me she is receiving chemotherapy for a tumour – very matter of fact – how the scans and stats indicate excellent chance of remission.  She acknowledges her fear and I feel admiration for her courage/stoicism.  From the ephemera of my weekend Guardian to the reality of life and death.

            Then Clare goes to the loo to take some medication – could I keep an eye on the kids.  They’ve discovered a sand tray – peacefully occupied - not going anywhere – arrived already.  Clouds clear – sunlight on the windows – on our table – in my face.  In his book ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ Haruki Murakami says “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.  I reflect on the truth of this.



Senscot’s annual invitation for financial donations from readers wishing to contribute to the cost of producing this bulletin is nearing its end – last couple of weeks! 95...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.

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The SENs: Friday 24th February 2017

One of the success stories in our sector, in recent years, has been the impact of the Community Jobs Scotland programme (CJS). At the Gathering this week, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced a new round of funding – with a further £6.1m being pledged to help create 700 new job opportunities for young people between the ages of 16 - 29. Since it started 6 years ago, CJS, managed by SCVO, has help thousands of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds find employment. Many SEN members have participated in the programme – offering both placements as well as employment opportunities to scores of youngsters – providing mutual benefits both to individual young people involved as well as to local social enterprises and communities across Scotland. See Nicola Sturgeon’s full speech.


Still at the Gathering - Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance announced a £1.9m investment (over three years) in community-based organisations to tackle poverty and mitigate UK Govt welfare changes. The investment follows successful ‘pilots’ run by SCVO, DTA Scotland and the Scottish Community Alliance (SCA) – where the focus has been on directing funds at the most local level – to grass-root groups that struggle to find the small amounts that can make all the difference on the ground.


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