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LATEST EVENTS MEMBERS ARCHIVE JOURNALS SERVICES ABOUT
Issue 3, June 2010
Civic Voice - talking civic sense

your voice

www.civicvoice.org.uk | 0151 708 9920 | info@civicvoice.org.uk | @civic_voice

Welcome

Welcome to this third issue of your voice with exciting news about a Civic Day in 2011, our first AGM, a President for Civic Voice and awards for your newsletters and websites

What you can do

your voice includes a number of suggestions for things you can do. These are summarised in the checklist of actions below:

  • Put 25th June 2011 in your diary as Civic Day and plan an activity which promotes your area, showcases your work and attracts new support to your civic society
  • Register for Civic Voice's first AGM on 8 & 9 October 2010 in Peterborough
  • Enter your website or newsletter into Civic Voice's awards
  • Look at the opportunities to volunteer for Civic Voice
  • Join Civic Voice Live on 29 June to discuss priorities for planning reform with Tony Burton

In this issue

Make a date for "Civic Day"

Saturday June 25th 2011 has been identified as Civic Day - marking the centrepiece of a new initiative for civic societies to celebrate their area and promote their role.

The idea of Civic Day builds on similar initiatives by different civic societies and many suggestions that Civic Voice gives these a boost. The proposals stimulated a lot of debate and positive feedback on the discussion forum during the first Civic Voice Live. View the discussion here.

Civic Day is a point in the calendar where all civic societies are being encouraged to put on an event or activity which celebrates their area and encourages more people to join or get involved. It is for every civic society to decide how best to showcase their activities. Civic Voice's role will be to raise the profile, share ideas, support civic societies with information and materials and seek sponsorship. We will also be exploring the potential for a theme which groups might pick up, such as a focus on young citizens given the overwhelming desire from civic societies during last year's discussions to see more activity working with young people.

One of the most successful exisiting initiatives is Civic Societies Week in Yorkshire and Humber which is now in its third year. You can read more about Civic Societies Week here

A small group of volunteers led by trustees Freddie Gick and Paul Myers has been set up to develop and deliver Civic Day in 2011. Let them have your thoughts and ideas via info@civicvoice.org.uk and start planning what you can do to celebrate Civic Day now. Alternatively post your comments to the discussion forum for others to see here.

More information about Civic Day will be made available soon on the website here, including a briefing addressing a number of the questions being asked.

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AGM - 8 & 9 October - Peterborough

Civic Voice's first AGM will be held in Peterborough on 9 October, preceded on the 8th by an afternoon of visits and an evening reception and cultural event. The event is being hosted by Peterborough Civic Society. All Civic Voice members are entitled to attend.

The full programme is being finalised and is expected to include a visit to the country's first Conservation Area in Stamford as well as a Mayor's reception and an opportunity to meet Civic Voice's Chair, Paula Ridley. We would welcome your thoughts and suggestions for making the event a success. The cost will be £20 per head and delegates will need to arrange their own accommodation. There is no charge for attending the AGM business. The venue is the Great Northern Hotel, opposite Peterborough Railway Station.

Book your place and find out more information here

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Griff for President

We are delighted to announce that Griff Rhys Jones has accepted the Board's invitation to become President of Civic Voice. Griff's commitment to the civic movement is second to none and he is an ideal ambassador to help raise our profile and influence. We will be making a public announcement in late July. The latest Board minutes can be read here

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Civic Voice awards for the best website and newsletter

Civic society websites and newsletters are the most important ways we communicate our cause. A good newsletter is indispensable in retaining and recruiting members and volunteers and it reflects the activity and ambition of your group. The best websites are not only a source of information but also a place where interactive discussions take place and information is shared and publicised.
We are pleased to announce Civic Voice's first awards for the best website and newsletter - these are being supported by the specialist communications agency Forster.
Are you proud of your civic society's website or newsletter? Do you want it to have the recognition it deserves? Then nominate it before the end of August for Civic Voice's first awards. The best nominations will go to a popular vote among civic society members and volunteers with the results announced at the October AGM.
Download your nomination form(s) here

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Don't blink - Civic Voice membership reaches 250

No sooner have we celebrated 200 than our 250thmember joins. Civic Voice is getting stronger by the day as a result of your support and we now have civic societies with over 61,000 members between them. This growth is vital if we are to build the sustainable and financially independent organisation which the civic movement has called for.

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Civic Voice Live - 29 June

The second live discussion will be held on Civic Voice's on-line Forum at 1pm on Tuesday 29 June for one hour. Join the Forum and discuss with Tony Burton and other civic society volunteers the priorities for Civic Voice's campaign on the planning system. A radical overhaul of planning laws and policies is promised by the Coalition Government - where should Civic Voice focus its effort? And don't forget to vote in Civic Voice's poll on priorities for planning reform at www.civicvoice.org.uk

Please join us on 29 June - it only takes a minute to register to share your views if you follow these instructions

  1. On www.civicvoice.org.uk click Join Forum (foot of page)
  2. Click Register (top of page)
  3. Fill in the member registration
  4. You will be sent an email (to the email address you registered with) containing a link to activate your account.
  5. Click the link and your account will be activated
  6. You can now participate in the discussion

You can register for the forum here

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Volunteer for Civic Voice

Civic Voice is run on a shoestring of just two staff and depends on volunteer support to be effective. We have received a number of enquiries from people wanting to know how to volunteer. The following opportunities are available with more information on the website here

  1. Office support
  2. Website
  3. Policy analysis
  4. Campaign networks
  5. Planning reform
  6. Photographs

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How Civic Voice campaigns

We have received a number of offers to help Civic Voice campaign and questions about how we go about it. These are early days and we want to hear more from you about what works best but three approaches are already becoming apparent.

National-local campaigns- These are the campaigns where local actions can be added together to make a big national impact. Two current examples are Street Pride and Love Local. Here the surveys and information provided by local civic societies and others can not only be used locally but also brought together to influence national debate. These campaigns are quite demanding on time and resources and so there are only likely to be a few running at any one time.

Campaign networks- Civic Voice's principle strength lies in the knowledge and experience of volunteers across the country and their commitment to making places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. With a small staff and limited resources we can only begin to do justice to the myriad issues of interest to the civic movement through volunteer commitment. Where there is a volunteer willing to lead on an issue and support a network of others who share their interest then we will be able to do much more. The staff can raise issues through bulletins and handle some of the communications and lobbying but we have far more volunteer resources than staff. The range of issues falling into this category is seemingly endless - already there is interest in coastal towns, blue plaques, core cities, high speed rail, development by canals, heritage towns, billboard advertising, licensing and the night time economy, local listing, conservation areas and the lack of local authority conservation staff to name but a few. To tackle all this we will need more volunteer support and people coming forward to take the lead.

Lobbying- Many campaigns have a focus on changing the law or influencing policy or spending decisions. These will be most successful where Civic Voice has a clear evidence base for the case we are making. The best evidence is the day to day experience of civic societies in knowing what works and what doesn't and we need case studies and examples to support our cause. Tony Burton is meeting Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman; Transport Minister, Norman Baker; Planning Minister, Bob Neill and Civil Society Minister, Nick Hurd. With your evidence and example he can put your case direct to those in power.

We are also looking for volunteers to help inform Civic Voice's responses to Government and other consultations and inquiries. Current lobbying priorities include reforms to the planning system, street clutter, local democracy and High Speed Rail.

If you want to find out more or put yourself forward to support Civic Voice's campaigns then let us know on info@civicvoice.org.uk. We're also keen to know what you think we should prioritise, remembering we can only work on as many issues as we have volunteers and staff to support.

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Website resources

Civic Voice's website is growing and there's lots of useful material to help strengthen civic societies. Click on the headline below to access this material and tell us what else you think would be helpful

Look for volunteers?

How to raise funds?

Need a photo?

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The future of membership

NCVO has teamed up with the RSA and a wide range of voluntary organisations to examine the ins and outs of membership. Their report makes for fascinating reading, exploring how the reasons why people join organisations are changing and ideas for what might be done in response. Why join when so much information is now available free? How can I not only join but also participate in any group that has me as a member? If people give time then can they be expected to give money? Is signing up to an online network the same as joining an organisation? These and other questions are growing in importance.

Read the report here

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Join Civic Voice

Why not join the fastest growing movement in England making the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. Only through a growing membership can Civic Voice become independent: supported by the civic movement, for the civic movement.

As well as signing up your local group why not become an individual member - it's just £10.

Join here

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Oxford Love's Local

Oxford Civic Society has used the Love Local survey to gather the views of over 400 members. As well as providing information about what they care about in Oxford, it provides a useful steer to shape the Civic Society's campaign priorities for the future.

What have you done with the Love Local survey? We know some groups including the City of Winchester Trust have contacted their new MP to encourage them to fill in the survey. Download a copy here and send it to your MP or use the online survey here to submit your own thoughts. Don't forget to return completed copies to Civic Voice at info@civicvoice.org.uk so we can build a national picture.

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Have a Big Lunch

The Big Lunch, an Eden Project initiative, is inviting people to sit down and have lunch with their neighbours, in the middle of the street on Sunday 18th July. Last year730,000 people ate at 8,000 Lunches all across the UK - the biggest set of street parties since the Golden Jubilee. It's easy to get involved - for free Big Lunch, tips, inspiration and resources visit www.thebiglunch.com, have a chat with the team on 0845 850 8181 or email info@thebiglunch.com

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Free trees

An explosion of interest in tree planting is expected over the next few years with a new Government campaign and extra resources. The time is ripe to look around your area and identify where would benefit. To get things going the Woodland Trust is giving away free tree packs to community groups - first come first served.

Find out more here

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Case studies

Developing a local list

Peterborough Civic Society and Peterborough City Council are working together to prepare a revised list of Buildings of Local Importance (BLI) for the district. Local lists are becoming more important and emerging as a lobbying priority for Civic Voice. English Heritage is also preparing new guidelines. What can we do to raise their profile?

read more here

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Membership drives

Read how Marple Civic Society more than doubled it membership by using the Electoral Register and personal invitations to join

read more here

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Engaging with a younger audience

Many civic societies would like to engage in projects that reach a younger audience. Buntingford Civic Society is one with projects underway.

read more here

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Forthcoming events

Street Pride Workshop - London 19th June

High Speed Rail 2 Workshop - Aylesbury - 25th June

Street Pride Workshop - London 26th June

Civic Voice Live - 29 June

Civic Voice AGM - 8/9 October




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