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Issue 5, October 2010
Civic Voice - talking civic sense

your voice

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


Welcome to this special fifth issue of your voice with news of our first AGM and the gathering of civic societies in Peterborough. There is also news of a fresh programme of workshops and the awards for the best civic society newsletter and website. For those unable to attend you can join Tony Burton online with a Civic Voice Live this Thursday.

In this issue

Peterborough gathering

Over 120 volunteers came together in Peterborough over the weekend for an exciting programme of events and Civic Voice's first AGM in Peterborough. The "locally listed" Great Northern Hotel made for an interesting venue as it is subject to a lively conservation debate over its own future.

Everyone enjoyed a fascinating series of tours around Peterborough, its centre and the cathedral as well as a coach trip to the country's first conservation area in Stamford. The Mayor's reception in the fine surrounding of Peterborough Town Hall was memorable not least for the number and volume of enthusiastic conversations between civic volunteers meeting each other from across England. A high point was the entertainment and insight provided by a special event put on by Peterborough's Poets Laureate for the civic movement. Civic Voice Chair Paula Ridley was also honoured to recieve a specially engraved crystal bowl from the Mayor commemorating the first convention.

The whole event was superbly hosted by Peterborough Civic Society with assistance from Stamford Civic Society. We are most grateful to Peterborough City Council and Opportunity Peterborough for their support in making it such a success,

Photographs from the event are available on the Civic Voice website here and on our Flickr page here

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Paula's call to action

Paula Ridley took the opportunity of her first AGM as Chair to send a compelling message to the civic movement about the opportunities it now has to make a difference locally and nationally. "Change is in the air, as local communities take more control over their own future and the civic movement is part of this. We want to play a revitalised role in promoting civic pride and making the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive". Citing the largest ever planning application which has just been submitted in Liverpool and which threatens the historic docks she cautioned vigilance while taking full advantage of the new focus on localism and community action. Tony Burton highlighted the influence and profile Civic Voice has established in its first 6 months - putting civic societies centre stage in debates ranging from street clutter to the future of the planning system. He called on local groups to provide the stories and examples which can influence national policy and flagged the future planning reforms as a key target.

See a copy of Tony Burton's presentation here

Read a copy of Civic Voice's press release on the AGM and Convention here

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Together we're stronger

The Convention heard presentations from civic societies in Marple, Peterborough, Hale, Cambridge, Manchester and Bristol about what they have been doing to raise their profile, attract members and make a difference. Clever use of the electoral register has dramatically boosted membership in Marple while Hale's youth wing - the Jabberwocks - now numbers 170. Street clutter and local listing have been a focus for effective campaigns in Cambridge and Peterborough while Manchester has support from over 80 businesses. Bristol's membership growth is down to a clear plan of action. The session provoked a lively discussion about how best to share and exchange good ideas to strengthen the civic movement as a whole. Delegates also went away with lots of ideas for what they could do on Civic Day on 25 June 2011 to raise awareness and get more people involved. If you would like more information on Civic Day, click here where you can also download a document giving you ideas for Civic Day 2011. Do also also use the form provided to send us your expressions of interest.

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Brighton and Cambridge take the honours

The first Civic Voice Awards for best website and newsletter provided a stiff competition with nearly 20 entries in each category. After a vote among civic volunteers to provide two shortlists, Brighton saw off Ripon and Wakefield for the website award. Brighton was commended for the easy on the eye design, regular news updates, clear navigation, concise writing and its use of social media. In a closely fought contest Cambridge took the honours over Birmingham and Wakefield in the competition for best newsletter. It was praised for the variety of interesting articles, strong masthead and the use of personal stories. Both Brighton and Cambridge also provided easy ways for people to get involved and encouraged feedback.

You can see Brighton Society's website here and view Cambridge Past Present and Future's newsletter here

Effective communication is vital to the future of all civic societies and so we have teamed up with communications agency Forster to provide ten top tips on good communications.

Download the new communication tips here

We are grateful to Forster for its support and for the final judging in the competition.

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New workshops

An exciting new programme of eleven workshops has been organised by Civic Voice at venues across the country. The programme includes events on:

Street Pride - clearing the clutter and effective campaigning

Introduction to the planning system - with Planning Aid

Understanding places - urban design for civic societies - with architecture and built environment centres in the Midlands and North West

Civic Day - making it a success

Find out more information here and register your interest with ian.harvey@civicvoice.org.uk

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Marsh Awards

Paula Ridley announced two new awards being supported by the Marsh Christian Trust to recognise the outstanding contribution made by a volunteer and a civic society each year. The Marsh Awards have a prestigious track record, working with bodies ranging from the Natural History Museum to the National Trust, and nominations for the new Marsh Civic Volunteer Award and Marsh Civic Award for Civic Societies will open at Easter 2011 with a view to being presented at the 2011 AGM in the autumn.

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Civic Voice Live

For everyone who couldn't make the AGM and Convention there will be another Civic Voice Live on the discussion forum for an hour from 12.30 on Thursday 14 October. Use this opportunity to debate civic issues with Civic Voice Director Tony Burton and other civic volunteers. What are the campaign priorities for the civic movement? How can civic societies share ideas on membership, volunteer recruitment, websites and initiatives? What can Civic Voice do to help your civic society more?

Please join Tony on Thursday 14 October - 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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AGM business

The AGM formally ratified Paula Ridley as Chair and Martin Meredith as Treasurer of Civic Voice and appointed independent examiners for the accounts.

Interim accounts for Civic Voice to September can be seen here

A copy of the Treasurer's presentation can be viewed here

The AGM minutes will be posted shortly here

We are expecting Civic Voice's second AGM to be held in October 2011.

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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. 258 groups have joined in our first six months - join them. 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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