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LATEST EVENTS MEMBERS ARCHIVE JOURNALS SERVICES ABOUT

Special Issue, October 09

Civic Soc Initiative Logo Returntostart BULLETIN

Contact us: W: www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk T: 0151 708 9920 E: admin@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk
Welcome
Welcome to this special Civic Society Initiative Bulletin.
This Bulletin is dedicated to the results of the Civic Societies National Convention in Blackpool and the publication of Own the future which summarises the results of the debate over the last few months about the future of the civic society movement. There is also news of a new partnership with the National Trust to provide a free day access offer to civic society members and of the civic society Street pride campaign for 2010. These were both announced in Blackpool along with a stronger partnership with Bluefin Insurance Services. There are also details of a special message to the Blackpool Convention from HRH The Prince of Wales and a video message from Griff Rhys Jones.

The next few weeks will be critical in shaping the final proposals for strengthening the civic society movement and establishing a new national body to champion and support civic societies. As well as providing feedback by email to admin@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk, there are details in this Bulletin of a new internet forum to debate the way forward on the Civic Society Initiative website and of Civic Society Live - a live on-line discussion with Tony Burton between 5 and 6pm on Monday 26 October. We are keen to bring final proposals forward before the end of the year in order that any new arrangements can be established around Easter 2010. It would be helpful, therefore, to have your thoughts, ideas and feedback by Friday 20 November.
Own the future ownthefuture
Own the future is the report of the Civic Society Initiative and presents the results of the extensive debate about the future of the civic society movement since June 2009. It also draws together a set of proposals and issues to move things forward. The results confirm there is a real demand from civic societies to work together as a movement and to establish a new national body which is independent and core funded by civic societies. They show that civic societies want to be more influential, more rooted in their communities and more effective in the way they work. They are proud of the places they champion and they want others to share in their passion and respect what's important. The report also puts the spotlight on some of the reasons why civic societies are not yet achieving their potential and presents some important choices for the future. More detailed data from the on-line survey of civic societies is available on our website.
Own the future includes a summary and a set of proposals for moving forward. There is overwhelming support for a new national body with a very different feel to the Civic Trust. It should be federal and grassroots in its culture and governance. Civic societies want the national body to be independent and recognise the need for its core funding to come from civic societies if this is to be guaranteed. The report proposes that civic societies contribute financially according to the size of their membership and invites views on a range between £1 and £3 per member. £1 per head will not guarantee independence and the national body would be only able to provide only basic services. £3 would provide full independence and meet civic societies' ambition for services and lobbying. The value to members of the new day access pass to National Trust properties is worth up to £14 and members will also benefit from the new insurance arrangements with Bluefin.

There is debate about the priorities for the new national body and more work to do on its governance and set up. There is also debate about whether civic societies are better grouping together more locally than Government regions and the advantages of networking more around issues of common interest.

All the proposals need further discussion. We need to know whether there is agreement around the broad direction of travel and hear views on the proposals before putting a proposition to the movement.

Five issues stand out which would benefit from more input and you are particularly asked for feedback on:

1. Whether the principles of the movement (collective, networked, independent, federal) and a new national body (campaigning, responsive, light footed, grassroots) are sound.
2. The balance of priorities for the work of the new national body between representing the movement, supporting societies and helping societies network together.
3. How civic societies can best network and share experience - including the proposals to build this around clusters of civic societies and thematic issues rather than Government regions.
4. Defining the common thread uniting the civic society movement - founded on the importance of place, pride, identity and community.
5. The balance between securing independence for the movement and funding it through contributions from individual civic societies on a per capita membership basis.

Copies of Own the future can be downloaded from the website at
www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk. If you would like a printed version then please contact Ian Harvey on admin@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk
Civic Societies National ConventionCivicSocietiesNationalConvention
Over 100 delegates contributed to a lively and enjoyable convention in Blackpool last week. This included some fascinating guided tours of Blackpool and an enjoyable reception with the Mayor and entertainment provided by Funny Girls. Elaine Smith from the Blackpool Civic Trust drew the winner of the prize draw for respondents to the survey. John Kemp of Desborough Civic Society will recieve a signed copy of the Griff Rhys Jones book Rivers and a cheque for £250 to donate to a civic society of his choice. The main business of the convention started with a special message from HRH The Prince of Wales and a video presentation by Griff Rhys Jones. These can both be viewed on the website (www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk). We were also welcomed by local MP Gordon Marsden, a former editor of History Today. Delegates debated a series of issues following presentation of the results and conclusions of Own the future by Tony Burton which can viewed here. It was a lively discussion and there was particular debate over the different ways that civic societies might best work together and on how any new national body might be set up and governed. The discussions were recorded by delegates on written templates to feed into the consultation on Own the future.
There was interest and excitement in the new partnerships announced with the National Trust and Bluefin and also the 2010 Street pride campaign. Delegates also made good use of the Ideas and Questions boards enabling them to feed in outside the table discussions and plenary debate. There were displays and exhibition stands from CPRE, English Heritage, Blackpool Civic Trust, Blackpool Council, Planning Inspectorate, Bluefin and others for delegates to view.

The main issues of debate were the role of the new national body, how it should be funded and the best way of civic societies working together. Delegates were able to use an interactive voting system to express their views, with the following results:

How important is the debate about the future of the civic society movement?
  • Very important........................................................78%
  • Quite important.......................................................17%
  • Neutral.....................................................................2%
  • Of little importance....................................................2%
  • Not at all important...................................................1%
    105 votes recorded

What is the civic society movement for?

  • Giving the community a voice...................................34%
  • Local planning watchdog..........................................27%
  • Promoting civic pride...............................................31%
  • Source of local knowledge and history........................9%
    102 votes recorded

What is the biggest challenge to the movement?

  • Threats from developers and government...................26%
  • Lacking a national voice...........................................27%
  • Civic societies being isolated...................................15%
  • Ageing membership............................................... 25%
  • A negative image.....................................................7%
    105 votes recorded

Do you think the new national body should prioritise:

  • National campaigning and lobbying exclusively........ 13%
  • Supporting civic societies exclusively........................17%
  • National campaigning and lobbying over supporting civic societies ........................................24%
  • Supporting civic societies over national campaigning and lobbying .......................................38%
  • Something else........................................................8%
    99 votes recorded

How important is it that the new national body is financially independent by being funded by civic societies for its core work?

  • Very important .......................................................45%
  • Quite important.......................................................35%
  • Neutral...................................................................14%
  • Of little importance....................................................3%
  • Not at all important...................................................2%
    93 votes recorded

Which is the most effective way for civic societies to group together?

  • When we get together at a county or groups of counties level........................................................................31%
  • When we get together at the level of Government regions...................................................... ............24%
  • When we network on issuesof common interest.........44%
    83 votes recorded

Do you think your society will need to change the way it works as a result of this report?

  • A lot .....................................................................15%
  • A little....................................................................36%
  • Neutral...................................................................18%
  • Not much...............................................................16%
  • Not at all..............................................................14% 85 votes recorded

Do you agree with the broad conclusions of the report?

  • Strongly agree........................................................10%
  • Agree.....................................................................38%
  • Undecided..............................................................43%
  • Disagree..................................................................6%
  • Strongly disagree......................................................2%
    86 votes recorded

Did you enjoy the convention?

  • A lot......................................................................64%
  • A little....................................................................28%
  • Neutral.....................................................................4%
  • Not much.................................................................3%
  • Not at all..................................................................1%
    100 votes recorded

These results are not conclusive or representative and simply reflect the broad views of the range of delegates able to be present at the Convention. Delegates had received a presentation on Own the future but not had a chance to read it in full before voting.

We are very grateful to Blackpool Civic Trust, Blackpool Council and Bluefin Insurance Services for supporting the Civic Societies National Convention and to the Office for Public Management for its able facilitation. The Convention included delegates from English Heritage, Heritage Link, CPRE, Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages, Blackpool Council and the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society as well as civic societies from all across the country


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National Trust - free access offer!
NationalTrust
Tony Burton announced the outline of an exciting new partnership being developed with the National Trust as part of his presentation at Blackpool. This will provide members of civic societies registering with the new national body with the offer of a free day access pass to almost any National Trust property. This is worth £6.60 on average and up to £14 - which compares well with the registration fee of up to £3 a member being envisaged in Own the future. The details of the arrangements are being worked out. The offer will need to be provided to members as part of a wider communication in a magazine, newsletter or electronic bulletin. Any pass is likely to be transferable and so can be used by a friend if people are already members of the National Trust. Civic societies are likely to have to charge a minimum membership fee (probably £5) to be eligible for the National Trust offer to their members
Street pride campaign for 2010 StreetPride
Tony Burton also announced details of the new civic society Street pride campaign for 2010. This follows the intense interest from civic societies across the country during the recent debate on the future of the movement. The campaign will promote the importance of civilised streets and public spaces and highlight the damage being cause by poor pavements and intrusive, poorly designed and unnecessary signs, posts, bollards, guardrails. Among other things the campaign will include a toolkit for civic societies and others to identify streets which need action to remove clutter and a number of campaign workshops around the country. The campaign builds on the work already being done by civic societies in Stamford, Salisbury, Oxford and elsewhere and complements the work of the charity, Living Streets. We are being supported by English Heritage in this campaign.

If you want to sign up or just keep in touch then email
streetpride@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk and there is more information on the website www.streetpride.org.uk
Bluefin partnershipbluefin
Completing a trio of Blackpool announcements Tony Burton also gave details of the improved cover which has been negotiated with Bluefin for civic societies to insure their activities from April 2010 and exciting new services which are being made available to all registered civic society members, with financial benefits for the civic societies who participate.

The existing cover provided by Bluefin for civic societies is unaffected by the loss of the Civic Trust. From April 2010 there will be a new cheaper "light" insurance package on offer to those societies who only undertake meetings and guided walks and an enhanced cover at a better rate has been negotiated for other civic societies.

In an important new move we are able to extend these services to civic society members, starting initially with health insurance and extending this to home, motor, pet and travel insurance shortly. Civic societies will need to promote these services to their members and will receive a financial benefit for each policy that is taken out. In this way each civic society member will be able to support civic societies through their insurance arrangements as well as through membership, donations and gift aid.

Further details are available on the website. This includes summaries of the different insurance cover available to civic societies and a link to the new website providing information on personal health insurance.

We will be providing draft text for newsletters and websites for civic societies to introduce the new insurance services to their members very shortly. Remember, each policy taken out will directly benefit your civic society financially as well as the Civic Society Initiative or the new national body once established.

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Join the discussion forum Jointhediscussioforum
A new discussion forum has been set up on the Civic Society Initiative website at www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk as part of the consultation on Own the future and to provide the facility for civic society members to raise and debate issues online.
Registration takes a few seconds so why not post a discussion topic or respond to the issues already being raised?

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Participate in Civic Society Live CivicSocietyLive

In a new innovation the Civic Society Initiative will be running an online discussion with Tony Burton about Own the future and the way forward for the civic society movement. This will run from 5pm to 6pm on Monday 26 October using the discussion forum above. It will provide an opportunity to put questions to and raise issues with Tony and respond to others views. We hope you can join us in this trial.

In This Issue
Welcome
Own the future
Civic Societies National Convention
National Trust - free access offer
Street pride campaign
Bluefin partnership
Join the discussion forum
Participate in Civic Society Live

My Computer Services

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Jack Poulton & Sons Ltd

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SJS Plumbing & Heating

S P Saban

Touch Of Glamour

Traceys Travel

A Cut Above

Attend2health

B&M Installations

Bowtell Electrical Contractors

Buntingford Karate Club

Buntingford Mowers

Cameo Kitchens