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LATEST EVENTS MEMBERS ARCHIVE JOURNALS SERVICES ABOUT

Issue 4, November 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 the fourth Civic Society Initiative Bulletin.
This edition is packed with news and information, including a reminder to ensure you contribute your thoughts to Own the future and participate in the next Civic Society Live. There are responses to the many questions being raised following publication of Own the future.
In response to some of the issues raised at the open forums we have included some ideas on how to raise funds for your society including information on the BT Community Connections Fund and the Biffaward programme. As well as traditional methods of fundraising it is important that you are aware of other methods to increase income, such as allowing people to donate online and ensuring your group is registered for Gift Aid if you are a charity. We also alert you to the surprisingly low number of civic societies that have applied for HLF funding.
During the Open Forums civic societies asked for more examples of what other civic societies are doing so this month we bring news of projects being undertaken by civic societies around the country, including work by Peterborough Civic Society in developing a local list, Lytham St Annes Civic Society highlighting climate change, Withington Civic Society hosting a meeting to discuss "studentification" and read why Cambridge Preservation Society has decided a change of name is best for the future. We also highlight the Street Pride campaign that a number of you have already signed up for. Several of you have also sent us detailed information on your work, including the Clifton and Hotwells Society and the Otford Society.
Being able to network, meet and talk to other civic societies also came out loud and clear during the Open Forums. As such we are asking you to tell us if you are involved in exchange visits with other civic societies as we want to create a one-stop shop for societies who are looking at somewhere to go next year. We have also created the Civic Society discussion forum on the website so you can talk and raise issues with others.
Civic societies made numerous suggestions about improveing the profile of the movement and wanted templates for building websites - although we are not in a position to develop a website for each society we do want to draw your attention to the Community Website Builder, a free website that will allow your civic society to get a presence online for free!
As ever, we would love to hear your feedback about the issues in this newsletter.
Own the future - your feedback counts ownthefuture
Own the future is the result of the largest survey yet undertaken of the civic society movement. It presents the conclusions of an extensive debate about the future of the civic society movement and draws together a set of proposals and issues to move things forward. The results show a real demand from civic societies to work together as a movement. 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.

Own the future includes a number of proposals for the way forward on the basis of the discussion and the information that has been gathered. These include proposals for how civic societies might work most effectively together, the role of a new national body and funding arrangements. The proposals need further debate and your thoughts and reactions on any part of the report would be extremely welcome. It would be particularly helpful to have your feedback on five issues identified in the report:

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.

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 feedback by Friday 20 November to admin@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk . We hope that you might discuss the report and these key issues with others in your society and put it on your society's agenda. We are aware of a number of some societies planning special meetings to discuss this report.

If you would like a printed copy of Own the future for you or your colleagues then please let Ian Harvey know by email (admin@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk) or phone (0151 708 9920)
Join the Civic Society ForumJointheforum
A discussion forum is an online tool to allow you to connect with other civic society members, share concerns, ask a question and talk to each other on matters of interest. A virtual discussion forum removes all geographic barriers to participation. and
has many other benefits, not least
  • Flexibility and convenience to post a question when you want
  • Archiving of discussion threads to allow you to access other discussions when you want
  • All you need is an email address
  • More democratic nature as you can decide what is discussed
  • Geography is not a barrier to participation and so it allows you to get in touch with other civic society members with similar issues

Visit the forum here
Civic Society LiveCivicSocietyLive
Join other civic society volunteers in an online discussion of the way forward for the civic society movement. Tony Burton, Director of the Civic Society Initiative, will be hosting the second Civic Society Live session on the discussion forum between 8 and 9pm on November 17 to debate and answer questions about Own the future and the way forward.

If you haven't used a discussion forum before then it simply takes a minute to get yourself registered and participating. Just follow these four simple steps:

1. Visit
www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk and click on "Join the discussion forum" (top left)
2. Click on "create new account" (bottom right) and complete the simple registration process
3. Click on General Board and then Civic Society Live Tuesday 17 November 8 - 9pm to see the discussion
4. Click reply to respond to what someone has posted or to raise an issue
5. Click on the page number (top left) to flip between pages to view all discussion text

You can come back time and again to the discussion forum and post comments and feed back on others even when Civic Society Live is finished.
If you are not available to participate please leave a post beforehand or email your question to
ian.harvey@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk and we will respond accordingly.
Own the future - addressing some of your questionsCivicSocietyLive
Since the publication of Own the future we have been responding to questions from civic societies across England. The main questions coming forward and our responses are summarised below, to help inform discussions you may be having.
You are asking civic societies to contribute more financially - what tangible benefits will they get?


The benefits of an effective national body are that your local civic society will be stronger because:

  • you will have a voice lobbying and campaigning on the national policies and issues that you can't change locally and raising the media profile of the movement
  • your members will get the offer of a free day access pass to the National Trust (worth up to £14)
  • your society will have access to the tailored insurance policy provided by Bluefin
  • your members will be able to take out personal health insurance and home/contents/pet/travel insurance with Bluefin at good rates and this will financially benefit your local society
  • you will have access to tailored information bulletins
  • you will have access to support on issues like fundraising, finding volunteers and addressing legal questions
  • you will know more about what other civic societies are doing and have opportunities to meet and debate with them
  • you will be able to use the logo of the new national body and get authority from saying you are a member

In all this you will become part of a wider movement championing the importance of the places where we all live.

In a small way we hope the Civic Society Initiative has begun to give a taste of the benefits which could come - providing a website, two information bulletins, raising the media profile, securing the support of celebrities, building partnerships with nationally important organisations like English Heritage and the National Trust, helping civic societies get together, securing funding and lobbying on key issues such as the review of planning policy on the historic environment.

Do we have to increase our membership fee by £3?

We are consulting on the principle of raising funds through a fee for civic societies joining the new national body based on something between £1 and £3 per member. It will be for each civic society to decide how to raise these funds - you do not have to pass the fee on to your membership and a number of societies have alternative funding available, such as by charging for events or through fundraising activity. We will make a decision on the fee per member - which will be the same for all societies early next year.

Membership of our civic society is less than £5 - how can we afford to increase this by £3 to fund the new national body?

There are a number of civic societies who have low membership rates. We recognise this and that there may be a need for a transition period. On the other hand some societies have already put up their membership rates in anticipation of the changes being introduced. Others recognise that they may not be valuing themselves and what they do by charging such low membership fees. And as one contributor to the online discussion forum says:

"£2.50 is the cost of a pint of beer If we are serious about having a national body which is independent we need 250,000 members to sacrifice one pint (or its equivalent) out of a years consumption - surely not a huge sacrifice!"

If we put up our membership fee won't we lose members?

Not necessarily. In fact many people value being members of something that charges a reasonable fee because they think it is likely to provide more benefits. There is lots of evidence from membership organisations to show that it is what they offer rather than the fee they charge which matters. If we provide what is needed then people are willing to join - and it is often this rather than the actual cost of membership that influences people's decisions, especially when the sums of money involved are so small. With the free day access pass to the National Trust worth up to £14 and personal insurance now available through Bluefin the extra membership costs should not seem so significant.

We are a small village society and feel the approach favours the larger cities who can afford to do more

There is no reason for the benefit of joining a local village society to be less than a big city one - there are lots of examples of thriving small societies. And the proposal is to charge a fee per member which means it is the same however big the city or village.

The offer of a free day access pass from the National Trust is interesting but we are already members so how will it benefit me?

We are pleased to say that the free day access pass that will be offered to the members of societies who join up with the new national body can be transferred to a friend or relative who isn't a member? It should make for an enjoyable day out and will help civic societies recruit new members.

Why do civic societies have to pay so much? Can't you find other sources of funding?

We can look for financial support elsewhere to top up our core funding. But the message from civic societies is clear - you want the movement to be independent and unfettered in its views. This means paying for its core costs from civic societies and tapping in to the 250,000 plus membership more effectively than we do at the moment. If we rely on external funding - even if it were available - then we run the risk of collapsing again like the Civic Trust.

What will happen if too few societies join up with the new national body?

We hope that the majority of civic societies will join in the first year as this will mean we can get the benefits of a new national body very quickly. It may be hard for some but we do need a critical mass of support. Ultimately, if the core funding for the movement doesn't come from the civic societies then we will fail. It would be wrong to become reliant on external funding again and leave the movement's future subject to the vagaries of other's decisions. This was a major criticism levied at the Civic Trust - that it lost its independence. Do we really want to start off down this road again?

Will the levy per member also apply to life members?

What do you think? The more funds we can raise the better the services and the lobbying voice we can provide. A number of civic societies offer life membership at very low rates and making this more realistic is one of the issues that might need addressing moving forward. We all need to be smarter in tapping in to the support which we should be able to raise from over 250,000 members.

Who will run the new national body?

Governance is the next big issue. It was a major point raised at the national convention. If we get support for the basic approach in Own the future in the responses received before 20 November then we will focus in on the details like legal structure, governance, voting and other issues. We plan to consult further on all this before the end of the year and talk with civic society volunteers about what will work best. Some of the principles are laid out in Own the future - above all it must feel federal and grassroots and we would expect a majority of trustees to have first hand experience of being in a civic society.

It felt as though the Civic Trust wasn't accountable to civic societies - what is going to change?

The new national body will have a very different feel to the Civic Trust. Its main focus will be on supporting and representing civic societies and civic society members are likely to be in a majority on its Board. There will be an Annual General Meeting where civic societies vote on who is in charge and they will also be able to change the Board if it isn't delivering. We will be looking for people with the right mix of skills and experience to put themselves forward for election to the new board early in 2010.

What is the new national body going to be called?

This is a popular question - and there are lots of choices. We need to avoid picking personal favourites and base things like the name and the aims of the new national body on firm foundations. Own the future records an overwhelming demand from civic societies to find the golden thread that unites us and to have a clear mission and purpose for the movement. We are going to do some more work on this in the next two months, working with civic society volunteers - not least because it will help provide firm foundations for things like our name.

When and how will the new national body be launched?

With a fair wind we hope to establish the new national body around Easter and there is likely to be a national meeting of civic societies to agree the approach and launch it.

Will the new national body be a charity?

There are real advantages in being a charity - it the best expression of its altruistic purpose, reflects the reality that around 50% of civic societies are registered charities, continues the tradition of charitable endeavour for the movement and is likely to be more attractive to grant-giving charitable trusts, philanthropists and individuals. Most charities are also companies limited by guarantee and for practical purposes it may be easiest to set this up first and become a charity within the first year of its operation. We will be consulting on this.

How big is the new national body and where will it be based?

Own the future concludes an organisation of 3 or 4 staff requiring up to £400,000 for the core work is what will be needed. The location is yet to be decided. The strong support from civic societies for it to be lobbying and campaigning would point to needing a presence London since this is where the key political, policy and media audiences are focused but there are many options and the staff may not all need to work in the same office. It will be important to keep the overheads to a minimum.

Do we need such a big national body? Ian and Tony seem to be achieving a lot with much less money

Thank you. The new national body will be playing a very different role to the Civic Society Initiative, although we hope things like Civic Matters, Initiative Bulletin, the website and the Street Pride campaign are a taster of what is to come. Even with just two staff and a lot of free in kind support in terms of office space and support services the Civic Society Initiative is costing around £200,000. We are very fortunate to have had this financial support from others in our hour of need and it runs out in May.

Will Tony Burton and Ian Harvey be employed by the new national body?

It will be for others to decide who staffs the new body when it is set up. Ian and Tony are both excited by the potential and role of the new national body and it will need the resources identified to be able to do it well.

Will individuals be able to join the new national body?

It seems sensible to be open to support from individuals, other organisations, local authorities and corporate bodies and there will be a number of people who may want to get involved in the new national body but not their local civic society. The bulk of the membership though will be with individual civic societies and there are no plans to change this.

Who will be given voting rights in the new organisation?

We will be consulting on this. The principle of one society one vote has attractions and we may start with those who have registered an interest in the Civic Society Initiative. The new national body will want to consider whether partner organisations should also be represented in some way, as they are with the Ramblers Association, Youth Hostels Association and National Trust.

Why is it taking so long to set up the new national body?

It is a tricky line between "imposing" and "consulting". Some want more debate and involvement and others want quick decisions. We're trying to tread this line carefully, especially given the need to bring people together at this crucial stage in setting up the new arrangements, but we may not always get it right. If it helps - we will be clear what we want by February at the latest and aim to establish the new national body around Easter. The Civic Society Initiative's funding comes to an end in May so there is a looming deadline!

Who will make the final decisions?

It will be for each civic society to decide whether it wants to join the new national body on the basis of the proposals to be put forward by Tony Burton who will base them on the feedback from civic societies and others with an interest in the movement. Once it is established the new national body will have its own governance arrangements with civic societies at their heart.

What is happening to the regional associations?

One of the most keenly debated issues during the debate that led up to Own the future related to the role of the regional associations. As Own the future concludes:

"....the conclusions of the debate do not suggest this is the only or indeed the best way forward. This is because civic societies cluster naturally together at a more local scale and because there is uncertainty over both the impact of civic societies on regional policy debates and the political future of the Government's regional structures themselves"

There has been considerable interest in the proposal that civic societies might "cluster" together at a more local level and also "network" on issues of common interest.

At the end of the day there is unlikely to be a one size fits all arrangement and the existing regions will continue as useful arrangements in some areas of the country and not in others. It will be for civic societies to decide how best to cluster together and also to fund the arrangements.

How will clusters of civic societies be created for smaller areas than regions?

Cluster will be set up in response to interest from civic societies. There are already moves to cluster civic societies in the Dorset, Wiltshire, Bath, Bristol, Gloucestershire area and to look at the potential of three clusters in the south east. Merseyside civic societies are also looking at clustering more together. We know others are looking to work together at a county level or around the potential of new "city-regions".

We are interested in the idea of networking with other civic societies on issues of common interest - how do we do it?

The potential for networks on common issues has triggered a lot of interest. For a start why don't you put your ideas down in the thread on the discussion forum on the website? Ideas already suggested include: planning policy, education, new civic societies, street pride, housing, traffic in historic towns, buildings at risk and many more. We will look at what is suggested and you can also meet and chat with other civic societies on the forum and set up your own arrangements. Civic societies for the "core cities" have already got together and found it useful. Keep us in touch with what you do.

I don't like using the internet and am not on email - how will I keep in touch?

This is a tricky one. In an ideal world we would love to be able to provide everyone with the same level of information. It is impractical, however, for us to do this and running parallel electronic and paper information systems would be expensive looking ahead. It is also important the new national body starts as it means to go on- addressing the challenges of the 21st century in a modern and progressive way which reaches out to people and involves them in ways unheard of before email and the internet. The decisions on all this will be for the new national body.

We like Civic Matters - will it continue?

Thank you. Providing tailored information which meets civic societies' needs is a central benefit of the new national body. This means Civic Matters or something better than it will continue if we can secure the resources we need. Do let us have feedback on Civic Matters so we can keep improving it.

Is the insurance arrangement with Bluefin changing?

Yes - for the better. The existing insurance arrangements for civic societies are secure and we have negotiated better cover from April next year. It is also now possible for individual members of registered societies to take out private health insurance (and soon this will be extended to home, motor, travel and pet insurance) at good rates and the added bonus of a financial contribution automatically going to the local civic society and the national body for each product taken out.

There is further information about all this at:
www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk

Are you taking on Heritage Open Days or the Civic Trust Awards?

There will be lots of demands on new national body and it is important not to take on too much or get distracted by projects that aren't central to what civic societies want. It will be for the new national body to decide where to put the emphasis and to raise one-off project funding where necessary. Civic societies will play an important role in shaping the priorities of the new national body, including at an annual meeting.

The Civic Trust Awards are now being run by a private individual but there are lots of local awards run by civic societies. Do you have any ideas for how we could make more of these?

There is a debate to be had with English Heritage about the future of Heritage Open Days. The view that the country's largest voluntary cultural event should not be run by the state is widely held with other heritage bodies but English Heritage is keen to continue and will be the prime funder whatever happens in future.

Will you be offering support in creating new civic societies?

Yes. It is important we spread the movement as widely as possible. As HRH The Prince of Wales said in his message to the Civic Societies National Convention in Blackpool, "Nowhere should be without its civic society and no-one should be without the voice you can provide."

Why have you chosen the Street Pride campaign for 2010

The problems of street clutter came up time and again during the discussion with civic societies over the summer and lots of you are already involved in running some impressive campaigns. Street Pride provides an opportunity for civic societies to work together as a movement - addressing the issue in a way that can make a difference locally and combining the local activity to raise the profile nationally. We have already secured extensive media coverage - in The Times, Daily Telegraph and on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours among others - even before we get going. We also have funding from English Heritage to run some campaign workshops and provide societies with the campaign materials that will be needed.

What happens next?

November - consultation on Own the future till 20 November
December - consultation on structure and governance options
January - consultation on structure and governance closes
- conclusions of work on mission and purpose
February - announcement of arrangement for new national body
- seek nominations for trustees/directors
- civic societies asked to join new national body
March - preparations for new national body
April - launch of new national body

We are planning to run a monthly Civic Society Live on the discussion forum on the website where you can ask questions directly of Tony Burton and raise issues with other civic society members and get instant feedback. The October Civic Society Live has already been viewed over 600 times so why not sign up and get involved at www.civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk

Heritage Lottery FundHLF
At a recent meeting we held with the Heritage Lottery Fund we were surprised to discover that HLF records reveal that only 91 civic societies have ever been succesful in receiving funds from HLF during its 15 years. Even more surprising was the fact only two awards have ever been in excess of £50,000, with the average award being £13,300. The scope for making better use of HLF and similar funds is evident in the range of eligible activity which civic societies undertake.

In case you have never considered applying for a HLF grant we alert you to some civic societies that have been succesful including the Cambridge Preservation Society and Blackpool Civic Trust who were both succesful in gaining awards from HLF totalling over £70,000!.
We are sure you also wish to join us in wishing Altrincham Civic Society good luck who are hoping to have good news shortly for a Heritage Lottery Bid which involves a town heritage trail, oral history sessions, themed guided walks and public internet access to several prized collections of old photographs and postcards.

For more information about the Heritage Lottery Fund and to apply click here.
BiffawardBiffawards
Biffaward grants funding to projects that are within a certain distance of an active Biffa landfill or recycling operation. Both the Main Grants Community and Small Grants funding schemes require an active Biffa operation to be within 10 miles of the project site. However, if you're applying under the Main Grants Biodiversity or Flagship Scheme the radius is extended to within 25 miles.
Funding is available between £5000 and £10000
Under this scheme, Biffaward look to award grants to projects that "provide or improve community spaces, cultural facilities and places for outdoor recreation".
Through the Open Forums series it is clear that civic societies generally meet this criterion - with many groups such as Bollington Civic Society, Gloucester Civic Trust and Lytham St Anne's Civic Society all involved in improving community spaces.

You can find out more information about Biffaward here

BTcommunityconnections
BT Community Connections, the award scheme which enables community and charitable organisations to get online, is open for applications. The scheme is now in its 5th year and groups can apply for a laptop and a year's free broadband connection. All civic societies should be elible for the award packages as long as you are able to demonstrate how an award will benefit your work and the local community.

More than 1,000 award packages are available and the deadline for online applications is 7 January 2010. If you are interested in applying but unsure as to how to use the money, some case studies are available here.

For more information and to apply click here
Gift Aid Itgiftaid
Gift Aid is an easy way for charities to increase the value of gifts of money from UK taxpayers by claiming back the basic rate tax paid by the donors. Already approximately 300 civic societies allow members to "gift aid" membership fees and donations.
If every charity supporter were to give their donations tax-effectively, charities could claim an estimated additional £900 million from the Inland Revenue each year!
Once your civic society is recognised by HMRC (you have to be a registered charity), you can reclaim the basic rate of tax on Gift Aid donations - this is 20 per cent from 6 April 2008. You can work out the amount of tax you can reclaim by dividing the amount donated by four. This means that for every £1 donated, you can claim an extra 25 pence. It all adds up to a significant boost to your accounts.
More information is available here
Online donations Donateonline
Each year billions of pounds are donated to charities through the Internet. Yet, the majority of civic societies are missing out on on-line donations by not having the capacity to accept donations from their members through a secure source.
However, a facility is now available through Charity Choice Online, which will enable any civic society (registered as a charity) to begin accepting donations through a simple website. This service has been set up with the help of The Co-Operative Bank Plc. to provide a secure, quick, easy and cost effective way of receiving donations direct to your bank.
By encouraging your members to donate online and renew subscriptions it can:
  • save your volunteers time when processing cheques
  • make it easier and quicker for people donating to you
  • help ensure a greater retention of members as research shows people who automatically select direct debit are less likely to cancel a membership.
Community website builderCommunitywebsitebuilder
The Community Website Builder allows registered UK charities and non-profit making organisations, such as civic societies, the opportunity to build and maintain their own website free of charge. Over 400 civic societies currently have websites but we know that the majority of groups do not. This package is
already in use this by
Pontefract Civic Society, Truro Civic Society and The Sutton and Cheam Society as well as many other community groups and offers a good introductory way to give your society a presence on the web. Click here to read what the Sutton and Cheam Society said about the service.
For more information click here
Return to start
Spotlight on......Open PlaquesCommunitymatters

Open Plaques is a web project which documents, publicises and promotes the heritage plaques that celebrate significant people, places and events on buildings across the UK. The project was founded by web developer Frankie Roberto, and was first launched in May earlier this year, in collaboration with three other volunteers, who together now maintain the website.

Initially, data about blue plaques was imported from lists provided by English Heritage and some local authorities. However it soon became apparent, from talking to councils and civic societies that much information about blue plaques simply isn't known (having been lost, or buried within old paper archives). So the project has turned to the wider web community instead.

Any civic society with blue plaques in their area (or any other colour for that matter) is invited to take a photograph of it, and upload it to the Open Plaques group on the photo-sharing site Flickr. From there, special 'tags' allow the photos and the information to be added to the site, where plaques can be browsed by location, organisation, or the type or name of the person commemorated.

The website currently has information about 1858 plaques, erected by 130 different organisations, including 30 civic societies. However, Open Plaques is sure there are more out there and we know approximately 70 civic societies including Torbay Civic Society, Birmingham Civic Society and Howden Civic Society have blue plaques. If you have information that can help Open Plaques, or would like to see the plaques erected by your society represented, please get in touch with them by e-mailing feedback@openplaques.org and have a look at the website here
A name for the future Anameforthefuture
The Cambridge Preservation Society has relaunched as Cambridge Past, Present & Future (Cambridge PPF), a name the group says will more accurately reflect its ambitious plans to step up its role and profile as a vocal and vigorous champion for sustainable development with the Cambridge area.
The group has decided on the name change as it is turning its attention firmly towards the future to mobilise a new generation of local supporters and give them a greater voice in shaping the future of the city
Robin Pellew OBE, Chair of the Cambridge Past, Present & Future Board of Trustees explains: "Our challenge is to ensure that Cambridge's continued growth and development does not spoil what makes Cambridge such an attractive place to live and work. It's up to us to make sure that development projects meet the necessary high social and environmental standards. We want to encourage development that creates healthy vibrant communities that provide better places to live while minimising our carbon footprint. The future of Cambridge is worth fighting for - it's far too important to be left to chance because people didn't know what was being planned in their name."
You can view the new Cambridge Past, Present & Future website here
Peterborough Buildings of Local Importancepeterboroughsociety
Peterborough Civic Society and Peterborough City Council are working together to prepare a revised list of Buildings of Local Importance (BLI) for the district.
In addition to Peterborough's 400 or so statutorily listed Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest, at present 15 buildings ineligible for listing but of importance locally receive a measure of protection from a policy in the 2005 Local Plan. They include the Town Hall (1929), Kings School (1885) and the former courthouse (1873). The policy, CBE11, states that demolition or substantial alteration of these buildings will only be permitted under special circumstances. A similar policy is expected to be included in the forthcoming Development Control Policies document, successor to the Local Plan. Both the Council and the Civic Society felt that the BLI list needed to be reviewed.
Why is the Civic Society participating? Partly because the project is an example of a labour intensive piece of work to which the Council is likely to give low priority without assistance. Also it is a task which Civic Society members care about and are well able to carry out. Members include architects, semi-retired planners and a building conservation professional as well as lay people well able to grasp the brief.
Is your Civic Society involved in a campaign you would like to promote to other societies? We are currently looking for a variety of campaigns to develop into detailed case studies to help promote the movement to the media and share lessons between societies. Contact us at ian.harvey@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk if you want to share your successes!
studentification
Manchester to clamp down on student 'ghettos'
Withington Civic Society recently hosted a meeting, which considered the possible revision of Housing Multiple Occupancy legislation that could help stem the development of student enclaves within suburban areas. Many towns and cities are discussing the arguments for capping the numbers of students in any given area to try and manage "studentification"
Withington Civic Society should be applauded for taking a positive approach in trying to bring all sides together to discuss a way forward - something many civic societies will want to keep a close eye on.
Grimsby Ice Factory
The Grimsby Ice Factory is situated on the Grimsby Docks and is seen by thousands of tourists who visit the area every year as it is on the sea front and main road to Cleethorpes. The Ice House was the lifeline of Grimsby's Docks, producing thousands of tonnes of ice per day but for the past 19 years it has been left in a state of ruin.
The Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Civic Society is now taking up the issue saying the decay has gone on too long. It is now leading a local debate about the future of the Ice Factory. The civic society recently called a public meeting about the Ice Factory featuring councillors, MPs, owners and local media.
Lytham St Anne's -LythamStAnnesGreeningyourhouse Greening your Victorian House

Lytham St Annes Civic Society recently hosted an exhibition and event dedicated to sharing best practice on energy efficiency. The event, held in partnership with the Heritage Trust for the North West and Fylde Low Waste and Energy allowed the public to see some practical examples of how older houses can be made more energy efficient without losing their intrinsic character while also having the opportunity to hear from expert speakers.

Addressing an issue that is of relevance for many civic societies Lytham St Annes Civic Society decided to get involved as they felt that a lot of damage unnecessarily damage is being done to the historic environment and feel it is important for communities to consider the issues involved with climate change.

For groups who are concerned about energy efficiency and the historic environment, English Heritage has recently launched a new website called Climate change and your horme.

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Civic Society exchange trips! exchangetrips
Since the launch of the Initiative we have been contacted by different societies asking if a central list of civic societies exists who are prepared to participate in "exchange trips" exists. No list exists does, but we would like to create one! If your civic society currently hosts civic societies visiting your area to your town and would like to do so in the future then get in touch with us at admin@civicsocietyinitiative.org.uk and we will post your information on the website for people to get in touch.
University of Cambridge offers free research opportunities to community organisations!

The University of Cambridge's Office of External Affairs and Communications is seeking third sector organisations, such as civic societies, to work with its information exchange service.
Participating groups will gain access to research services free of charge, while the students can carry out their university projects at the same time as making a difference in their local community
Democracy Live
Democracy Live is the BBC's new website which offers live and on demand video coverage of the UK's national political institutions and the European Parliament.

The homepage shows a 'Video Wall' with a choice of footage, both live and recorded, of debates and speeches in the various assemblies and committees, as well as links to some useful information about the various assemblies that are featured on the site.
The House of Commons page, for instance, provides information about recent and upcoming debates, the political composition of the chamber, and general news. You can even type your postcode into the search box to find out how much your local MP has been claiming on expenses.

The video content all the site is all searchable, so if you want to see debates around "transport" for instance, you can find all related videos on the site:
Workshops to raise your profile
Free workshops on the use of social media and volunteer recruitment are being made available by the Red Foundation to community groups during Janury 2010. Engaging with a wider audience and raising the profile of the civic movement were two issues that civic societies identified as priorities for the future of the movement during the recent consultation and it is welcome that the Red Foundation has organised free workshops on the use of social media and volunteer recruitment during Janury 2010.
You will learn how tools such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging can benefit your group. If you are unsure if tools like this are relevant for your group you may be interested to learn that several civic societies such as Leicester Civic Society, Sheffield Civic Trust and Hereford Civic Society are already using Facebook; nearly 200 people are keeping up to date with the Cockburn Association through Twitter; and Tiverton Civic Society now regularly have visitors reading its blog from across the world including Hong Kong, Dubai and Australia.
To learn more about these training sessions click here
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This Bulletin is intended to keep you up to date with all matters "civic". We are keen to make it useful for you and would love to have your feedback.

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In This Issue
Own the future - your feedback counts
Join the Civic Society Forum
Civic Society Live
Own the future - questions and answers
Heritage Lottery Fund
Biffaward
BT Community Connections
Gift Aid It
Online donations
Community website builder
Spotlight on Open Plaques
A name for the future
Peterborough Buildings of Local Importance
Manchester to clamp down on student 'ghettos'
Grimsby Ice Factory Meeting Report
Greening your Victorian House
Civic Societies exchange trips
Free research opportunities to community organisations
Democracy Live
Workshops to raise your profile
Feedback please
Forthcoming events
Civic Societies in the news
Birmingham Civic Society
Bristol Civic Society
Oxford Civic Society
Saltburn Civic Society

Civic Society Initiative in the news

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