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Civic Update

24 March 2017


Are you looking to improve your civic society or community group? This week, we want you to use our self assessment tool to help identify both what your society does well and where it could improve. You can see the assessment tool here.

We are also asking for your help in identifying your local Heritage Champion. As part of the Big Conservation Conversation we want to help civic societies campaign to get a Heritage Champion in place. Do you know who yours is? Let us know!

This week, we hosted our second Civic Voice Design Awards study tour at Slowing the Flow flood defence scheme in Pickering, North Yorkshire. Delegates who attended the tour visited the scheme and heard about how it works and how the community campaigned to get it up and running. Read more below.

We have now had 70 of our members renew their Civic Voice membership with the Heath and Hampstead Society, Bath Preservation Trust, the Highgate Society and Scarborough and District Civic Society all renewing this week. Get your renewals in now!

You can also read about the £25 million project that Blackpool Civic Trust is welcoming, Tamworth and District Civic Society's annual lecture celebrating local history and the Wells Civic Society's blue plaque initiative.

All that and a lot more in this week's civic update...

Contents:


Improve your civic society with Civic Voice's self assessment tool

Photograph: Canterbury Society after their river litter pick

Canterbury Society after their river litter pick

Are you looking to improve your civic society/community group but need some help and advice? To help you out, we have created a civic society self assessment tool to help you identify where the strengths lie within your society and where improvements could be made.

Within the assessment tool we have highlighted what factors we think societies should be concentrating on in order to thrive and be a really successful society.

Start by considering your society/community groups as an amber. On reflection, is it really a red in this area? Is it really green? Use the form to discuss your strengths and weaknesses with colleagues.

You can find the self assessment tool here. We are encouraging groups to use this form and send results to us so we can tailor our support and guidance to groups more effectively.

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Tell us who your local heritage champions are

Photograph: Volunteers looking to save their local heritage at a previous Civic Voice workshop

Volunteers looking to save their local heritage at a previous Civic Voice workshop

Do you know if your local authority has a Heritage Champion? Across the country local authorities are encouraged to nominate a heritage champion to help make the case for the importance of the historic environment

We need your help to tell us who your Heritage Champion is so that we can build up analysis on how many local authorities have a champion compared to those who don't. We then want to help civic societies campaign to get a Heritage Champion in place as part of the Big Conservation Conversation. If you have a Heritage Champion, are they a success? Do you work with them? Is this person helping to make the case for the historic environment locally? Let us know using our online form here.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Civic Voice Design Awards study tours visits Slowing the Flow

Photograph: Delegates visiting the main Slowing the Flow bund Photograph: Delegates point to the Civic Voice Design Awards plaque Photograph: Delegates visit smaller bunds in the North Yorkshire Moors Photograph: Mike Potter and Sarah Whatmore receive the award on behalf of Slowing the Flow.

Delegates visiting the main Slowing the Flow bund, left: delegates point to the Civic Voice Design Awards plaque, right: delegates visit smaller bunds in the North Yorkshire Moors, bottom: Mike Potter and Sarah Whatmore receive the award on behalf of Slowing the Flow.

This week, the second in the series of Civic Voice Design Awards tours took place at 2015 Judges Special Prize winning scheme, Slowing the Flow, Pickering, a flood defence scheme, which works with nature to 'slow the flow', storing water upstream to prevent it flooding the town.

Delegates heard from a number of speakers including Nick Odoni, Durham University, who was part of the team who designed Slowing the Flow. Nick spoke about how Slowing the Flow works using a number of bunds to slow the flow of water during heavy rainfall. He also spoke about how Slowing the Flow played a big role in preventing Pickering from flooding during the 2015 Boxing Day storms.

Phil Roe, the Forestry Commission, highlighted their ongoing work to maintain all of the bunds to keep Pickering safe from flooding. He also touched on the price of maintenance and emphasised the cost effectiveness of Slowing the Flow compared to alternative flood defence systems.

Mike Potter, Pickering and District Civic Society shared the inspirational story on the 'warts and all battle' of getting Slowing the Flow to where it is today. He shared the community's struggle to get the plans passed and the civic society's involvement in helping to do this.

After the talks delegates boarded a coach which took them deep into the North Yorkshire Moors to see Slowing the Flow in action. Delegates visited a number of bunds and even caught a glimpse of the town's famous steam train.

Joan Humble, Civic Voice chairwoman

After the tour of Slowing the Flow, Joan Humble, Civic Voice chairwoman, unveiled the scheme's Civic Voice Design Awards winning plaque.

Our Design Awards tours offer the chance to visit winning schemes, hear from the people who led the projects to transform buildings and spaces, and explore how great design can bring real benefit to local people. Don't worry if you missed the chance to attend the Slowing the Flow study tour, we also have one coming up at last year's overall winning scheme, Alder Hey in the Park - a children's hospital in Liverpool.

At the event delegates will get a tour of Alder Hey, hear from those who played a pivotal role in developing the scheme and will also be the first to hear which schemes have made the Civic Voice Design Awards 2017 shortlist as this will be announced on the day.

The judges crowned Alder Hey in the Park the overall winner for achieving an inspirational design for a children's hospital by taking an inclusive collaborative design approach. Alder Hey in the Park listened carefully to the views of staff, children and thousands of families who took part in one of the NHS's biggest ever consultations.

You can read the full story of Alder Hey in the Park here

The event is taking place on 24th April 2017. It isn't too late to register your place! Register to attend the event here.

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Feed into Civic Voice's response to the Housing White Paper

Photograph: Joan Humble, Civic Voice chair, addresses delegates at recent APPG for Civic Societies debating the planning system

Joan Humble, Civic Voice chairwoman, addresses delegates at a recent All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies debating the planning system

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Civic Societies debated proposals made within the Housing White Paper with a number of civic societies and MPs attending to share their thoughts. You can see a report from the event here.

View the Housing White Paper here.

We want even more of the civic movement to feed into our response on proposals made within the Housing White Paper. We have developed a survey which will allow you to have your say. You can take the survey here. Please read through the word document version of the survey first so you have an idea of what kind of questions you will be asked. You can read that here.

Civic Voice, as the authoritative voice for the civic movement, is holding this consultation on selected elements of the Housing White paper to inform a national civic movement response.

We will be continuing to debate the Housing White Paper in Parliament, through our APPG for Civic Societies. We want you to decide which topic in the Housing White Paper you would like us to discuss. Vote on what you want us to debate next here

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Submit your Civic Day plans to us now!

Photograph: Line of people holding banner for Civic Day

Civic Day 2016 award winners at Civic Day 2017 launch event in Parliament

It is now under 100 days until Civic Day and we want you to let us know what you are doing to celebrate. So far, you have told us you are hosting over 150 events for Civic Day 2017 with Southgate and District Civic Trust holding the most of those who have responded, hosting a whopping 10 events!

48% of those who have responded said the focus of their Civic Day plans will be around raising awareness of their local conservation area.

32% of those who responded said they will be involving their local MP, while 28% said they will be encouraging a younger audience by involving their local schools in their Civic Day event.

If you need help with your plans you can download our Civic Day toolkit found here or ask Civic Voice to deliver Civic Day training to you. Please use the form here to contact us with your request.

Make sure you get your submissions to us as soon as possible and we will publicise your events for you. Remember everyone who enters their Civic Day plans to us will automatically be entered into our Civic Day Awards and will be in with a chance of winning an award at the Civic Voice Annual Convention in Wakefield. Winners will also be invited to the Civic Day launch event in Parliament later this year. Submit your plans here now.

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Renew your Civic Voice membership now

Photograph: The Highgate Society, the most recent society to renew their Civic Voice membership. What are you waiting for?

The Highgate Society, the most recent society to renew their Civic Voice membership. What are you waiting for?

Have you renewed yet?

We have been busy sending out reminders to all of our members about renewing their membership of Civic Voice. We have now sent renewal forms and contact forms to all of our groups and we want you to get them back to us as soon as possible. 70 of our members have already sent back their renewals so what are you waiting for? Get your renewals in now.

Our hunt for new members

We are also on the hunt for new members. Now is the time to become a member of Civic Voice. 2017 is set to be one of the biggest years for the civic movement with the Big Conservation Conversation celebrating 50 years of conservation areas, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies continuing to give you a voice on a national level and the Civic Voice team continuing to support your civic society in any way we can.

Civic Voice members also receive a number of free gifts. Current offers include a National Trust pass, IHBC magazine on conservation areas (£5 to non members) and the 'History of the Civic Movement' book (£5 to non members).

It doesn't matter if you are a civic society, individual, corporate organisation or charity if you love where you live and want to make a change, we want to hear from you. We have membership packages for everyone. If you would like to learn more about what Civic Voice can do for you click here.

Make sure you renew and don't miss out on what is set to be one of the biggest years yet for the civic movement.

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Membership News


This section of civic update aims to give you a snap shot of what our members are doing locally to promote civic pride in their area. If you are a member of Civic Voice and are proud of what you have done this week, email your story to ben.murray@civicvoice.org.uk.

Join the movement!

 


Blackpool Civic Trust welcomes plans for £25 million museum

Picture: Plans for £25 million new museum in Blackpool

Plans for £25 million new museum in Blackpool

New images revealed today set out the vision for Blackpool’s £25m new museum if a multi-million pound bid for Lottery funding is successful.

Town hall chiefs submitted an application for £15m towards the ambitious project this week.

The museum inside the Winter Gardens is set to have its own entrance from Adelaide Street and will showcase more than 800 exhibits setting out the history of the country’s leading seaside resort.

A planning application has now been lodged setting out full details of the scheme, along with an application for listed building consent.

Councillor Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is another really exciting step forward for the museum project and the images of how the new entrance will look will hopefully help people realise that this project continues to move forward.

“Not only will this museum be a great addition to our long list of top-class attractions, it will also create real, full-time jobs and bring even more people into the Winter Gardens to spend money.

The plans include creating permanent exhibition galleries in the existing Pavilion Theatre and the surrounding Horseshoe.

A design brief accompanying the application says “the visual impact along Adelaide Street will be significant”. It adds: “The reveal of the historic form of the Pavilion and Horseshoe will provide visual interest and allow members of the public to appreciate this structure from street level.” The redevelopment of the 140-year-old Pavilion also includes protection of historical features and designers say the plans will ensure the building will “be conserved, enhanced and adapted in order to begin a new era”.

Elaine Smith, president of Blackpool Civic Trust and a board member of the Winter Gardens Trust, welcomed the proposals.

She said: “I have been trying to get a museum in Blackpool for 20 years so I’m desperate for this to happen. It needs to be a fun place, and I like the idea of a separate entrance. It’s also excellent they are proposing free entry for residents, but it also has to be sustainable.”

Work is also due to begin in October this year on a £25m new conference centre, to be built on the Leopold Grove side of the Winter Gardens.

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Tamworth and District Civic Society to launch the Tamworth Lecture

Photograph: garden border to house

Tamworth and District Civic Society chair David Biggs with youngest member of the society

Tamworth and District Civic Society (TDCS) have announced that their Inaugural Tamworth Lecture will be taking place on Friday 21st April at 7.30 p.m. in the Castle Hotel, Tamworth.

TDCS announced last June its initiative to establish an annual Tamworth Lecture with a speaker who will focus on a certain topic related to the history or heritage of Tamworth and District.

The subject of this first lecture is Æthelbald, The Saints and the ‘Mercian Supremacy’.

This commemorates the 1260th anniversary this year of the murder of King Æthelbald of Mercia at Seckington in 757 AD, and the accession later that year of Offa, the greatest of the Mercian kings. Offa established his palace at Tamworth, described as “the wonder and admiration of the age”, and the defensive earthwork around the town known as “The King’s Ditch” or “Offa’s Dyke” is attributed to him. These two warriors reigned for eighty years between them from 716 to 796 AD during which time Mercia reached its zenith as the largest and most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and Tamworth was its principal power-base.

This Inaugural Lecture will be delivered by eminent historian Dr. John Hunt, F.S.A., F.R.Hist.Soc. who is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Birmingham, a Member of the Centre for West Midlands History, President of the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society, and a former Chairman of the Council for British Archaeology (West Midlands). John is well known across the Midlands as an eloquent speaker and tutor, and is noted for engaging local communities with their history. His latest book, “Warriors, Warlords and Saints: The Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Mercia” was recently published to acclaim.

This prestigious event will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Mr. Ian Dudson, the mayors and mayoresses of Tamworth and North Warwickshire, and two of the local MPs Chris Pincher and Craig Tracey.

For more information on the event please visit their website here

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Wells Civic Society's blue plaque scheme

Photograph: Wells Civic Society unveil plaque dedicated to the historic event of WG Grace only scoring 3 runs!

Wells Civic Society unveil plaque dedicated to the historic event of WG Grace only scoring 3 runs!

Wells Civic Society has been working tirelessly to commemorate the less well known citizens, buildings and events that go to make up the rich history of Wells. This week, Wells Civic Society erected a plaque dedicated to WG Grace, that great man of cricket. In 1867 WG Grace played a cricket match in Wells against Wells Theological College. Renowned for his giant stature at the crease and for amassing giant scores, Wells Civic Society unveiled a plaque to commemorate the fact that at this match WG scored just 3 runs!

This priceless piece of information was re discovered through research in the archives of the Wells Journal. The plaque will be unveiled by Gloucestershire County Cricket Chairman and fount of knowledge of all things WG, Rex Body.

Civic societies everywhere have blue plaque schemes and we want to hear about yours. Email your stories to info@civicvoice.org.uk and we will include them in civic update.

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Get Involved!

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Photograph: Group of conservationists

Regional War Memorials workshops

Photograph: Group holding 'save our memorials' banner

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War Memorials News

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Civic Voice is calling for volunteers from around England to attend a meeting or workshop with us to discuss how best to find and survey every war memorial.

Workshops will be announced throughout the year in different locations, so keep a look out for a workshop in your area! You can see them here.

If you can't attend a workshop why not get involved through our War Memorials Condition Survey Toolkit. This is an easy step by step guide which trains volunteers how to carry out condition surveys on war memorials. You can see this here!

For more information or to get involved email info@civicvoice.org.uk.

Does your civic society want a visit from the chair of Civic Voice or perhaps you would like another trustee or member of the Civic Voice team to come and speak to your society? We have a number of people willing to come and talk to your society about all things civic.

Many of the Civic Voice team have been travelling the country delivering the talk which is titled 'The Future of the Civic Movement.' If you would like one of our trustees or team members to come and speak to your society please email info@civicvoice.org.uk with your request.

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