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Civic Update

31 March 2017


Today saw the Civic Voice Design Awards judges meet to discuss this year's nominations and decide the category winners and overall winner of this year's awards. The shortlist will be announced on 24th April at the Civic Voice Design Awards study tour taking place at last year's overall winner, Alder Hey in the Park, Liverpool. Register your place now here.

We still want you to feed into our response to the Government's proposals in the Housing White Paper. Tell us how they will affect your community. Take our survey here.

Also this week, Gavin Orton, chair of Birmingham Civic Society delivered a talk to the Civic Voice board on the strategy that Birmingham Civic Society has taken over the past few years to get them where they are today. You can read about what Birmingham Civic Society are doing below.

You can also read about the Canterbury Society's ideas to reduce air pollution in their local area, Bradford Civic Society's plan to host a public debate on the regeneration of the city and how Worcester Civic Society is supporting the restoration of Queen Elizabeth House.

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

Contents:


Judging process for the Civic Voice Design Awards takes place

Photograph: Design awards judges judging Photograph: Desing awards judges

Today the Civic Voice Design Awards judges met to decide their winners for this year's competition.

Today the Civic Voice Design Awards judges met to decide their winners for this year's competition.

The judging panel is chaired by Max Farrell, Partner at Farrells, and consists of Rob Cowan (Urban Design Skills), Russ Hamilton (Farrells); Tracy Meller (Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners); Sophia de Sousa (The Glass-House Community Led Design) and; John Walker (The Canterbury Society).

Max Farrell said "It was great to meet up again and hear the community stories behind the nominated projects and to see architecture and urban design having a tangible, positive impact on the lives of people throughout the country."

The shortlist for the Civic Voice Design Awards has now been decided and will be announced at the next Civic Voice Design Awards study tour taking place at last year's overall winner, Alder Hey in the Park, Liverpool. The judges also decided the winner of a special award to recognise 50 years of conservation areas.

The judges crowned Alder Hey in the Park the 2016 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.

At the event delegates will get a tour ofAlder 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.

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: Max Farrell, Civic Voice Design Awards chair judge and Partner at Farrells addresses delegates at recent APPG for Civic Societies debating the planning system

Max Farrell, Civic Voice Design Awards chair judge and Partner at Farrells addresses delegates at recent APPG 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

We are also asking you to invite your MP to become a member of the APPG for Civic Societies. We have created a template letter for you to use to ask your MP to join. See the invite here.

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

Photograph: Volunteers from the civic movement

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

Are you looking to improve your civic society/community group but need some help and advice? To help you out, we asked a number of civic volunteers to create a civic society self assessment tool to help you identify where the strengths lie within your society and where improvements could be made. The toolkit is based on the experiences of other civic volunteers!

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

Using a traffic light assessment approach, 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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Birmingham Civic Society talks strategy with Civic Voice

Photograph: Joan Humble shaking hands with (presumably) chairman of Brum Civic Society

This week, the Civic Voice board of trustees met to discuss the direction Civic Voice will be heading from May 1st 2017 to April 2020 as part of our new strategic plan.

The meeting was held in Birmingham and Gavin Orton, chair of Birmingham Civic Society, was invited to come and talk to the board about Birmingham Civic Society's strategy and what they have done over the past two years to get their society to thrive.

Gavin spoke of a number of campaigns that Birmingham Civic Society is involved in locally to help promote civic pride in the city. Gavin spoke of Birmingham Civic Society's most recent campaign to save a historic tree from being pulled down by the council. The campaign made regional news and you can read more about it here.

Gavin also explained about local projects the civic society are supporting such as the Birmingham Trees for Life campaign and the Birmingham Big Art Project.

We look forward to working with Birmingham Civic Society in the near future.

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House of Lords publish long awaited report on charity sector

After almost a year of looking at the challenges facing the voluntary sector, the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities published a wide-ranging report with 100 conclusions and recommendations.

The report, Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society, was published on Sunday 26 March. Key themes that emerged from the report were the accessibility of funding, improving governance, and reform of the regulatory environment.

Ian Harvey, Executive Director for Civic Voice said "With 60% of civic societies also being registered as charities, this report is something I wold urge all to read. It is a comprehensive and progressive report which addresses many issues the charity and social enterprise sector has been raising for some time. It's particularly welcome that the committee doesn't just air the issues but also offers real change. We will be talking to civic societies about how we can consider the recommendations in the report to help build a strong civic movement".

The House of Lords select committee on charities published its long awaited report yesterday, entitled Stronger Charities For A Stronger Society. This is a substantial, wide-ranging and important piece of work that should and will shape the charitable sector going forward.

The report is available here

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Renew your Civic Voice membership now

Photograph: Margate Civic Society receiving Civic Voice Design Awards winning plaque for Public Realm category in 2015

Margate Civic Society receiving Civic Voice Design Awards winning plaque for Public Realm category in 2015

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. 79 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!

 


Canterbury Society encourages a car free day

Picture: The Canterbury Society encourages a car free day in the city

The Canterbury Society encourages a car free day in the city

At the recent meeting of the Canterbury Area Member Panel, Councillor Alan Baldock introduced the idea of a car free day. The Canterbury Society supported this imaginative proposal, but suggested that they need to go further in persuading people to change their travel patterns.

With 4,000 homes to be built in South Canterbury and another 1,200 or so coming in Thanington, persuading at least some people to get out of their cars is essential if the public are not to spend their lives in traffic jams around the city. Reducing car use is also vital to improving the quality of the air and reducing air pollution.

Lots of other cities are talking about how to change people’s travel patterns. Often it is described as ‘modal shift’ - a trendy term for fewer car journeys and more trips on foot, by bus or train, on bikes and scooters, in shared cars, and so on. However, change on the scale needed for Canterbury is not going to take place without a clear plan, good organisation and, above all, strong leadership. The Canterbury Society hopes this might be something the local council can take on.

After an animated debate, councillors voted unanimously to set up a Working Group to explore the idea, not just of a car free day, but of changing travel patterns more broadly. As Councillor Alan Baldock said at the end of the debate, “Traffic congestion is our problem; it’s our city; and we need to sort it out”.

The Canterbury Society will be keeping its members up to date with this initiative, but in the meantime would like to hear your views on this matter. You can leave your responses here.

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Bradford Civic Society hosts 'Politics in the Pub' debate

Photograph: Darley Street, Bradford

Darley Street, Bradford

Bradford Civic Society is joining with Bradford Politics in the Pub to host a public debate asking what communities of Bradford think about the current regeneration of the city. Guest speakers, civic leaders, and members of the public are invited to share their frank and honest views on the issue.

‘How do you solve a problem like Darley Street?’ will have a particular focus on issues around the top of town and markets area of the city centre, with the current state of Darley Street expected to be a hot topic of discussion.

Confirmed speakers on the panel include David Craig – owner of a design and architecture studio based in Bradford and a director of Assembly Bradford, the co-working space in Rawson Place; and Simon Cooke – leader of the Tory group on Bradford Council, who also has a background in urban planning. A third speaker will be confirmed soon. The audience will also be invited to share their views on what should happen to the city centre in future, with all feedback being collated and presented to Bradford Council after the event.

The free event, which is being held at the New Beehive Inn on Westgate on April 11th, will also be the first collaboration between Bradford Civic Society and Bradford Politics in the Pub – with a further series of debates planned to enlighten, empower and encourage Bradfordians to take more interest and responsibility for what happens in the city.

Dermot Bolton, co-founder of Bradford Politics in the Pub says: “Since we formed Bradford Politics in the Pub, post 2015 general election, we’ve successfully run many events in Bradford on a range of political topics with a diverse range of speakers. We’re all about getting people out of their social media echo chambers. Politics in the Pub wants Bradford to thrive, and our events do their part in getting people into town on a weekday evening. So we’re delighted to run an event with Bradford Civic Society to examine some of the issues around regeneration and the city centre. You never know, we could uncover some great solutions for Bradford.”

Si Cunningham, Vice-Chair of Bradford Civic Society says: “The future of Darley Street is one of the biggest concerns for Bradford Civic Society right now, so we’re keen to make sure that the council is hearing the views of as many Bradfordians as possible. It’s encouraging to see initiatives such as the Creative Streets programme and grants to restore old buildings come to fruition, but many people are telling us they’d like to see more radical solutions considered to halt the decline around the top part of the city centre. We’re excited to hear what our panel and members of the public have to say at our first-ever Politics in the Pub event, so hope to see a packed house at the Beehive.”

You can find out more about the event and are able to register your place to attend here.

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Worcester Civic Society welcomes restoration of Queen Elizabeth House

Photograph: Queen Elizabeth House, Worcester

Queen Elizabeth House, Worcester

One of Worcester’s oldest buildings, said to have played host to Queen Elizabeth I, should become a public heritage centre says a custodian of the city’s history.

Work to restore the neglected Queen Elizabeth House to its former glory has been welcomed by Phil Douce, chair of Worcester Civic Society and deputy chair of Civic Voice.

However, he says it is vital, aside from the restoration of the exterior, that the interior is open to the public and plays a role in showcasing the city’s rich history.

As previously reported, a £15,000 project is underway to restore the building which dates back to the 1570s. The work will include fixing loose areas of render and repairs to the timber framing. It will also be painted in the original Tudor style, with dark brown timbers and off-white panels.

But Mr Douce said: “I became concerned about the state of the building which is one of the oldest in Worcester. I was appalled it had been so neglected.”

He met with representatives of other groups with a passion for the city’s history including the Battle of Worcester Society, the Worcestershire Industrial Archaeology and Local History Society and the Mercian Regimental Museum at the Hive where he said there was an appetite for the idea of creating a heritage centre at the venue.

Mr Douce said the building could be used for meetings and exhibitions and as a place to provide information to visitors and even to showcase some of the city’s artefacts.

“There’s so much of our heritage in Worcester we do not use" said Mr Douce. "It could be open 9am to 5pm as a possible heritage centre. We would look to use the inside and make it open to the public. It is vital it is used. It could be a platform for our history.”

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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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