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Civic Voice Live - 3rd June - 12 noon until 1pm
Posted: 28 May 2010 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The launch of Civic Voice marks an important stage in the the history of the civic movement. We have endeavoured to set Civic Voice up in a way possible to secure its independence and a grassroots approach. We now want to hear your thoughts concerning future campaigns and projects.

A discussion forum has been created on our new website which you can use to raise issues and respond to others. We also plan to hold regular “live” discussions where everyone can talk online at the same time. The first of these will be at noon on Thursday 3rd June for one hour with Tony Burton will be available to discuss the Board’s proposal for a Civic Day next year.

 
 
Posted: 02 June 2010 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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As I may not be able to be on-line tomorrow, may I suggest we consider a day during Democracy Week (in October) as a possible choice?

I think this is a sound idea, but we need to be clear about what we mean by the word ‘civic’ before we start planning the event.  In Swindon the Council offices are officially badged “The Civic Offices”.  Ho’w might we reclaim this word in a broader spectrum context?  Is ‘civic’ the local version of ‘civil’, as in ‘civil society’?  (Someone at a Civic Society event tried to explain it this way to me.)

Can any organisation be ‘civic’—business or charity or government quango?

How does this usage work in the context of three sectors as in ‘Third Sector’?  I am not being pedantic here; I have been struggling to organise my thinking with these terms, which seem to shift too much. 

If ‘civic’ ‘means ‘public’, then what what distinguishes ‘public sector’, ‘public services’ and ‘THE public’?  Are public spaces used by the public, or managed by the public sector?

Sorry.

My other suggestion, and my favoured one, as a possible date is in the spring with a good run up to the summer breaks, is:  24th May.

This was Commonwealth Day after the Second World War, until some vague year in the Sixties, I gather.  Before then it was Empire Day (!), having started out as Queen Victoria’s birthday until she died.

I like the idea of picking this thread back up and using it for something democratic like ‘Civic Day’.  Civic Awareness Day’; Civic Action Day; Civic Pride (ouch) Day; Citizenship Day (oops)...

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I like this suggestion BUT you do need to be careful that we do not go into competition with Heritage Open Days. Could we combine the two of them together? If this is not a solution, do let us know the date asap - we are already planning the diary for next year - albeit not much in it!

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Email question from Paul Gilbert, Northampton

A few points on the Civic Day idea if i may.

I think this is a good idea but think you will find it difficult to make it newsworthy
Will you tell civic socieites what they should do - it needs to have a theme - it cannot be a bunch of groups doing their own thing!
Will Civic Voice put this type of campaign to a vote at the AGM?

Thanks

Paul

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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My personal opinion about “days” to celebrate something is that they are well intentioned but never really make a long lasting change.

For this to work you will need to get civic societies to “own” it themselves. Speaking from experience from my own society and neighbouring groups I have met - they seem to think the solution for the network is for Civic Trust to do A, B and C - not realising - it is the lack of activity in some socieites that is the real reason for membership decline and the reputation ot NIMBY - yet some people do not realise they are the problem for others getting involved!

As much as I admire your efforts with this - and will probably get involved if the date is right - I don’t think this is the project that will get a lot of civic socieites jumping for joy but if you can give us real reasons then I would be loved to proved wrong.

I do not want to sound negative as you are doing a good job and the communications are excellent - but reality always bites!

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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We have always felt that our aim is to foster Pride of Place through supporting good planning, protecting and enhancing our heritage and when possible providing research and information so that our residents can understand and enjoy their surroundings. If a Civic Day is well thought out and has the support of the local authority, local businesses and local schools and colleges, a valuable and enjouyable day could be had by all. We do not have suitable buildings for mounting a hertiage day, but we do have an attractive market town and pretty villages and a very interesting history.

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Welcome to this first Civic Voice Live - and welcome back to all those who participated in the useful discussions on the Civic Society Initiative forum.  It is just one year and two days since the journey from the Civic Trust to Civic Voice via the Civic Society Initiative began.

Before we get going I am pleased to report we now have over 220 civic societies joined up with Civic Voice.  The momentum of the civic movement grows by the day.

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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There are lots of great ideas and suggestions already posted.  Lots to respond to as we kick off.

What do we mean by “civic”?  Well there’s probably several PhDs in that one.  One thing we can be certain of is that it is much much more than local government.  The term has certain local authority associations and for many it is a reminder of the rise of local government and fine Victorian buildings, mayoral chains and customs, much of which is an important part of our heritage today.  But this isn’t the only definition.  We deliberately chose to use the word “civic” when setting up Civic Voice - it is very contemporary as well - a sense of being public spirited, citizenship and something very much from the community. 

hw makes a good point about Heritage Open Days - we need to be clear why these are very different initiatives.  HODs is a collaboration of different organisations and volunteers across the country to throw open our heritage to the wider public.  Over 100 civic societies take part and it is a wonderful event and a key part of the calendar.  The Civic Day is very different - a celebration of your local area, going well beyond heritage, and focused on civic societies and the civic movement alone - providing you with an opportunity to raise profile, attract members and harness the support and ideas of other groups

How we knit Civic Day together out of the work of hunderds of different local groups is, as abunson flags up, the central challenge.  What are your thoughts?  We need to be very flexible so the idea can work in different places but not so broad brush that it lacks coherence.  One theme which we might use - without it being necessary for everyone to pick it up - is around young citizens.  The overwhelming call from civic societies over the last year’s debate has been to work more with young

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The key thing is that whatever you do you need to make make sure as many people as possible hear about it. We need a bigger profile if we are to get more members. I did like the news article on your website for the people in Yorkshire doing a Civic Week.

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Paul Gilbert raises some important issues.  Civic Day may not capture the national headlines but with the right presentation can raise the local profile.  It isn’t something on which there’ll be an AGM vote - indeed we need to publicise the day well before October if civic societies are to plan for it.  The success of Civic Day will depend on the fabulous ideas and enthusiasm of the volunteers around the country who will make it happen - one suggestion is we have a small steering group to help make it work and - as abunson rightly highlights - brings reality to what can be achieved so more civic societies “jump for joy”.  Melton Civic Society’s thoughts are very relevant here - showing how the Civic Day idea can adapt to meet local needs while also retaining that overall identity

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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tonyburton - 03 June 2010 10:10 AM

There are lots of great ideas and suggestions already posted.  Lots to respond to as we kick off.

What do we mean by “civic”?  Well there’s probably several PhDs in that one.  One thing we can be certain of is that it is much much more than local government.  The term has certain local authority associations and for many it is a reminder of the rise of local government and fine Victorian buildings, mayoral chains and customs, much of which is an important part of our heritage today.  But this isn’t the only definition.  We deliberately chose to use the word “civic” when setting up Civic Voice - it is very contemporary as well - a sense of being public spirited, citizenship and something very much from the community. 

hw makes a good point about Heritage Open Days - we need to be clear why these are very different initiatives.  HODs is a collaboration of different organisations and volunteers across the country to throw open our heritage to the wider public.  Over 100 civic societies take part and it is a wonderful event and a key part of the calendar.  The Civic Day is very different - a celebration of your local area, going well beyond heritage, and focused on civic societies and the civic movement alone - providing you with an opportunity to raise profile, attract members and harness the support and ideas of other groups

How we knit Civic Day together out of the work of hunderds of different local groups is, as abunson flags up, the central challenge.  What are your thoughts?  We need to be very flexible so the idea can work in different places but not so broad brush that it lacks coherence.  One theme which we might use - without it being necessary for everyone to pick it up - is around young citizens.  The overwhelming call from civic societies over the last year’s debate has been to work more with young

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Leighton asks about the best time of the year - May or more probably June has a real appeal.  It is away from other heritage events and everywhere is looking at its best but most people aren’t yet into the holiday season.  It is a year away - just about enough notice to get as many people involved as we can - and as Sarah Porter points out that is key to making it a success and raising the profile

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I have just looked at the news article that Sarah Porter mentions. Excellent! I cannot believe this is happening in Yorkshire and us in the South do not have anything similar! Civic Voice is meant to be a national body not just working in different parts of the country. It seems like you are going down the same path as the Civic Trust - only wanting to work in Yorkshire. Societies do exist elsewhere and want support and to be involved!

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Yes I think there are a number of challenges or opportunities. A number of Societies already participate in the Heritage Open Days. Before the election David Cameron talked about celebrating participation in the ‘Big Society’, civic involvement . In 2012 we have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
We can either try to compete with these events or try to give them an extra dimension. I feel we should follow the highly successful example of the early Christian church which latched on to pagan festivals.
So, for example, in 2011 we could latch on to Heritage Open days and perhaps add guided walks round bits of our towns which we consider to either be well planned or badly planned or in need of planning

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The Civic Societies Week in Yorkshire predates Civic Voice by a couple of years - it was set up at the initiative of local groups in the area and is increasingly succesful.  This year’s launch attracted great publicity.  What we are doing with Civic Voice is drawing it to everyone’s attention - the idea needs to be developed and adapted but it does seem to work

 
 
Posted: 03 June 2010 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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It would be good if any groups in Yorkshire who participated could share some stories about what they do. Maybe a chat live with one of these groups or the people who organise it?

 
 
   
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