Statement from Civic Voice: Happy New Year

Dear Colleague,

At the start of a new year, a new decade, and the start of Civic Voice's 10th anniversary, I wanted to share a few thoughts on areas of work that Civic Voice will be focusing on in 2020. I would be pleased to hear your thoughts on these via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

We will be the national lead and voice for the civic movement and will campaign on our manifesto commitments

The civic movement is made up of 252 groups, embedded in communities across England. Whether campaigning on conservation areas, or championing the high street, we are proud to lead such a positive movement. By having a long term interest in a place and being rooted in a community, civic societies can tap into key local issues and know what people need and want. 

But for many communities, they feel as though the decisions impacting their own local area, are made by national politicians and property developers. People who do not live local. We plan to change this.  We want to enhance the rights that communities have in the planning system and will be campaigning for formal right for civic societies to have a voice at every stage of the planning system. To make this work, civic societies must lead the way in being an inclusive, independent and an inspirational voice for the future of our towns. 

We will be asking whether we can put civic societies at the heart of communities and in doing so, rebuild public trust and confidence in the planning system

Public trust can be restored in the planning system, but only if people have meaningful, practical and genuine ways to influence decisions in their local area. We need to increase the public’s influence over “their place” and open the floor to many more voices. We believe the civic movement is a vehicle that can enable this to happen.

The civic movement is based on a very simple idea that people can join a local network of like-minded citizens who come together to deliberate and discuss local issues and then work collaboratively to design solutions. This is all done in a non-party political way.

We want to build on our success in getting civic societies named on national guidance by launching a national campaign to ask 'Can civic societies play a part in rebuilding public trust in the planning system?

We will be asking civic societies to consider how they can get absolutely everyone engaged in making a difference in their community 

As a movement, you have made it clear to us that you believe that we have to broaden our reach so that we involve people from all backgrounds, recruit more volunteers and put civic societies at the heart of the local community. You have told us that you want to learn from the best. There are some places that are doing valuable, visible public engagement work. For example, Southgate and District Civic Trust had a very visible participation exercise around a large local development, and Pontefract Civic Society acts as a catalyst for public engagement, widening participation and community outreach under a strategic theme of civic pride. So much positive civic action is taking place across the country and we want to celebrate and build on this. Do share with us what you are doing.

Why do we want to do all of the above?

At Civic Voice, our vision is simple: we want to see a society, where every individual can say, I care about where I live. To make that a reality, our strategy for 2020-2023 will focus on building up the membership of the civic movement to get everyone engaged in our towns, cities and villages. We hope you will work with us to make this happen.

I hope that gives you some ideas for what we will be working on in 2020 but I would love to know what you are doing and whether we could work together more. We are always keen to collaborate! You can share your thoughts via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Kind Regards
Joan HumbleChair of Civic Voice