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Inside: - Civic Trust Awards shortlist - Creating sustainable communities - Griff Rhys Jones Fundraising
Inside: - Civic Trust Awards shortlist - Creating sustainable communities - Griff Rhys Jones Fundraising
- Civic Trust Awards
- Creating sustainable
- Griff Rhys Jones
Fundraising Appeal
- News & Connections
Rhys Jones Fundraising Appeal - News & Connections The Civic Trust Membership Magazine. Winter - Spring

The Civic Trust Membership Magazine. Winter - Spring 2009 £4

Message from the President
Message from the President

I HAVE just got back from Quito in Equador, where I had to spend a little more time than I had intended, mostly in Embassies and interesting police offices because my passport went up in flames in the Galapagos. What a fascinating city though. It was the earliest point of contact for the conquistadors and though not much of the original Inca town survives, the Spanish Colonial city was built on its ruins and is so complete and unspoilt that it has Unesco status. The rest of modern Quito spreads down a valley and up towards the volcano, jammed with traffic and steadily crumbling in the damp cool climate that comes from being nine thousand feet up in the Andes. But I was interested that my new friend Jose lived in the new


town and not amongst

the splendid palaces of the old. (New is

a misnomer. The

new town is almost indistinguishable from any other part of the

built up noisy grid that stretches around the place.) Jose warned us in fact not to walk out into the old town at night. Surprisingly,

in amongst the

golden churches of the Compagnia and the staggering monastery of the Franciscans, built as

a long white-walled

redoubt around the exquisite courtyard gardens, the old town is still where the poorest people live. This is familiar. Quito is reliving the story of Palermo or Rome, or any of the great cities of Britain fifty years ago. As the old buildings lose their lustre and new suburbs spring up, so the rich abandon the inconvenience of the polluted, crumbling

Local & national news Beneath Regency splendour Sustainable living:

4 – 7 8 – 9

Rough guide to going green

10 – 11

Sustainable Communities


What could the Sustainable Communities

Act do for you?

22 – 23

Civic Societies Week


A week in the life of Corsham 14

Tools & links

Conference report: Exploring heritage-led


regeneration Fundraising briefing

16 – 17 18 – 19

Civic Society insurance


centre and the place deteriorates, even if the major buildings

don’t. There is money available to restore Quito. Everywhere you look the facades have been renewed. What are also needed are patience and confidence and those are less easy to come by. We didn’t have

it in Britain. A huge number of our city centres were seen as inconvenient and old fashioned and decrepit. We lost our

faith in restoration and preferred, in places like Glasgow or Birmingham or Sheffield, to start again or radically redraw. Of course we suffered from the Luftwaffe but not half as much as we suffered from zoning, traffic schemes and bright new futures. When on tour, I once got a lift back to my hotel with an ex member of Bradford council. As we jumped out of the car and started to clamber over the crash barriers to cross to the motorway that now runs through the middle of this historic city, he wound

down the window of his car and, pointed to a high-rise bridged flyover walkway thing. “Why don’t you take the route we built for you?” he shouted. The answer was because it looked dark, frightening and wet and would take much longer than scrambling over the highway. (Like everybody else from the scuff marks). What governments often want, or wanted, was to clear human beings out of their shopping centres and to put their faith is the “vibrancy” of commercial interests. To serve these forces we faced the miserable prospect of road engineers in Newcastle waiting eagerly for their Georgian buildings to fall into dereliction so that they could put up new car parks. For the last fifty years, and with a lot of hand wringing and crocodile tears, commercial interests have hi-jacked our town centres. They wanted bigger and bigger shops and have reordered our towns and cities to accommodate them.

and have reordered our towns and cities to accommodate them. Recently there has been quite a

Recently there has been quite a fight back. As the donut dream of the suburb crumbles and a new generation find the transport systems less entrancing than they were promised, so they have sought flats in the centre of town. In Leeds and Manchester people have come back to live in the centre. In London and Edinburgh, of course they never left it because it was built and stayed beautiful. Perhaps in Quito they will eventually do the same too, especially if the place is kept lovely for them. In too many of our cities it has not. Gavin Stamp’s book called (if I remember it correctly) “Vanished Cities” gives a vivid flavour of what we lost: not Spanish Colonial, perhaps, but often British Imperial. The recession is already having a huge effect on retail centres. Rows of shopping malls are beginning to stand empty. Unlike old fashioned market towns, unlike lovely Quito, they cannot easily be turned back into housing. I wonder if we will live to regret having made our inner cities into potential deserts, not just after five thirty pm but for the rest of the day as well? Griff Rhys Jones

Message from the Chairman

AT THE end of 2008

– global crisis year – one

Christmas story resonated

with me. Reindeers – Father Christmas’ faithful engines

– can no longer reach their

Arctic foraging grounds because of loss of habitat caused by global warming and human activity. So the Norwegian government has taken to hauling them there by boat, 600 at a time. The grimness of this image chimes with reports of drowning polar bears, loss of livelihood for the Inuit peoples and the impending vast escape of carbon accompanying the thawing

of permafrost. What has that to do with Civic Societies? Faced

with global issues, inaction

is a tempting response

– after all surely it is for

governments to sort this stuff out? If that were so, there would be no need for

a civic movement at all. I believe that a national movement can and should play its part in influencing governments, while shaping its own environment and equipping its members to play their own individual roles. If we are not helping preserve our towns and

cities to bequeath a better

future for our children, how do we justify our existence? And global warming is the most crucial determinant of

our future quality of life. So, yes, as a national organisation we should be involved in the debate as to solutions and the allocation of resources. As

a regional organisation, we

should be pressing locally for action – be it sustainable transport, renewable energy generation or energy saving measures. At local level we should be helping our members make individually responsible decisions

and equipping them with the campaigning tools to influence public and private sector organisations to play

their part, be they schools,

council offices or shops.

There is no issue so big that

it is beyond the ability of

individuals to seek to make

a difference. The Government is increasingly showing signs

of wanting to empower local activists and organisations

– this is a core theme for

Communities and Local Government – and the Civic Society movement should be ideally placed to help

• Cover: The Rotunda, one of the nominees for the Civic Trust Awards, see pages 4 – 5. Plus: Griff Rhys Jones (p18), a visitor to Brighton (p8) & Angela Brady (p10) Left: historic Quito at night. Photo from Flickr/Dimplemonkey Photos: Tony Bartholomew, Nick Tyson, Paul Cornwell

forge stronger relationships between local government and the communities they serve. The Civic Trust Board, together with its interim Managing Director, Greg Andrews, is conscious of the need to form a better bridge between, on the one hand, the Civic Societies,

and the other, the Trust’s successful programmes. The aim is to improve the cohesiveness of the organisation and to give local people a stronger role in positive measures for the improvement of their communities. A great recent example is Purple Flag – the Civic Trust’s new programme for making the night time economy a safer, more accessible, more entertaining and diverse

environment. This has received a huge amount of

enthusiasm among national and local government and the national press, and will launch later this year. We hope that local Civic

Society members will wish to play a full role in local implementation of this programme. Since the night time economy is such an important facet of our local environments I was pleased to deliver a lecture in Leeds as to how Civic Societies could become more involved in the licensing process. The lecture can now be seen online at www. It is an example of how we can, and should, use new technology to communicate with each other more effectively, and I pay tribute to our Civic Societies Manager, Ian Harvey,

I pay tribute to our Civic Societies Manager, Ian Harvey, whose idea this was. There are

whose idea this was. There are 250,000 Civic Society members out there. Although times are hard for us all, I remain convinced that if we can link up with each other better - and raise the funds to allow the movement to stand on its own two feet – the future for our movement is rosy. Happy New Year! Philip Kolvin

• Grass Roots is your

quarterly update magazine. We hope you enjoy it. Please share your copy as widely as you can as a way of telling members and the public more about what we all do. You can send your feedback, updates, case studies, articles, events and reviews to Ian Harvey at uk. You can also contact Griff Rhys Jones or

Philip Kolvin by emailing

Ian, marking your email

for Griff or Philip.

• Grass Roots printed

by Headley Bros Ltd on

recycled & sustainable-

mix paper with non-

toxic inks.

• Layout & pre-press

by Clare-Marie White & Civic Trust staff.


News Including Everyone – The Civic Trust Inclusive Design Award As a recognition of quality and
News Including Everyone – The Civic Trust Inclusive Design Award As a recognition of quality and

Including Everyone – The Civic Trust Inclusive Design Award

As a recognition of quality and merit, the Civic Trust Awards offer a unique opportunity to identify the positive contributions made by designers towards the spaces and environments they have created and to the life experiences of the communities that will use them. To receive an Award, a project must be able to demonstrate that it is outstanding in its field, and that key issues such as inclusive design, sustainability and community involvement have been appropriately considered and addressed. In addition to receiving a general Award, successful projects may also be considered for a series of Special Awards to acknowledge and recognise excellence within a particular area. One such area is that of Inclusive Design. Designing inclusively requires a

much broader approach than simply designing to meet the needs of disabled people or in providing a place that only meets minimum legislative requirements such as those set out in the Building Regulations. Therefore, in setting the standard for the Inclusive Design Award, the Civic Trust has adopted the Principles of Inclusive Design set out by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). In essence, CABE’s Principles highlight the need for a design to accommodate the needs of all the people who will use it and for it not to impose barriers that might prevent them enjoying and participating equally, confidently, safely and independently in the everyday activities that take place there. The view set by CABE and supported by the Civic Trust is that

“good design is inclusive design, and design that is not inclusive is not good enough”. In deciding this Special Award, the Trust is also looking for applications that have clearly demonstrated how important issues such as consultation and user involvement have informed and influenced the design process, and can show evidence of where it has enhanced the final outcome. In 2008, several projects were able to identify how design had been used to address inclusion. However, the winner of the Inclusive Design Award, The Roundhouse, demonstrated much more clearly how addressing inclusion was integral to the overall success of the project, and how that was achieved in the very difficult area of refurbishment to an existing public access building. Professor Keith Bright

Sponsor profile: Bristan Bristan is the largest supplier of bathroom taps, showers, shower enclosures, decorative
Sponsor profile: Bristan
Bristan is the largest supplier of bathroom taps,
showers, shower enclosures, decorative heating and
bathroom accessories in the UK and is the number
one supplier of choice among consumers, plumbers,
retailers and specifiers alike.
The company has over 100 products within its
inclusive design portfolio and, with the help of a team
of dedicated designers and a specialist occupational
therapy advisor, is investing heavily in extending the
range and launching a host of exciting new products in
As well as sponsoring the Civic Trust Awards,
Bristan is involved in a number of community-led
initiatives supporting local colleges and schools within
its area. It is also working to minimise its impact on
the environment and has a vision to become the UK’s
leading ethical, environmentally-friendly bathroom
business. Part of this is helping the consumer to
achieve a more sustainable lifestyle by continual
investment into water efficient products. Bristan’s
current range
has been
endorsed by
the Bathroom Manufacturers Association under its
Water Efficient Labelling Scheme.
Judith Gibbons, Head of Marketing at Bristan,
explains more about why the company is sponsoring
the Inclusive Design Award.
“At Bristan, we believe that everybody deserves
good design irrespective of age or ability; no one
should feel alienated by the design of the buildings,
public spaces or products that they use. This is why
we continue to invest in bringing bathroom products to
market that are well designed, aesthetically appealing
and accessible to the largest number of people
“It’s extremely encouraging that so many
organisations that we have seen through our
partnership with the Civic Trust share our vision,
which is why we are very proud to be supporting the
Inclusive Design Award.”
Civic Trust Awards 2009 - shortlist announced One hundred and five buildings, public spaces and

Civic Trust Awards 2009 - shortlist announced

One hundred and five buildings, public spaces and developments have been shortlisted for the Civic Trust Awards 2009. One of the oldest built environment schemes in Europe, the Civic Trust Awards will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. The Civic Trust Awards are unique in that they not only recognise architectural excellence, but also highlight those buildings which bring a real benefit to their local communities. Each building is judged by a team which comprises an architect, inclusive design assessor, local authority representative and a member of the local community. The views of the people who use, pass by, or live near the buildings are as important to the Civic Trust as those of the professionals who design and build the schemes. There are three levels

who design and build the schemes. There are three levels of recognition - Awards, Commendations and
who design and build the schemes. There are three levels of recognition - Awards, Commendations and

of recognition - Awards, Commendations and Mentions, and the shortlisted schemes will find out their results at the 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on 18th March 2009 at the Emirates Stadium in London. The full shortlist is available on the Civic Trust Awards website ( uk), and includes: Kew Treetop Walkway and Rhizotron (pictured, left, photo: David Churchill), Kielder Observatory, St Pancras Station, Titan Crane, Clydebank, Debenhams, Liverpool, Brockwell Lido (above, photo: Peter Durant), Sunderland Aquatic Centre, The De La Warr Pavilion, Nant Clwydd House, Ruthin, Leeds City Hall, Rotunda, William Smith Museum of Geology, Scarborough (cover) Strule Arts Centre, Omagh If you would like any further information, please contact Malcolm Hankey on 0151 231 6906 or email

Vote for your favourite Civic Trust Award Winner from the last 50 years

From cafes and churches to housing and hospitals, the Civic Trust has rewarded over 5,500 buildings which have made a difference to local people and their communities by providing the design and facilities which have made better places for people. In 2009, the Civic Trust Awards is celebrating its 50th anniversary and to commemorate this, we would like to recognise and reward a scheme that is considered to be the most successful Civic Trust Award winner over the past 50 years, voted for by you. For further information, to view the shortlist and vote, visit

Tickets for the 50th Anniversary Civic Trust Awards Ceremony are now on sale from Hosted by the Trust’s President, Griff Rhys Jones, and with a keynote speech by world renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell, the event will be held on 18th March 2009 at the Emirates Stadium, London.

In brief


PETER BEMBRIDGE left the Civic Trust at the end of October 2008, to pursue other interests. Peter has been with the Trust since April 2004, initially as Director of Operations, and since July 2005 as Managing Director. During Peter’s time with the Trust there have been many innovations and our activi- ties have grown and expanded to include High Street, Purple Flag and the Built Environment Network. We have also seen the introduction of all the technology from which we now benefit, and many structural changes which have strengthened the organisation. The Trustees would like to thank Peter for his contribution over the last four and a half years and wish him all the best for the future.

GREG ANDREWS has joined the Civic Trust as Interim Managing Director, and will be based at the Trust’s headquarters in London. Greg is an experienced interim executive, with recent experience including Director posts at the London Development Agency, and The National Foundation for Youth Music. Greg also has considerable experience in the financial services industry, and is a welcome addition to the Civic Trust team. You can contact Greg at iharvey@civictrust. marking FAO: Greg Andrews

PHILIP KOLVIN, the Civic Trust Chairman, recently gave a talk to a group of Civic Societies in Leeds. This free event was an opportunity for Civic Societies to directly gain advice from a top barrister. Philip practises in the field of licensing, regulation, planning and local gov- ernment and is Head of the Licens- ing Team at 2-3 Grays Inn Square and Chairman of the Institute of Licensing. You can view the talk Philip gave at:

can view the talk Philip gave at: TV IN 1971, the Civic Trust produced a


IN 1971, the Civic Trust produced a 35 min- ute film about conservation areas in England, their threats and the way forward. The film helped

‘A Future for the Past’

capture the essence of what is beautiful about our towns, village and cities with the abundance of heritage around us. The video is as relevant today as it was nearly 40 years ago and it is now available to view at Copies can also be purchased by emailing or calling 0151 231 6908.

DISCOVERING RETFORD, a DVD produced in 2007 by the Retford Civic Soci- ety, provides a tour of the town’s heritage. Simon Groom, who narrates the film, takes audiences on a journey through the town, detailing the history and stories behind local landmarks such as Carolgate, Grove Street, the Majestic Theatre and St Swithun’s Church, there is also a meeting with a surprise guest in the White Hart Yard. The film is part of Retford Civic Society’s phase one community restoration proj- ect which has involved a series of area improvements including new information boards around the town and canal, planters, plaques, extra seating and Victo- rian street lighting in some areas.

SHARE YOUR videos, walks and talks! The Civic Trust would like to make Civic Trust TV into a true one stop shop for videos that can be accessed by all Civic Societies, so whether you have recorded a question time session or have a video highlighting your town, why not send it to us and we will upload if for you. Send your video to

video to Policy THE CIVIC TRUST has responded to the consultation


THE CIVIC TRUST has responded to the consultation Plan- ning for a Better London. We have focused our comments largely on community aspects of the proposals, and on our views as to how the Mayor should aim to benefit from the experi- ence and enthusiasm of Londoners - which we consider was discouraged by the GLA in past years - and ensure wider support for his aims and poli- cies by engaging as wide a public as feasible in the planning of their own City. Please visit the website to read the full response.

IN JANUARY 2007, the

Government announced proposals for

a new agency to deliver housing and

regeneration in England. The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 received Royal Assent in July 2008, paving the way for the official launch of the Homes and Communities Agency and the Tenants Services Authority (the

regulatory body for Registered Social Landlords) on 1 December 2008. The Homes and Communities Agency is

a non-departmental public body and

their sponsor government department

is Communities and Local Govern-

ment (CLG). To learn more about this organisation please visit

Strategy THE CIVIC TRUST has developed a strategy to take it forward over the next


THE CIVIC TRUST has developed a strategy to take it forward over the next three years. This document sets out our strategic objectives and our vision. We have also launched the Annual Review of Activities 2008, which highlights the successes of the Trust and our members. From the Civic Trust Awards scheme to Heritage Open Days, the Civic Trust and its members have worked hard to create and celebrate better places for people. Both documents are available by contacting

Network news

by contacting Network news Projects Assessors needed for Purple Flag accreditation for


Assessors needed for Purple Flag accreditation for towns and city centres

for Purple Flag accreditation for towns and city centres Are you involved in managing and developing

Are you involved in managing and developing the night time economy? We are currently recruiting experienced practitioners to become assessors for Purple Flag. Purple Flag is the new “standard” for entertainment and hospitality zones at night. It is a fresh approach to nightlife, linked to the standards that people expect from their town centres. The Civic Trust is launching Purple Flag in Spring 2009. To find out more, please visit the Purple Flag website. We are looking for a wide range of experienced practitioners involved in managing and developing the night time economy - Police Officers, Town Centre Managers, Business Improvement District Managers, Licensing Officers, Licensees, Planning Officers, Transport workers, Environmental Health Officers, members of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships. To find out more or register your interest in becoming an assessor please phone Paul Todd on 0151 231 6904 or email


THE FREE 2009 Civic Society Training pro- gramme, jointly funded by English Heritage, is designed to demonstrate how Civic Societies can widen community involvement in the his- toric built environment by developing projects

that will make it more relevant and attractive to young people and BME community members. We will be offering a number of training events where you will:

· Learn from examples of innovative best prac-

tice up and down the country

· Consider the challenges and opportunities be-

ing faced by us all within our built environment To book onto these events please visit www. or for further infor- mation call 0151 231 6908 or email us at

DID YOU MISS the live Civic Society discussion on Conservation Areas? Don’t worry; you can still visit the forum to see the discussion that took place. We heard from Elizabeth Allison, Sutton Coldfield Civic Society who answered questions from civic societies about conservation area appraisals based on her experiences. To access the discussion please click viewthread/95. See also page 20. The Civic Trust plan on making this a weekly initiative, if you would like to share your experiences with other civic societies on the forum email

CHESTER CIVIC TRUST are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2010 and they have many things planned for 2010 including a Jubilee Dinner to get things off to a flying start! Chester Civic Trust would like to know if any other Civic Societies are celebrat- ing a similar anniversary as they would like to discuss joint work. If you are why not let us know by emailing helpdesk@

Beneath Regency splendour Casting a light on the small and humble Nick Tyson on a

Beneath Regency splendour

Casting a light on the small and humble

Nick Tyson on a new approach to heritage participation in Brighton

Brighton & Hove’s contribution to Heritage Open Days, Brighton & Hove Open Door, can pride itself on

being one of those few local events which have been running as long as the national scheme. The event

is co-ordinated by The Regency

Town House (, an

organisation, based in a Grade I listed mid-1820s terraced property in Hove’s Brunswick Square, which is being developed as a heritage centre with

a focus on the City’s rich architectural

legacy. Open Door 2008 exceeded all local expectations with 52 venues and activities on offer, attracting more than 4,000 people. The key theme chosen for 2008

was “Industrial Landscape”, and its flagship project “The Foundry Street Event”, designed to introduce local residents and Open Door visitors to the history of a typical early 19th century Brighton street and the people who lived and worked there between the 1820s and the 1970s. Guided tours took in selected private houses in Foundry Street, an information point was positioned centrally in the thoroughfare and posters, attached to the front elevation of each property, listed 150 years of occupancy history. Large, eye-catching posters at either end of the street gave an outline of the street’s history. Foundry Street takes its name from the now demolished Regent Iron and Brass Foundry and is located in the centre of the North Laine; a one-time

and is located in the centre of the North Laine; a one-time industrial area that was

industrial area that was scheduled for demolition in the 1970s. Having avoided this fate, it now provides housing and work areas for a broad cross-section of the community, but

is still considered by many Brighton &

Hove residents to have relatively little

going for it, on either the architectural or historical fronts. It was decided to stage the Foundry Street Event for two main reasons:

firstly, to emphasise that lesser known, smaller houses and streets are also an important part of our City’s architectural, social and cultural heritage and secondly, to provide an opportunity for the current occupants of those properties to participate in Open Door as venues and guides. David Roberts, a volunteer Open Door organiser, agrees: “There is

a general tendency to look at our

architectural heritage solely in terms of the grand houses, public buildings and places of worship; the living spaces and workplaces of the people that built, supplied and serviced those buildings, and many more besides, are virtually ignored.” Heritage Open Days is about celebrating the diversity of places that make up our communities and highlights the humble and familiar next to the design classics and hidden gems. But it is true that the national programme is still dominated by the sacred and grand while small,

privately occupied, secular dwellings are a tiny minority. This is a great missed opportunity, in my view. By encouraging the participation of

Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days If your society feels inspired to find out more, please get in touch
Heritage Open Days If your society feels inspired to find out more, please get in touch
Heritage Open Days If your society feels inspired to find out more, please get in touch
Heritage Open Days If your society feels inspired to find out more, please get in touch

If your society feels inspired to find out more, please get in touch with Katja Condy, Heritage Open Days Manager, at uk

smaller private properties in the event, we hope to make more people aware of our architectural heritage. People are motivated to understand things that are directly relevant to them. The home seems like a good place to start with. More than 1,000 people visited Foundry Street during the nine hours the event took place. Five small North Laine/East Steine area properties opened to the public for the first time – needless to say that these tours were fully booked. The event’s success also encouraged other residents to become involved and open up their home in the future. Furthermore, it unearthed previously unknown historical materials about Foundry Street, held by local residents, and generated new information from former residents who visited during the event. The Open Door team hopes to establish an oral history programme in response to this. Perhaps most significantly, the Foundry Street Event also stimulated ten expressions of interest from local groups keen to develop a similar event in their street for Open Door 2009. To this end, sixteen people signed up to receive training courses offered at the Brighton History Centre in conjunction with Open Door and a similar number

are attending courses at The Town House to learn

how to identify and collate the historical information required. It was difficult to convince locals that they could be participants in Heritage Open Days. There were concerns about letting strangers into their homes, so security issues needed to be addressed and alleviated. They also worried about whether they would have sufficient information about their property to make a visit interesting. By setting up an event that focused on the occupancy records for their homes and the street’s varied history, these inhibitions were quickly overtaken by the fascination of what was revealed and the fun of sharing this with others. If up-scaled trials in 2009 prove successful, and Open Door visitors continue to express their support for Foundry Street-like events, the Regency Town House plans to stage a limited national roll-out of the concept in 2010. By then, it is hoped that organisers will be offered access to a website providing event set-up and delivery information, and an online

database to assist with the collation of the historical information gathered during the preparatory phase.


Standard head


Starting points

It was great to have the opportunity to speak at the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies Quarterly Meeting in Ripon a few weeks ago and there was a real interest from people as to what they can do themselves to be more eco friendly and make their own homes more efficient, cost effective and sustainable. I thought I would put together some rough guidance on “ways to go green”. There are some very informative websites and people friendly drop in centres where you can get readily available information leaflets and guidance and advice on what energy grants are available in your area from the Government. There are energy drop in offices and The Energy Savings Trust have a great website which will give you step by step guidance on how to insulate your home, make critical savings and where to seek help with grants. They also have a useful Home Energy Check which will give you an idea of how efficient your home is. The starting point really is to see how much energy our homes are using and to see if we can cut this down without feeling the pinch or changing your life style dramatically. You can purchase an energy plug and see how much energy each appliance uses or a meter to see how much your household is using at any one time. In winter we need a warm home using minimum energy and in Summer it needs to be naturally cool and also well ventilated.

Rough guide to going green

by Angela Brady, Architect, TV presenter and Vice-Chair of the Civic Trust Awards National Panel

and Vice-Chair of the Civic Trust Awards National Panel Insulation If we create a warm box

Insulation If we create a warm box then we will not have to pay a fortune to heat it to keep warm in Winter. In the UK there are estimated to be around 8 million homes without adequate insulation. Insulating your loft with 200mm

– 300mm / 8” -12” of insulation will have an immediate result and reduced energy bills. It is relatively easy to

install and there are special offers at present. Cavity wall insulation can be pumped in through temporary small gaps made in the walls without much disruption and solid walls can be insulated on the outside, but this will depend on the type of finish there is – if it is Victorian brickwork with mouldings in a conservation area

– then it will not be an easy option.

The building regulations only apply to new build homes or works being carried out to existing ones, so much of the older housing stock is still below minimum standard of basic insulation. Make a commitment to insulate your walls and loft, and do it this month if affordable. Take action now.

Windows: glazing or sealing Like walls much heat is lost through single glazing. The building regulations insist on double glazing for new homes and even limits the amount of glass, but the older housing stock is well behind current standards. If double glazing is too expensive then consider secondary glazing which consists of large glass sheets which are clipped on in front of the windows in winter and then stored away in Summer, good for cutting out sound too. I always avoid uPVC

double glazed windows. uPVC is not

a sustainable material and their life is

short. There are many good manufacturers of timber windows. If affordable I favour the timber inside and metal exterior double glazed units. Shutters and interlined heavy curtains in winter can add further insulation.

Sealing draughts

It is amazing the difference cutting

out a draught makes. Properly sealed windows and doors are key to keeping your home warm. Sash window and

door sealants are easily available, but don’t cut out the necessary ventilation to your rooms as important minimum standards are set for ventilation with trickle vents and airbricks. Take care if you have a gas effect fire, gas fire or real fire as enough oxygen is needed for your health and safety. A hall door when open can suck most of the heat from your home in seconds. Add a draught lobby

if possible or even a heavy duty

interlined curtain over a hall door. Add a flap to the letterbox too to keep

draughts at bay.

Cut your carbon footprint

We should all be reducing our impact on the planet by reducing our CO2. Too much carbon is being dumped into the atmosphere and because it

is colourless odourless and invisible

we are not easily aware of our direct and devastating impact. We have little time left to make a difference to save us from irreversible atmospheric changes which will further affect future generations. If we all make an effort

now we can make a huge difference. Homes contribute to 50 per cent of CO2 emissions. We should be aiming at 1 tonne per person per year or less. At present the average UK citizen uses 8 tonnes! There are lots of simple and practical ways to make a difference and reduce our carbon footprint. Want to find out what your carbon footprint is? calculator/start Cut your car usage and walk more, consider a car share and use public transport. Not only will you be fitter, but you will save loads of money on petrol and live in a cleaner healthier atmosphere. Wear warmer clothes and cut the thermostat to 18 C. The less energy used in our homes the less carbon is used on heating and cooling. Buying energy efficient home appliances saves energy and money. If your boiler is over 14 years old you could replace it with a quality highly efficient condensing boiler or add solar panels or geothermal power in rural areas for water heating. Regarding holidays and flights, I think in this economic downturn more people will holiday at home in UK which will save on millions of air miles. Dave Hampton is the Carbon Coach and you can get personal advice form him on how to reduce your CO2. Change all your light bulbs to low energy ones– it’s easy to do and cuts your bills too. or join a campaign and act on CO2 reduction now


CO2 reduction now actonco2 Food choices & recycling Our food choices make up 30

Food choices & recycling Our food choices make up 30 per cent of our carbon footprint, which we can reduce by buying locally and choosing fruit and veg in season - which tastes much better too. Check the labels before buying

food and see how far it has travelled. Start growing your own in a pot, plot or garden. When cooking meals it is cheaper, more efficient and saves energy to cook in bulk. You can make this a sociable event and get together with friends to have

a “Cookathon” – cooking several pots

at the same time. It can be done by

barter or sharing buying of vegetables and other foods. Getting together

is a great communal event too.

Whether it‘s a day of making lasagne, bolognaise or vegetable curries, all can be eaten freshly or frozen. It will certainly be an economic way to cook home made meals and a lot healthier than those in supermarkets. Swap soups, hot pots and veg dishes to give variety and choice among friends. It makes a practical present to give someone home cooked meals. Collect your vegetable peelings to reuse in the garden. Over 30 per

cent of an average household bin can be composted at home, from vegetable peelings to teabags. Home composting diverts waste from landfill,

saving on climate change emissions and it can also provide a free compost for the garden. If you don’t have a garden, you can still stop compost waste going to landfill, find out whether your local council has a green waste collection or take it to your local civic amenity site. Herb gardens are easy to start up or plant a fruit tree and make jam in season.

Ban the plastic bag Count the number of plastic bags you are casually given in a weeks

shopping - then multiply by 52 - and you may have a staggering 1,000 per year. Plastic bags can last for

a hundred years and contribute to

ground and river pollution and harm wildlife. Make a choice to ban the

plastic bag and use simple non plastic reusable bags. A good family reminder

is to have a penalty of 20p for every

bag if you forget. Amazing how it all adds up! Put it towards your budget to make your house green. In the next issue I will be giving tips on using and saving water and other ways to cut your energy bills.

You can ask Angela a question by emailing marking your email: FAO Angela.

Living sustainably

Living sustainably Transition towns Transition Towns are towns that adopted a “transition initiative” to respond to

Transition towns

Transition Towns are towns that adopted

a “transition initiative” to respond to the

challenges and opportunities of peak oil and climate change. What is a Transition Initiative?

A Transition Initiative is a community

working together address the issue of

peak oil and climate change. The object

is to increase the resilience of a local

community to the effects of peak oil and to reduce carbon emissions. Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal


The group carries out the following tasks:

• awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake

a community lead process to rebuild resilience and reduce carbon

connecting with existing groups in the


• building bridges to local government

connecting with other transition initiatives forming groups to look at all the key areas

of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart

& soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)

• kicking off projects aimed at building

people’s understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement eventually launching a community defined, community implemented “Energy Descent

Action Plan” over a 15 to 20 year timescale What is an Energy Descent Action Plan? An energy descent action plan looks at how

a community could make the transition from

a high energy consumption town to a low energy one in response to the challenge of the impending peaking of world oil production. The plan sets out a clear vision of a

lower energy future, and then identifying

a clear timetable for achieving it. This

often includes all aspects of life such as food, energy, transport, housing, tourism, education and health. You can find out more about Transition towns, including a list of Transition Towns in the UK at

The Environmental Law Foundation’s Sustainable Communities Project

The decline in local biodiversity and the loss of open green space is a predominant concern among those seeking help and support from the Environmental Law Foundation’s (ELF) legal team. ELF has responded therefore with the launch of its Sustainable Communities Project (SC project) which will help local communities to raise their concerns more forcefully by using the mechanisms set out in the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. The SC project was launched on the 11th November 2008 during the Seventh National Pro Bono Week. The event attracted some 50 community groups and interested participants from around the UK. 10 Civic Societies were offered a free place at the event, paid for by the Trust. Over 15 representatives of Civic Societies attended the event, amongst them representing hundreds more Societies. The principal aim of the SC project is to provide local communities with the legal tools to enable them to implement at local level the provisions of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. In order to assist local community groups ELF will work with regional volunteer co-ordinators to provide local events on the SCA and help community groups throughout the regions to network on environmental problems at

a more strategic regional level. ELF believes the Act presents new and

exciting opportunities for local groups to be engaged in environmental democracy by bringing about real change in the environmental policies of local authorities. In launching the SC project ELF were fortunate to host some excellent speakers including Nick Hurd MP, who sponsored the private members bill through Parliament, Ron Bailey of Unlock Democracy and Local Works and Mike Benner of CAMRA. Each of these speakers had been instrumental in the realization of the Sustainable Communities Bill becoming law. This was illustrated as each speaker was able to speak

with real enthusiasm amongst about the possibilities the Act presented.

It felt like a new dawn for local democracy.

Now is an ideal time for local communities to lobby their Councils to achieve maximum involvement in the Act. ELF can assist groups

in achieving this by providing training on the Act and networking local

community groups through its regional volunteer scheme. ELF’s aim

is to ensure that every local authority participates in the Act and help

local community groups to take up their places on the Citizens Panels,

and therefore be part of the forum for proposing local solutions to local problems. We hope all those who attended the event will support us in this new and exciting project and we are keen to hear from anyone interested

in advising local community groups on ways to present more strategic

proposals at a regional level. The event was well received and feedback was extremely positive. The event also helped to highlight the possibilities for further future collaboration between the Environmental Law Foundation and the Civic Trust, both working as a voice for local communities. Emma Montlake: Website:

Skipton in Craven win award in first ever Civic Societies Week The results of the

Skipton in Craven win award in first ever Civic Societies Week

The results of the first ever Yorkshire & Humber Civic Societies Week, held in the summer, were announced at a successful event held at Ripon last October. The winners were Skipton in Craven Civic Society who won a trophy and were presented with a cheque for £250. The trophy was sponsored by Planners, Urbanists and Architects, Spawforth Rolinson Ltd and their chairman, Peter Spawforth MBE, was at the event to present the trophy and certificates. The event was also supported by public relations company Different PR of Harrogate and the Civic Trust. Skipton showed great enterprise during Civic Societies Week. They organised a research project, held library and town centre displays, held a guided walk of town development sites and hired a canal boat for a day with a banner fixed to the side and had members issuing literature about the Society. However, the high number of entries received meant that it would have been difficult to recognise the achievements of just one Society so, after the style of the national Civic Trust Awards, commendations and mentions were also awarded. Commendations were presented to Bridlington, Harrogate and Ripon Civic Societies with Certificates of Mention going to Castleford Civic Trust, Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Civic Society and Huddersfield, Selby, Spen Valley and Wakefield Civic Societies. Civic Societies Week was masterminded by YHACS, the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies, which was established in 1999 to support and promote the work of the region’s Societies and represent them at regional level. The whole event was organised by a small team from the YHACS committee, led by Kevin Trickett. Peter Cooper, Chairman of YHACS said: ’We were delighted with how this whole event went, it was an entirely new idea for us but we know that, to thrive, our movement has to be progressive and demonstrate that it is ready to tackle future challenges and embrace change. Our Societies have shown they can do this and even enjoy themselves at the same time.’ The aim of Civic Societies Week was to raise the profile of the Civic Society movement across the region and celebrate the important work that Societies do in providing a community voice on development and regeneration matters. 34 Societies from across the Yorkshire and Humber region took part in the week-long event from Saturday 21st June through to Sunday 29th June by hosting their own activities, putting on displays and events, and running campaigns. Following on from the success of this year’s event, the YHACS committee is pleased to announce that Civic Societies Week 2009 will run from Saturday, June 27th to Sunday July 5th. We hope that we can build on the success of 2008 to make Civic Societies Week 2009 an even bigger event. Peter Cooper

bigger event. Peter Cooper Sponsor profile: Spawforths Spawforths have donated a

Sponsor profile: Spawforths

Spawforths have donated a trophy and sponsored YHACS’s first Civic Societies week in recognition of the initiatives, continuity and enthusiasm of these societies. In making the first annual award to Skipton in Craven Civic Society Peter said that for over forty years he has worked in partnership with Civic Societies and over twenty five of these were from inside local government. They provide a voice when no one is there to speak out. Over thirty years ago a member of one Society told Peter that it was created because ‘they’ did nothing about it and then realised that the ‘they’ could become ‘us’ if a Civic Society was formed; and it was. Peter said, “Government tends to work in short cycles of four or five years driven by a political agenda and the investment community whether developing a major block or placing a dormer window on a bungalow is driven by economics. Civic Societies are the jam in the sandwich between authorities and investors. They provide continuity and enthusiasm and can jam the machinery of decision makers quite affectively for

a while whilst schemes are re-examined. The final

result is usually worth their extra effort.” Spawforths are town planners, urbanists and architects, the company sponsored YHACS Civic Societies week and provided the Peter Spawforth Trophy which will be awarded annually to a Civic Society in Yorkshire and the Humber Region for outstanding achievement. Peter has recently retired as Chairman to become Life President of Spawforths. The trophy is made of plum wood and it comes from Guisborough. Plum wood is a source of

material for musical instruments, recorders and the lute as well as plums for jam making. Peter Spawforth recalled, “It happens that Guisborough is the home of a once great medieval priory with its own orchards and if we go back almost exactly six hundred years then at that time one of my ancestors Thomas de Spofforth was Abbot of St Mary’s Abbey in York. It would be nice to think that on an occasion around 1408 these two clergymen met at Guisborough for a meal and partook of jam made from damsons taken from

a priory tree never dreaming that in six hundred

years its progeny would provide this trophy – who


– who knows?” For more information email 13
The week-commencing Monday, 24th November was rather a special one for the Corsham Civic Society,

The week-commencing Monday, 24th November was rather a special one for the Corsham Civic Society, located in North Wiltshire, 8 miles east of Bath. Peter Tapscott, member of the Society and of the Civic Trust’s National Committee, takes up the story.

Over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I attended the Churches Tourism Association’s AGM wwww.churchestourismassociati and bi-annual Convention at Swanwick in Derbyshire. This was relevant to the Society’s work, through it being a founder member of something called the Corsham Area Development Trust, in being the Coordinator of one of the five Pathfinders for the national ASPIRE Project, presently being led by the Churches Conservation Trust. Ours is called the ‘North Wiltshire Pathfinder’. The other ones are concentrated on Northumberland, Liverpool/ Manchester, Herefordshire and Central Bristol. Above all else it was an opportunity for networking. There were just so many people gathered in the one place, all with a common interest in making Places of Worship the focal points in the community – not only for actual worship but for all sorts of other purposes; visiting and integration with other forms of tourism that support the so-called ‘tourism economy’, musical performances, meeting venues, etc., etc. The attendance list ran to over 135 people. Presentations were delivered by Sir Roy Strong, Lloyd Grossman and many others. The ASPIRE team were there in force. All that required a quick drive up the Fosse, M69 and M1 – and back again. The train took the strain on Thursday. The Corsham Civic

A week in the life of Corsham Civic Society

Society has been undertaking the Mayo Memorial Restoration Project since the summer of 2006. This is one of those Local Heritage Initiative projects, now subsumed into the

Heritage Lottery Fund. Yes, it involves the restoration of a stone memorial to

a Victorian philanthropist who did a

lot for Corsham. However, you don’t get nearly £25k from the LHI/HLF for simply restoring a stone edifice.

You also need to embark upon a major undertaking to achieve greater community awareness as to why the monument came to be erected

in the first place. This required, for us, that we secure the participation of several schools and various local groups. Members of the Society threw themselves into this wholeheartedly

– achieving increased public profile

for the Society in the surrounding

towns as a result. (Increased profile = increased recruiting.) It was, without doubt, the latter increasing community awareness aspect which led Peter to making

a trip to London on Thursday. The

Corsham Civic Society had been selected for the 2008 Marsh Award, as administered by the Public Monuments & Sculpture Association, assisted by English Heritage, for its work on the Mayo Restoration Project. The presentation was made by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, President of the PMSA, at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House. A truly glittering venue and occasion! Friday had its own special features. Apart from it being the day to put the finishing touches to the latest Quarterly Progress Report and Inkind

Report for the HLF-funded Mayo Restoration Project – don’t they come around frequently (thank goodness the project is almost finished) – there

was the November Corsham Civic Society ‘Open Meeting’ to prepare for and speak at. The Society, along with most others, no doubt, publishes a regular newsletter. Ours is called ‘Corsham Spotlight’. It comes out three times a year. The November 2008 edition was ready for distribution to members at this Open Meeting. Editions can be viewed on the Society’s website, www., under ‘Newsletter Archive’. All are ‘rattlin’ good reads’! This edition of ‘Corsham Spotlight’ was our launch vehicle for the Griff Rhys Jones Membership appeal (see page 18 for more information). Each copy contained the membership leaflet inside. I had written an article expounding the Appeal’s virtues. It was prominently positioned. I drew attention to it in my announcements to the members – pointing out that the Corsham Society was one of the first to promote the Appeal to its members and, therefore, it was likely that a positive response from our neck of the woods would be

fairly easily identifiable with the efforts of this Society. To prove the point, I received an email from Ian Harvey at ‘mission control’ the next working morning (Monday), informing me that that a donation from the Corsham area had arrived over the weekend, and asking

me what I knew about it

to show, Wiltshire folk are not slow off the mark! Peter Tapscott Corsham Civic Society

Just goes

• If you’d like to share an exciting or typical week with us, email

Grass Roots is your quarterly update magazine. Please send your updates, case studies and reviews to
Useful links Useful links Society Toolbox Technology Donations from Microsoft, Cisco

Society Toolbox

Technology Donations from Microsoft, Cisco & Symantec Richard Cooper Development Manager, Charity Technology Trust
Technology Donations from Microsoft, Cisco & Symantec
Richard Cooper
Development Manager, Charity
Technology Trust
There’s no doubt that effective use
of technology can deliver significant
benefits. This is particularly true for
small voluntary organisations where
any improvement in efficiency can
help take the pressure off stretched
resources. However allocating funds
to acquire the latest technology is
often an understandably low priority.
The good news is that, through
Charity Technology Exchange (CTX),
many charities can get access to
the latest technology in the form
of discounted technology products
from some of the world’s largest
technology companies including
Microsoft, Symantec and Cisco (a
full list of the donor partners can
be found at
about_ctx/partners and you can see
the products currently available from
them by going to www.ctxchange.
register through the CTX website
The donors will only send licence
information to the email address
and physical products to the
office address your organisation
has registered with the charity
commission, so you need to provide
these as part of the process -
you can find them on the Charity
Commission website ( if you don’t know
Once you’ve registered, your
details will be validated by the
CTX team and your core activities
assessed against each donor’s
eligibility criteria. It’s well worth
reviewing these criteria before you
start. While there is a common
registration process, the rules around
each donor’s scheme are different.
You can find the eligibility criteria and
the amount of products each donor is
prepared to donate (“entitlement”) at:
Charities pay a small administrative
fee to cover the costs of running
the programme and whilst the
administrative fees vary, charities will
still make savings of between 92-
96% on typical retail prices.
To benefi t from the donors’
programmes, organisations must
Once your details have been
validated and your core activities
assessed, you’ll receive an email
telling you which donors your
organisations is eligible to receive
a donation from. You can then
request donations through the “shop”
facility on the CTX website. Log in
and click on the “Browse Products”
icon. The process is very similar
to the typical shopping cart facility
on most websites, with a couple of
Each donor partner operates a
separate scheme so you can’t mix
donors’ products in the same cart,
you need to checkout your Microsoft
donation request then do separate
requests for Cisco, Symantec etc.
Also, because they are donation
programmes, it’s not a shop you can
keep coming back to. All the donors
have a donation cycle, for example
Microsoft will donate up to 6 titles
and up to 50 user licences per title
in a two year period. But only two
donation requests can be made in
that period and they must be a year
or more apart. So you can’t request
3 titles today and then make another
request for 3 more titles next week,
you’ll have to wait the full year!
The other donors operate similar
processes so please, check the
entitlement pages before you start
requesting your donations.
Finally, you need to pay the admin
fee at checkout – you can see the fee
for each product when you browse
the catalogue – so have a payment
card ready.


Thursday 13 and Friday 14 November 2008 at Gorton Monastery Manchester

To arrive in a vibrant Manchester the night before the Conference was so necessary for acclimatisation to the ‘buzz’ of the erstwhile Cottonopolis. This still great powerhouse of ideas, wealth and enterprise is much changed since my George Best inspired student days in the 60s – but so much for the better. Places you never went to then are now the places to go. Castlefields, the heart of goods transport links which made Mancunians rich, is where I stayed. The modern state-of-the-art YHA on the banks of the Bridgewater canal is underneath many layers of bridges and viaducts, once Piranesi-like depressing, now seen as dynamic and uplifting. I sensed the ‘embodied’ energy in Manchester and was later to realise how the need to ‘husband’ this already invested energy through sensitive adaptations of old buildings to new uses was the reason why I was here. Thus, I was primed for the Regeneration Conference by the evolutionary change and the blend of past and present in the city itself. I was not to be disappointed as the venue and the speakers were excellent. The speakers impressed with both style and content, none palled or faltered and then it was on to the next issue – thanks to great planning and organisation by Ian Lush and his team from the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The Speakers There was something for all those attending. Sue Clifford of Common

Exploring the impact of heritage-led regeneration on crime reduction, health and social community

Ground initiated by impressing how we need to understand what we have and to bow to the power of the place, she implored us to seek out the peculiarity and patina and see the accumulation of changes to a place, both natural and manmade. Happily she stressed the importance of letting nature in and encouraging judicious planting to enhance our environments. Jenny Abramski (ex Radio 4) Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund is only five minutes into the job but she gave a consummate presentation promoting the lottery funded renaissance that is taking place nationwide. People are eager for heritage and the impact, particularly in deprived urban areas is sensational. See Kelvin Grove; Merchant City, Glasgow; The Thames Gateway; Harrogate Royal Hall; Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth; Derby Arboretum; SS Great Britain; The British Museum, Great Court and World Heritage, Blaenavon. These examples show how £4 billion has changed places for the better, resuscitated traditions and culture and improved the quality of life. Encouragingly she suggested the importance of volunteers and stressed that regeneration projects, routed in a sense of place, stand the best chance of success and sustainability. In 2009 £180 million for investment will fund imaginative and robust schemes to improve people’s lives. If you are a lucky one in five granted an award you will need to show green credentials and a clear understanding of how heritage enables us to engage the future and galvanize local pride and identity. Your stewardship must prove that HLF really does make a

difference! The social impacts of heritage-led regeneration, based on researched evidence, was presented by Ian Lush and Ela Palmer of AHF who saw evidence of ‘better mental and physical health; higher attainment in education; less anti-social behaviour and a positive outlook for the future. (There is hope for Northern cities after all despite the recent ‘Cities Unlimited’ gloom). It is important to clearly record base statistics to later provide hard facts in support of perceptions of improved health and attitudes; strengthened identity; pride in place and increased communication and participation. Social Capital it’s called. Putting back the Heart and Soul was the aim of Dr Alyson Cooper’s Penryn Townscape Heritage Initiative. Her message stressed the importance of an upbeat appearance regardless of the quality or significance of the building. A THI fund to £11 million was matched by £8.2 million of private funding and proved that increased confidence encouraged others to invest. Go to Cornwall to enjoy the significant results achieved by this initiative! The Reinstatement of Place was a concept addressed by Jamie Coath of Purcell Miller Tritton. He convincingly illustrated his firm’s sensitive work promoting a renewal of the sense of place, culture and well being at various locations including Kirkstall Abbey (where I discovered what is ‘ferramenta’ – iron railings, of course). Also for Leeds, some restoration and recycling of Victorian parts in Roundhay Park. His scope included ‘Memory and Familiarity’ restored to

Malcolm Sharman reports from an optimistic Manchester city centre St. Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopgate, London.

Malcolm Sharman reports from an optimistic Manchester city centre

St. Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopgate, London. He combined ‘Learning and Latte’ at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield, working with Redman Associates to increase attendance by four times. That’s success!

World Heritage Site Today Manchester, tomorrow the world picture; and Blaenavon in Wales is one of twenty four world heritage sites. Blaenavon was presented to us by Dr Peter Wakelin and John Rodger, site co-ordinator, who jointly told the story of how the world’s largest concentration of iron making in 1786, has become a significant World Heritage Site. It’s a massively gratifying story with profound results to benefit the region and lead to a firm base for the future. I admired their achievement and was moved by their passion. You must Google the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. To sum up there was much to enjoy and admire from Dawson Stelfox of Belfast; Paul Hartley of Stockport; Anne McChlery, Glasgow, all sharing the focus on what is already there. On a different tack, Barry Quirk, Chief Executive of Lewisham, appeared Merlin-like and commanding as one would expect the author of the Quirk Report on Asset Management and Asset Transfer to be. He enlightened the conference, suggesting that ‘the more uncertainty there is, the more opportunity for social entrepreneurs. His statement that the act of community enterprise energises emotional and spiritual interactions reassured us all, including Annemarie Naylor of the Development Trust Association who pledged to

Naylor of the Development Trust Association who pledged to help guide ideas and initiatives from the

help guide ideas and initiatives from the voluntary sector towards valuable regeneration realities.

The Location The Gorton Monastery story was told by Paul Refford. This 1872 Gothic revival Franciscan Monastery closed in 1990 but since 1996 a trust has saved and given new life and new purpose to this wonderful place. In 2008 it received a Civic Trust Award Commendation. The emphasis here is on collaboration with the local community and there is much to be

learned from this beacon organisation and the way that it benefits end users. Thanks to the Angels of Manchester for their welcome and providing this uplifting example of success in the regeneration game. On a final celebrity note, Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs was a most entertaining and relevant after- dinner speaker and it was a great pleasure to find him just as good in reality as he is on TV. Malcolm Sharman, Hull Civic Society/Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies




The Civic Trust needs more funding to support our societies. In this briefing for members we answer your questions on the campaign

“I joined the Civic Trust because I share your passion for improving the places in which we all live, work and relax. Like you, I care about my home, my city and the spaces where my family and friends choose to spend their time” Griff Rhys Jones

We were delighted when Griff Rhys Jones agreed to join us as our President, and to spearhead our campaign to raise more funds. With Griff’s backing, we are raising funds which will be used specifically for the support and development of the Civic Society movement. By joining the Civic Trust, or your local Civic Society,

you are already part of a national network of over a quarter of a million people who have pledged their support to making a difference to the places that matter to them. The Civic Trust is also making a difference. Our press coverage is increasing and we’re responding to more Government consultations. More and more members are taking advantage of our training events, helpdesk and our online forum and facilities. Over 550 people have attended our events and used the helpdesk over the last 12 months. Together we must continue to make a difference, and to make our voices heard. We need to

make a difference, and to make our voices heard. We need to encourage more of our

encourage more of our communities to care about the places where they live, work and relax. The children who need their parks; the young people who want to see a sustainable future, and the individuals who want to shop locally, improve their environment and influence the decisions that are made locally. We need more people to join us and add their voices to ours, so that together we will become a nationally recognised civic movement. If we are to make this a reality, the Civic Trust needs to raise around a quarter of a million pounds per year from its Civic Society members.


How will the appeal work? We are making full use of our nationwide network. Each Regional Association has contacted their local Civic Societies to ask for their support for the appeal. If you are a Civic Society, you will receive a postcard order form. You can use this to order leaflets for circulation amongst your own members. If you haven’t heard from your Regional Association, and would like a supply of leaflets, please email

helpdesk@civicsocieties., or call 0151 231


How can my Civic Society help? Please distribute the appeal leaflet amongst your members – at meetings,

in your newsletter, or

by email (we have an electronic version). The leaflet includes information about how to donate to the appeal. Alternatively your Society may wish to make a group donation.

I am an individual member

– can I donate to the appeal? Yes please. We are grateful for all contributions, and individual members also enjoy benefits; they attend many of our events, receive Grass Roots and contribute to our Government consultations. Please contact us to request

a leaflet, or visit www. to make an online donation.

How much does the appeal seek to raise? We are aiming to raise £250,000. The current cost of subscriptions does not cover the cost of the package of benefits that we currently offer – and those that we wish to develop following consultation with our members.

Q & A

Q & A

Is the target realistic? With over 750 Civic Societies registered with the Civic Trust, who in turn represent 250,000 people, we believe that our target is achievable. If each member gave only £1, we would meet our goal.

What will the money be used for? While the exact way in which the funds will be used will be determined by how much is raised, the Trust has a number of aims:

• Recruit dedicated policy and campaign staff who will improve our links with Government and decision makers.

• Provide training for Civic Societies.

• Organise conferences and events which will bring Societies together to share ideas and network.

• Expand our online and telephone helpdesk facility to provide advice and guidance to members.

• Provide stronger regional support.

• Improve communications with Societies and through doing so, provide newsworthy stories to raise the national profile of the movement.

• Develop specialist benefits, such as factsheets and online discussions with experts.

How can I get involved?

• Make an online donation,

by visiting

• Contact

uk or call 0151

and ask for a leaflet and



donation form.

• Join the Civic Trust as

in Individual Member. Membership options are available from as little as £20. You can also use Gift Aid to help us to increase the value of your donation. You can cut out the form below and send it to us with

your name and address or

call 0151

new form if you are planning

to pass this copy of Grass Roots on.

• Order some appeal leaflets to distribute

amongst your Civic Society

231 6908 for a

to distribute amongst your Civic Society 231 6908 for a members. • Remember the Civic Trust


• Remember the Civic Trust in your will – contact us for further details about how you can support us through leaving a legacy. • Join the Civic Trust as a Life Member. To see a list of Civic Societies who have so far

pledged commitment to the appeal, please visit

TheCivicTrustalsooffersarangeofmembership “ AlloverBritain options.IwishtojointheCivicTrustas: � peoplewholoveand
“ AlloverBritain
� peoplewholoveand
� careabouttheirtowns
� andcitiesworktotake
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ofUKincomeorcapitalgainstaxequaltoanytaxreclaimed. �

Local work

Local work

Helping to write a Conservation Area character appraisal

Elizabeth Allison, Chairman, Sutton Coldfield Civic Society and Honorary Secretary, West Midlands Amenity Societies Association, introduces a paper in which she reflected upon her Society’s experiences.

Sutton Coldfield Civic Society became increasingly concerned at the poor state of our historic High Street, which forms the core of a Conservation Area. Heavy traffic, inappropriate signage and unattractive shop fronts have all made matters worse since Pevsner in the 1970s described the street as “the one place where Sutton still has a character” There did not seem to be any master plan for the area and we heard that this Conservation Area did not figure on Birmingham’s list of ten which were scheduled for appraisal as

and when circumstances allowed. In 2006, anxious to move the High Street up the City’s agenda, we approached our district Senior Conservation Officer to see if we could help with writing a Character Appraisal. The Officer was supportive and encouraging but it took some months to persuade her line management that we could make a useful contribution. We were helped by the fact that Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, including the High Street, became the subject of a proposed Supplementary Planning Document and it was recognised that our local knowledge could be drawn upon. It may well be simpler to organise, and more consistent in style, if one person writes the document but you will almost certainly need to draw on other

people’s knowledge and expertise. In Sutton Coldfield we are fortunate in having a very good Local History section in our main library and an excellent Local History Research Group. We also appealed through the local newspaper for residents to share their memories of the High Street in former years. Collating all this information will take a good deal of time and, if you are fortunate enough to have offers of help, it seems

sensible to accept gratefully. What’s in it for you?

• Greatly enhanced

understanding of your own local area.

• The chance to

offer suggestions for improvement, in the hope

that your work will benefit the local area.

• The pleasure and

satisfaction to be gained from successful research

and the chance to meet

interesting people in the course of that research.

• Building a constructive

relationship with your local Conservation Officer.

• Raising the profile of

your Civic Society (in our own case, leading to our greater involvement in the consultations for our town centre SPD). Interested? Download the PDF at www. and

see the Website Forum for

a Q&A in which Elizabeth

answered questions from other members.

The Forum is now hosting regular Q&A

sessions for members to ask questions and

discuss different topics.

If you need any help or

advice about getting

onto the Forum email uk or call 0151 231 6908.

Make the most of Grass Roots magazine

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Grass Roots and that you will use the magazine as a central communications forum, alongside the web discussion forum and the fortnightly e- grassroots. You are welcome to send the following contributions:

News: 100-300 words. Articles and updates are welcome, please also send your blog posts and links to news stories in other publications Tools, case studies, reviews: 150-

200 words. Have you discovered a useful service that should be shared? A resource online? Does a Society or individual member deserve recognition for something of national interest? Is there a book that every person interested in Civic work should read? We are interested in any ideas for longer articles, but please get in touch with us before starting so we can agree a length. We plan to trial classified and

display advertising to help support the production of Grass Roots and help members trade with each other. A classified ad is £10 per issue for up to 30 words for: Notices, Services offered, Holiday homes, Property, Courses & events and others as suggested. For more information and to include your classified advert in the Summer issue, please contact Ian Harvey on 0151 231 6908 or email

Local headlines Of course there’s a lot more Society and area news than we can

Local headlines

Of course there’s a lot more Society and area news than we can fit here and it all

goes onto Make sure you haven’t missed anything in your area:

• £20k Selby grants to fix up shops

• £13m centre’s Vaz link after second vote

• Campaign launched for the regeneration of Tewkesbury

• New plaque for Bridgwater politician

• Blackburn theatre hits centenary jackpot

• Stapleford history to be relived

• Neston Community & Youth Centre Opening Event

• Station Court - take two

• Tall buildings will create ‘Berlin Wall’ in Nottingham

• New bid to build flats at Burnley landmark building

• Special memorial plan to pay tribute to Formby’s war heroes

• Board plan to illustrate Formby’s heritage • Debate continues over Bromley’s future

• Museum of Oxford saved from axe

• Oxford Civic Society’s 40th Anniversary

• Volunteers revamp shelter

• Architect wants to draw on French link

• Ex-Clitheroe priest’s history of Catholicism in Ribble Valley

• Petition calls for quicker action on bridge repairs

• Community debate Station Hotel future

• Power group set up to save museum

• Fears for more cherished buildings

• Ribble Valley park bids to win borough’s first Green Flag

• Stag hunt is launched by team behind deer display

• Old George Mall earmarked for more


• £785,000 works planned for Tonbridge

town lock

• Campaigner Mac loses cancer battle

• Complaints over Ripon traffic lights

• Spa paths, gardens set for £5m revamp

• Big decision looms on Stray cycling

set for £5m revamp • Big decision looms on Stray cycling Why do Civic Societies need

Why do Civic Societies need insurance?

The aim of a Civic Society is the promotion of civic pride through improvement of the local environment. Whilst work undertaken is often done so on a voluntary basis, with those involved giving their time and effort for the greater good, accidents causing personal injury and damage to property can occur. Coupled with the “blame” culture in which we now live, both organisations, and the individuals involved, can find themselves at the sticky end of a liability suit. This can be both costly and time consuming, not to mention stressful. Working closely with the Civic Trust, we have endeavoured to gain a comprehensive understanding of your activities, and we have created an insurance product tailored specifically to meet your needs. Through our experience as an insurance broker, and more specifically working with charitable and non-profit making organisations, we

have seen just how easy it is for liability to arise at an exhibition, on a guided walk or indeed within a wide range of other activities that the Civic Society undertakes. As such, we provide Employers’ Liability up to £10,000,000, included in those persons covered is not just direct employees, but also volunteers and supporters of the society as well. Public Liability is available at limits of £2,000,000 and £5,000,000. This covers your legal liability for loss or injury to any member of the public who has suffered a loss due to personal injury or property damage, as a result of your organisation’s activities. You will appreciate that your actions in the public domain can leave you vulnerable to being held liable. Adequate insurances are therefore vital in protecting you as

a Civic Society, your volunteers as individuals, and your Trustees and

Committee. In addition to the liability cover discussed above, our product includes

a small amount of All Risks Cover for material property up to £5,000, as well as cover for Money at events, in transit and at the homes of

committee members. Charity Trustee Indemnity Insurance is also available and can be added to your insurance package. The principle of this cover is to protect the trustees and committee members who may be held personally liable for an alleged, innocent or negligent act, a breach of trust or duty, or for a loss suffered by the society. Common examples that may arise are the misappropriation of funds (i.e. where money is used for projects/development work which is felt inappropriate by the donor), breach of the Health and Safety Act, or something as simple as not keeping adequate minutes of committee meetings. For more information on insurance email, call 0151 231 6908 or see society-benefits/insurance



by Peter Eversden Chair, London Forum

What could the Sustainable Communities Act do for your local area?

The Sustainable Communities Act, which received Royal Assent in October 2007, enables councils working in cooperation with their communities to get government help to assist them in reversing the decline of local services, dealing with fuel poverty, protecting the environment and obtaining greater involvement in civic activity. As part of the process they will also be able to formally request specific powers, currently held by national Government, to be devolved to them. Government then has a legal duty to reach agreement with councils and the Local Government Association (LGA) on how it will help them. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is now required to consult local authorities on issues affecting them. Authorities will in turn consult people and organisations in their neighbourhoods, and the results of these consultations would be fed upwards in order to drive Government policy. The Local Government Act 2000 gave local authorities power to undertake any activities that are considered to have a positive impact on the living experience of their residents. A 2005 DCLG report suggested that these powers were not being used. This Act seems to be

another way of making it happen. There is not yet a clear Government explanation on how the powers covered by the Act relate to the processes for Sustainable Community Strategies, Local Area Agreements (LAA), the Local Government Bill and the recent Community Empowerment White Paper. The links that were supposed to happen between Community Strategies and Core Strategies for addressing existing quality of life issues by spatial development have not been well established in many local authorities. That makes it difficult for community representatives and citizens to understand how best to become engaged for resolving the local infrastructure and service deficiencies and problems. Depending on how many Councils decide to participate in the Sustainable Communities Act, there may be different opportunities depending on where people live in England. Only three of London’s boroughs had undertaken, in the month after the Government invited them, to use the Act and engage local communities in developing ideas for addressing local problems. Local Government Associations think that the Act could give local authorities opportunities to take a leadership role in formulating policy and making stronger arguments for the devolution

of powers, responsibilities and funding to the local level. The Act creates a duty for Government to produce a local spending report from April 2009 that details, for each local authority area, the amount of public money spent by all relevant agencies (central, regional and local) on services and projects over a given period. It allows Local Authorities to make a request for a transfer of functions from one person to another (following consultation with the partners). Local Authorities will need to know just how much extra money they might access if they push for a transfer of functions. The local authority must establish also, or recognise, a panel of representatives of local persons to be consulted about the proposal. The Act establishes the ability of local communities, through their council, to put forward policy suggestions. Any proposals put forward must have regard to:

• Provision of local services, and

the extent to which the volume and value of goods and services are produced within 30 miles

• Rate of increase in the growth and

marketing or organic food

• Reasonable access of residents to nutritional food;

• Number of local jobs;

• Measures to conserve energy and increase the quantity of locally supplied energy • Measures

• Measures to conserve energy

and increase the quantity of locally supplied energy

• Measures taken to reduce the

level of road traffic

• Increase in social inclusion, including an increase in

involvement in local democracy

• Measures designed to decrease

emissions of greenhouse gases

• Measures designed to increase

community health and well being

• Planning policies which would

assist with the purposes of the Act, including new arrangements for the provision of affordable housing

• Measures to increase the use of

local waste materials. The Local Government Association must then consider the proposals and, produce a report listing the proposals chosen for discussion, those rejected, and why. The LGA, in cooperation and negotiation with the Secretary of State, will then draw up a shortlist of the most viable ideas to be taken forward. Decisions will be made through constructive central local dialogue, and this is not expected to be a simple Yes/ No exercise by Government. The Secretary of State must then produce an action plan for implementation of these proposals and report annually on its progress. Proposals supported jointly by several local authorities simultaneously will receive greater consideration. The LGA is to define the way in which the Act will operate and the

timing of each stage, but it is likely that from October, councils will have up to six months to put forward ideas and for the LGA to review them.

Local authorities will have to determine if proposals can be achieved already under existing legislation, how they contribute to sustainability, and what community engagement has been conducted in order to ensure the suitability of the proposals. The New Local Government Network has urged local authorities to take up the opportunities the Act provides and to use it to take forward proposals. The New Local Government Network has suggested that the Secretary of State for CLG should make an explicit statement recognising the importance of LAAs, and that partners who are found not to be contributing appropriately to the delivery of these agreements will be considered appropriate candidates for the transfer of functions and funding. Councillors and officers are supposed to seize control of their own destiny, instead of blaming Central Government for decline in services and facilities. There will need to be a lot of guidance prepared for local communities to understand how to achieve their aims in the new world of empowerment and devolution. Links are needed with the way quality of life issues are addressed by the policies within Local Development Frameworks and their achievement. Peter Eversden, London Forum • Image extracted from the Civic Trust 2008 Annual report “Better Places for People”, out now

The organisation LocalWorks has suggested several proposals for

consideration by local authorities to develop for use under the Sustainable Communities Act, including:

• Keeping essential community

services like Post Offices open;

• Promoting small businesses by

increasing the rate relief they receive;

• Promoting local renewable energy,

e.g. by removing the restrictive barriers relating to the local grid;

• Promoting local food and other

products, eg by giving rate relief to businesses that earn 50% of their

turnover selling local food and goods;

• Powers to levy non-domestic rates

on out-of-town car parking spaces

– with a power for the council to allow

discounts if the supermarket, or other store, sources a stated percentage of goods for sale locally;

• Powers to absorb BusinessLink

funding in order to drive wider economic development objectives;

• Better joining up of regional and

local transport funding with increased powers to ensure agencies such as RDAs, Network Rail and the Highways Agency have regard to local plans;

• The ability of local authorities to take

a more central role in the delivery and funding of a localised welfare system, with greater freedom for JobCentrePlus collaboration and the local capture of benefits savings;

• A more qualitative Best ‘Added’

Value tool to predict the impact of new entrants on the local economy and to inform planning consent decisions based on a range of social, economic and community benefits that a business might bring to an area;

• The conversion of regeneration

grants into a single, un-ringfenced and needs-based grant;

• Flexibility to adjust local right-to-

buy rules and buy-to-let planning permission criteria to allow local authorities to respond to immediate local housing concerns It is recommended that there should be grassroots “brainstorming events” where local communities could propose policy reforms. This could fuel the “double devolution” agenda and

increase pressure on government to accept ideas that are firmly rooted in local communities.

Members and societies: please share your copies widely! Take Action There are many ways in

Members and societies: please share your copies widely!

Take Action

There are many ways in which you can get involved with the work of Civic Societies, no matter who you are or how much time you have.

Whether it’s fighting a local planning decision, championing local green space or promoting excellence in design, we can all do something that will make a lasting difference. You can take action right now below by choosing how you want to make a difference. This page highlights some ways you can feel part of the wider Civic Society movement right now, but there are plenty of other things you can do to help so visit our individual campaign pages for more ideas. And if you want to take things further, contact us.

Join a local Civic Society from over 750 in the UK; organise fundraising events, write letters, raise and donate funds to develop a better Civic Society movement, lobby MPs, generate press coverage and much more

• Join a specialist network to campaign

individually on your personal areas of interest

• Get Grass Roots, our newsletter for individual activists.

• Join our Government consultation network

and be part of our mass responses to government on issues effecting us all

• Volunteer for the Civic Trust in London or

Liverpool or perhaps be a virtual volunteer

• If you know about the planning process, you

could help assess local planning applications.

Contact us: Fifth Floor, Century Building, 31 North John Street, Liverpool L2 6RG. Tel: 0151 231 6908 Fax: 0151 231 6901 14-16 Cowcross Street, London. EC1M 6DG Tel: 020 7539 7900

Our Work

The Civic Trust is the independent nationwide network dedicated to helping communities to make better places in which to live, work and play. We campaign for better places for people.

2007 was the 50th anniversary of the Civic Trust and, as we move into the next generation of our activities, we continue to work across four themes: People and Places, Better Place in the Built Environment, Better Places in the Green Environment and Policy and Campaigns.

The Civic Trust continues to be a powerful, definite and distinctive voice which helps communities to imaging, shape and deliver inspiring places and an enduring future.

The Civic Trust will enhance the general well-being and quality of lives of people and communities by working with them to value, enjoy and provide aesthetic, prosperous and greener place for a sustainable United Kingdom. That is our vision. If you would like to support us, please visit

Civic Societies represent us all. They are groups of local people, who, like the Civic Trust, are passionate about the places in which we all live, work and relax.


live, work and relax. www Visit to read all about: Policy &

Visit to read all about:

Policy & Campaigns Community work:

• Civic Societies

• Civic Champions

• Every Action Counts

• Heritage Open Days

• HODs Classroom

• BizFizz

• NightVision

• High Street

• Regeneration

• Purple Flag Built Environment

• Civic Trust Awards

• Built Environment Network (BE-Net)

• Civic Trust Awards

Exhibition Green Environment

• Green Flag Award

• Green Heritage Site

• Green Pennant Award

• Community Spaces

Site • Green Pennant Award • Community Spaces The Civic Trust Membership Magazine. Winter - Spring

The Civic Trust Membership Magazine. Winter - Spring 2009 £4