Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 13:51 UK

Civic Trust closes after 50 years

The Civic Trust Awards were established in 1959

A charity representing more than 700 civic societies across much of England has closed due to lack of funding.

The Civic Trust was the voice for local groups dedicated to improving their civic and architectural spaces.

The trust, which ran awards and open days, said it has been hit particularly hard by "the squeeze on local authority spending in the current climate".

The civic trusts in Scotland and Wales and the north of England said they were continuing as usual.

Philip Kolvin QC said on behalf of the English civic trust: "I still passionately believe in the civic movement, but it now needs grassroots members of vision and energy to start afresh with a new organisation, working within its means and building gradually from the bottom."

The trust undertook a range of work to improve public spaces, encourage people-friendly architecture and support the preservation of local heritage sites.

One of the most important elements of the trust's work was its awards scheme.

According to the organisation's website, the Civic Trust Awards were established in 1959 and were "one of the oldest built-environment award schemes in Europe".

The awards went to "outstanding projects in architecture, planning, environmental design, landscape, public art and urban design".

Awards went to more than 5,500 buildings, including cafes, churches, houses and hospitals.

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