Page last updated at 02:00 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 03:00 UK

New national civic charity launches in England

Aldeburgh village centre, Suffolk.
Civic Voice wants to make local places more attractive

A new national charity has been launched with the aim of re-energising the country's civic societies.

Civic Voice hopes to give new life to the civic movement, which represents more than 1,000 local groups dedicated to improving communities in England.

It follows a consultation that revealed some members felt the movement had become remote and old fashioned.

The Civic Trust, which represented more than 700 civic societies, closed because of a lack of funds a year ago.

Civic Voice said it aimed "to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive".

It said Civic Voice's priority was to champion and support the civic movement, provide a "stronger national voice" and get people more actively involved in their local community.

There should be pride in being a "busybody" when it comes to looking after where we live, it said.

Civic Voice's first national campaign - Street Pride - aims to "remove unnecessary street clutter" and a Love Local campaign is also being launched "to champion what makes people feel proud about where they live", the charity said.

It is also campaigning on issues ranging from the reform of the planning system and proposals for a second high-speed rail link, to the future of coastal towns.

Civic societies, which were first set up in the 1840s, claim to have about 250,000 individual members and 20,000 volunteers, making them one of the largest social movements in the country.

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