Survey opens on replacement for Civic Trust

Civic Society Initiative canvasses views on support

The largest ever survey of civic societies gets under way tomorrow to canvass views on how to replace the Civic Trust, which closed this year because of a lack of funding.

About 1,000 voluntary civic and amenity societies, representing 250,000 members interested in local heritage, will be invited to respond.

The survey is being organised by the Civic Society Initiative, established in June by Tony Burton, who was previously director of strategy and external affairs at the National Trust, and TV celebrity Griff Rhys Jones.

The initiative has received £150,000 in funding for one year from a group of organisations including the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Trust and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

It aims to devise a plan of action next year on how to fill the void left by the Civic Trust.

Burton, the director of the initiative, said a new organisation was the likely outcome but other options, such as a website, would be considered.

He said the survey would help to ascertain what local civic trusts did and what support they wanted.

"One of the reasons the Civic Trust closed was because it wasn't providing the support that civic societies wanted and had become somewhat detached, running a series of government programmes rather than providing leadership to a movement," he said.

"When the government funding ended, it didn't have anything to fall back on."

The Civic Society Initiative survey on how to replace the Civic Trust is available online.

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