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Ripon Civic Society

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20th March 2011
The Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, David Winpenny, was in Manchester last Saturday to talk to representatives of other civic societies from the North of England and the Midlands about communicating their messages, and to meet the President of the civic societies’ umbrella body Civic Voice, comedian Griff Rhys Jones.

David was invited by Civic Voice to speak at its ‘Spring Network North’ about how civic societies can use the media to promote their work and to help in their campaigning. The invitation came because Ripon Civic Society was the runner-up in national competition for the best civic society website and because the society is well-known for its high profile in the local media. David runs his own PR company in the city, and writes a weekly Civic Society column for the Ripon Gazette.

The keynote speaker at the event was Griff Rhys Jones, who spoke passionately about the need for local people to care for their local areas, and to look forwards as well as backwards. ‘We all have something we love about where we live,’ he said. ‘There are so many ways to show we care and play our part. It is easy to get involved and learn something new about our neighbourhood.’

Thirty civic societies and trusts from an area stretching from Alnwick to Birmingham were represented at the meeting, held in the Friends Meeting House in the centre of Manchester. During they day they discussed matters of mutual interest, including the government’s Localism Bill and its impact on the work of civic societies.

David Winpenny, who is also on the executive committee of the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies, says, ‘I was pleased to be asked by Civic Voice to tell other societies how we in Ripon handle our public profile, and give them a few pointers about actions they could take. It was good to meet Griff Rhys Jones and also to discuss common problems and achievements with members of other societies.’

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