the New Folkestone Society: “Our first Civic Day was a success”

On Saturday 18 June in the Quarterhouse, New Folkestone Society hosted the first local Civic Day event, a national initiative set up by Civic Voice in 2011 to encourage people around the country to engage in conversation about the future of their high streets and communities, with the vision of a society where everyone can say “I am proud of where I live!”

The Society invited other civic and historical societies, museums, groups representing the arts and other community-minded associations from across the district to collaborate under one roof with stands to show what they are about, sell their products and hopefully get more people to participate in their activities. New Folkestone Society’s Vice Chairman Mark Hourahane said:

“Civic Day had a marketplace-feel with a lively room full of discussion between community-minded organisations and the wider community. We have had positive feedback from exhibitors, some of which will now be collaborating as a result of the day. We had at least 100 people come through the door, 15 speakers and 28 organisations represented by around 60 stallholders. The Society had several new sign-ups, as did other membership organisations. Considering this was the first time we had hosted such an event and it was on a sunny day when everyone would rather be on the beach, it went very well, and we are hopeful that Civic Day will be an annual event on everyone’s calendar.”

Shorncliffe Trust’s Community Engagement officer Viv Kenny called it “a very worthwhile day” and “a brilliant exercise in bringing a variety of groups together”. She hopes that the event “has created a giant leap forward for strengthening partnership working” and that it will “bring benefit to not only the participants, but the wider district.”

Sandgate Society’s stallholders were kept busy talking to people about the history of Sandgate and their events programme, with several ides for community sustainability projects collected.

Chair Sal Kenward said: “The Civic Day proved a great opportunity to network with other societies, clubs and community groups in the area and raise awareness of and interest in the Sandgate Society and everything it does.”

The event was made possible by the kind support of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, who provided a Free Use Day of the Quarterhouse, and the Creative Folkestone team. New Folkestone Society was founded as a civic society in 1974. It exists to foster an awareness of our local environment and amenities, and to encourage their conservation and enhancement. It is a non-political organisation with membership open to everyone who shares our desire to make Folkestone a more attractive town in which to live and work.