About Civic Pride – Our History
In 2000, a local business woman appealed to local citizens to help to clean up their dirty town. We’ve no record of how many attended that first occasion but it was a start. Volunteers gathered each Wednesday evening from May to October to litter-pick an area of town. Once a month, summer Sunday morning events were added to the year’s calendar.
“You do such a fantastic job, appreciated by so many of us here in the valley.” Jake Berry MP
In 2009 Chris Blomerley was appointed Chairman, bringing a new level of enthusiasm, commitment and a ‘Just Do It’ (JDI) attitude whilst rapidly raising its profile within the community. Expansion soon followed: a gardening section was established to take over Rawtenstall’s derelict, litter strewn public gardens, charitable status was gained and serious fund-chasing organised.
Support was given to a Haslingden resident to leave the group and set up a litter picking group in her home town and Bacup Pride was also established.
“Everywhere looks great. Can I join?” Local resident to working party.
In March 2012, the highly controversial decision to demolish the town’s 40 year old Arndale Centre was implemented. After an extended period of decline it had become an eyesore frequented by drug users, vandals and underage drinkers.
In 2013, unable to develop this crucial town centre site, Rossendale Borough Council contacted Civic Pride and asked us to provide a solution and take on the maintenance licence. As an apolitical organisation Civic Pride simply applied its JDI philosophy without any involvement in the political controversy. Grants were won, plants, boxes and materials were ordered and volunteers assembled from various organisations.
The result is there for all to see. An eyesore was turned into something of a non-entity which then blossomed into a cleaner, greener place to walk or linger. The now attractive site is frequently used for community events although it is still unclear exactly what plans the council will push through for its redevelopment.
One Rawtenstall member was now litter picking for an hour each morning, six days a week but without any Civic Pride insignia, then 2013 saw a volunteer don a Civic Pride hi-vis jacket and start litter picking alone across the town. The response from the community was instantaneous and within weeks half a dozen ‘Lone Rangers’ were clearing our streets. They now number in excess of 30 in Rawtenstall alone.
The 2018 AGM saw five Officer positions filled by local residents but more importantly, in June 2017 we were proud recipients of The Queens Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for voluntary organisations. This is the highest award a group like ours can receive and credit must go to the hundreds of volunteers, past and present who made it possible.
“Thank you Civic Pride, you’re making such a difference to the town.” Shop owner, Bank Street.