The London Civic Forum is to close, blaming a lack of political support for its work, and ending the civic participation organisation’s 12-year presence in the capital.
The decision to close at the end of September was described in a statement by the Forum as “a voluntary dissolution of the organisation” and the group now plans to transfer its work to another, as yet unnamed, charity.
Already-scheduled work will still go ahead, including the creation of a digital resource archive and several events.
“London Civic Forum’s [LCF] closure is announced at a time when civic safeguards are needed as never before, with support for engagement and public accountability being eroded at a break-neck pace,” said Lorraine Roberts, LCF’s interim director.
“This is a time when LCF should be increasing its services, however, due in large part to seeming lack of political will from some quarters and the related reductions in public sector funding, support for LCF’s work is not a fiscal priority, and so LCF has to close.”
Further announcements will be made soon to confirm the transfer of LCF’s on-going work and the availability of the digital archive resource.
Civic society ‘not a political priority’
Roberts lamented that this turn of events means that LCF’s work will “never be done”.
“For London to thrive, the voices of all its communities need to be heard, and that can only be done through strong, committed civic engagement support,” she said.
“Unfortunately, what is required right now is a huge mustering of forces at a time when a civic society is not a political priority.
“A massive effort is needed to make sure that the most vulnerable aren’t lost even further from their rightful place in helping to shape London into a city for all its citizens.”
Contribution to Olympic bid
Since its inception in 1990, LCF’s has been involved in many civic projects in the nation’s capital.
It designed a toolkit for the Greater London Authority for its consultations with voluntary and community organisations on the Mayor’s spatial development strategy.
The Forum also contributed to the London Olympic bid by holding community events in order to collect its members’ views on volunteering opportunities, local planning and furthering access to training and jobs.