News

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FEB
21

Lighting a Beacon of Peace for the D-Day 80th anniversary

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Author: Lee Cleaver, client account executive at Clear Councils Insurance


6 June 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and will see several events hosted throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. It is a significant occasion to commemorate the sacrifices made and celebrate the years of peace resulting from those tremendous efforts.

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FEB
07

Moving your council to a .gov.uk domain couldn’t be easier with the parish council domains helper service  

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Authors: Karen Gibbard, Sandra Lowe, Stephanie Palmer and Tim Willott from the Parish Council Domains Helper Team


As you may know, the cabinet office is working hard to support England's parish and town councils in moving to .gov.uk domains where they can conduct their business safely, more securely and efficiently.

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FEB
14

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month 2024

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Author: Cllr Andy Snape, mayor of Flitwick Town Council


As co-chair of NALC's LGBT+ councillors national network, it's an honour to write on NALC’s blog to mark LBGT+ History Month 2024! The network was set up in 2021 to bring LGBTQ+ councillors together to share ideas and inspire change in our local communities. As a network, we’re working on some exciting initiatives to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ councillors and staff working in local councils and to provide resources and support for councils that would like to engage more in this important area. 

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JAN
31

Risk management

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Author: Danielle Bird, financial director at Utility Aid


The financial world is very volatile at the moment and what that means is that a lot of decisions that I make along with the board of directors have an element of risk. One thing that I do not like is uncertainty. I sit with our leadership team every month to compare budget versus actual, to make sure we are meeting targets, and not overspending. I do this, not only because it’s part of my job but also because I hate the unexpected. I take pride in accurate forecasting and feel responsible for it when it’s not.

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JAN
24

Digital engagement in neighbourhood planning

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Authors: Steve Besford-Foster, PlanSupport in association with Neil Kirkland, GoCollaborate Limited 


There has been a significant dip in the willingness of communities to engage since COVID. Some of this might be due to a fear of public meetings and mixing, but there’s a continuing strong element of cynicism about government and planning, which is having an impact on NDP engagement. There is also a growing recognition of what digital engagement can bring which many communities are looking to grasp.

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JAN
17

Winter safety and risk management tips for councils 

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Author: Lee Cleaver​​​, sales development account broker at Clear Councils Insurance 


With winter well and truly upon us, now is a good time for local (parish and town) councils to prepare for the worsening weather from a safety and risk management perspective. The winter weather can present many challenges, with roads, car parks, walkways, stairs/steps, bus shelters, playgrounds, and more becoming more hazardous due to ice and snow.

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JAN
10

Ensuring no one is left behind as UK landlines go digital 

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Author: Lucy Baker, consumer all IP director and Vicky Hicks, head of engagement, digital voice and gender equality network chair at BT Consumer 


The landline is here to stay, but the technology used to make calls is changing from analogue to digital as part of an industry-wide shift.

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DEC
20

Make Music Day – for and by everyone, on 21 June every year

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Author: Barbara Eifler, chief executive of Making Music and chair of Make Music Day UK


It’s the simplest of concepts: anyone can create or host or perform in a music event on 21 June and be part of the world’s biggest DIY grassroots music festival.

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FEB
09

Seven ways you can be an LGBTQ+ ally at work

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Author: Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin, digital mobilisation lead at Stonewall


Over a third of LGBTQ+ people still feel they have to hide who they are at work.

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MAR
16

Women in parish and town councils

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Author: Amy Knox, project officer (gender), Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK)


On Wednesday evening, I was one of 150 women who joined the Parliament Project for the “Women in local (parish and town) council – What is it and can I do it?” workshop.

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DEC
13

From COP to local communities – helping the next generation drive climate solutions 

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Author: Graham Duxbury, chief executive of Groundwork UK


Watching delegates fly in and out of COP 28 in Dubai over the last two weeks it’s been easy to get downhearted by how distant and difficult the discussions about tackling dangerous climate change are.  In the meantime, the power of nature to enhance or disrupt our lives has never been more evident.  Extreme weather battering our shores and causing real hardship in communities is making us finally understand what an unstable climate means.  At the same time, more and more of us are realising how being better connected with nature does wonders for our health and wellbeing.  As is so often the case, we don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone.

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DEC
06

A journey through the Newport Pagnell Town Council study tour 2023 

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Author: Shar Roselman, town clerk at Newport Pagnell Town Council 


Join me as I reflect on the enlightening study tour held in June 2023. Let's explore the valuable benefits of study tours and dive into the extensive array of subjects that these tours can cover. Trust me, you will want to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the next one!

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NOV
29

Working together for a tree-filled future – join in this special National Tree Week 

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Author: Jess Allan, Science & Research Projects Manager at The Tree Council 


National Tree Week 2023 (25 Nov-3 Dec) marks fifty years since the ‘Plant a Tree in ‘73’ campaign, from which the annual week-long celebration of trees (and The Tree Council!) was born. The week is always a brilliant opportunity to come together and truly appreciate the trees around us that give us joy! The theme this year is ‘Grow a Tree in ‘23’, reflecting the continued love and care that trees need after planting – a crucial message for all of us. 

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NOV
22

Important takeaways from the White Ribbon conference 

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Author: Daisy Petrow, communications officer at NALC


In September 2023, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) attended the White Ribbon conference in Birmingham. White Ribbon’s mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by addressing its root causes. They work with men and boys to change long established harmful attitudes, systems and behaviours around masculinity that perpetuate inequality and violence. Their work is preventative; they want to stop violence before it starts.  

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NOV
22

Push forward: 10 ways to end violence against women 

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Author: UN Women


Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation in the world, affecting more than 1 in 3 women, a figure that has remained unchanged over the last decade. 

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NOV
15

How local councils can help deliver a decarbonised transport system 

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Author: Cllr James Gleave, board member at Transport Planning Society and councillor at Flitwick Town Council 


Anyone who is a councillor knows that one of the things that is most often raised by the public is transport. Whether it be the lack of local buses or the state of the roads – people often have a lot to say. You may think that transport and highways is the responsibility of your County Council, Unitary Authority, District Council, Borough or Combined Authority. But believe it or not, even local (parish and town) councils can do a lot to help make the transport system better and decarbonise it at the same time.

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NOV
01

Raising the digital standards of local councils 

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Author: Chris Mewse, managing director of Parish Online


I have always been passionate about using technology to create something new and useful. I used to build software and websites in my spare time and loved looking through maps and atlases (no wonder I ended up with this career!). I’m proud that over the last 14 years, my team and I have built a reputation for providing trustworthy digital services, namely our Parish Online mapping software.

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NOV
08

Food insecurity: what can councils do?

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Author: Louise Marshall, senior public health fellow, and Bethan Page, public health speciality registrar, the Health Foundation


Thriving communities need all the right building blocks in place, including quality housing, stable jobs, a good education, and much more. Erosion of these building blocks causes instability in people's lives, reducing resilience to circumstances outside their control and increasing their risk of poor health.

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OCT
25

The benefits of fixing energy costs

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Author: Sally-Ann Beaver at director of Utility Aid 


In recent years, we have all seen energy costs fluctuate significantly, making it difficult for local (parish and town) councils to budget accurately. This can be especially problematic for smaller councils that may not have large reserves to fall back on if unexpected energy costs arise. By fixing energy costs, councils can plan their budgets with more certainty and have greater control over their expenses.

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OCT
18

Understanding and celebrating Black History Month UK 2023

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Author: Angela M, chief executive officer of International Black History Month UK


October marks the start of Black History Month in the UK. This national celebration aims to celebrate, remember, and reflect on the contributions of African and Caribbean heritage people to the British economy, culture, and history.

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OCT
11

Legionella risk — appointment of contractors for local authorities  

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Author: Sam Hagen, digital marketer at the Water Hygiene Centre 


This blog looks at the considerations any local authority should make in determining how to appoint a contractor(s) to support them to ensure that water systems are free from microbiological contamination for those who use them.

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OCT
04

Why should you use social media in a consultation? 

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Author: Katerina Sukstul, head of platform delivery and engagement at GoCollaborate 


In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, local authorities find themselves at a crossroads, facing the dual challenges of engaging their communities effectively and adapting to the ever-increasing demands for transparency and participation in decision-making processes. 

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SEP
27

Supporting your communities through tree planting 

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Author: Richard Stanford CB MBE, chief executive of the Forestry Commission  


With growing environmental pressures to tackle the climate and nature emergencies, never has it been a more important time to grow trees. The UK government and local authorities share a common goal to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.

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SEP
20

The Great British Beach Clean 

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Author: Lauren Jones-Mullins, wildlife ecologist & beachwatch administrator at Marine Conservation Society


What do you think of when you hear the words ‘marine litter’? Rolling waves of plastic? Vast islands of waste in the middle of the ocean? Wildlife tangled in fishing net and eating plastic bags? Shocking images of the extent of pollution around the world have been brought into the public eye through Blue Planet 2, National Geographic, and even the Octonauts - but the reality is much closer to home. 

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SEP
13

Foundation Award — Starting the journey

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Author: Joanne Riddle, town clerk at Bingham Town Council 


After a challenging period of time for the council, the Local Council’s Award Scheme was considered as a positive way to provide residents reassurance that the council were not only meeting their responsibilities, but they were exceeding them and were striving to constantly improve. Staff know that the council meet the legal requirements expected of them and that they take their scrutiny role seriously, but after a negative time it can be difficult to change that view with the community.

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SEP
06

Royal British Legion launch network for councillors 

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Author: Luke Lancaster, public affairs and campaigns officer for the Royal British Legion  


The Royal British Legion (RBL) recently launched Councillor Network. The aim is to enhance the support we provide to those who serve in local government. We welcome all elected representatives from every level of local government – including from local (town and parish) councils – to join.

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AUG
30

LGA Independent Group: Why do parish councils matter? 

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Author: Cllr Marianne Overton MBE, leader of the LGA Independent Group 


At a time when developments in digital technology mean that it’s possible to connect with friends and family located thousands of miles away in mere seconds, the importance of nourishing a local community and connecting neighbours has never been more important.

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AUG
23

LGA Liberal Democrat Group: Why do parish councils matter?

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Author: Cllr Joe Harris, leader of the LGA Liberal Democrat Group 


In the complex web of local governance in England, one of the most vital and often overlooked institutions is the humble parish or town council.

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AUG
16

LGA Labour Group: Why do parish councils matter?

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Author: Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) and former leader of the LGA Labour Group 


Along with being a Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council and the LGA Labour Group, it's been my real honour to be elected to the local councils that serve my ward; Lawley and Overdale Parish Council since 2019 and the Great Dawley Town Council since 2007, and Chair since 2011. I know first-hand the importance of our parish, town and community councils.

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AUG
09

LGA Conservative Group: Why do parish councils matter?

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Author: Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE, former leader of the LGA Conservative Group


I am delighted to have the opportunity to submit this essay explaining why I believe that parish and town councils matter. I am also looking forward to engaging in a wider discussion on these issues with colleagues from the other LGA political groups at the fringe session NALC is organising at the LGA Conference on 5 July 2023. 

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AUG
02

Make a difference in climate change this International Youth Day

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Author: Jamie Sims, communications officer at Hope for the Future


For young people today, the climate and nature crisis is a central issue - one which has drawn many of us into engagement with the democratic system. This can be seen in the rapid global spread of school climate strikes. My own engagement with collective political action was in large part sparked by getting involved in a campaign for divestment from fossil fuel investments as a student. Of course, there are good reasons for this surge of interest in environmentalism among younger generations. We all have an interest in a livable and healthy planet and want to see our natural environment protected and restored.

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JUL
26

Visualising local Census 2021 data

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Author: Jessica Bailey, deputy head of outreach and engagement, Office for National Statistics


Everyone benefits from the census. The data provided helps councils, charities and businesses plan and fund the local and national services we all rely on, wherever we live, across England and Wales. 

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JUL
19

The Fidelity Fiduciary App

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Author: Jeremy Leggett, policy advisor at ACRE 


If Michael Banks in ‘Mary Poppins’, were to wisely invest his tuppence in The Bank today, he would not give it, face-to face, to a cashier. The transition from banks with a branch in every town, to banks that aspire to have apps in every pocket has taken little time at all.  

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JUL
05

Tackling climate change and protecting nature in our council and communities

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Author: Jake Woodier, senior media and campaigns manager at The Climate Coalition 


Climate change and protecting our natural world is the greatest challenge of our time. It requires urgent and collaborative action from government through to local councils and our communities. While national and international efforts are crucial, there is great hope and belief in the change that takes place at the local level.

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JUL
12

Unlock the full potential of your Online Community Engagement

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Author: Mark Luxton, digital community engagement lead at GoCollaborate 


With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, the face of community engagement has changed significantly. But are you optimising your online community engagement efforts effectively?

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JUN
28

Alcester Town Council: A model for community health and well-being

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Author: Nadoya Reid, communications officer at the National Association of Local Councils 


Since 2016, NALC's Star Council Awards Council of the Year winner 2022, Alcester Town Council (ATC), has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of its residents. By establishing a Health and Well-being Board, the council has fostered a resilient community by nurturing social networks and building capacity. ATC has been at the forefront of promoting a thriving and inclusive community by focusing on creating connections, reducing isolation, and enhancing a sense of belonging. This blog post explores the remarkable initiatives undertaken by Alcester Town Council to support the health and well-being of its residents.

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JUN
21

Five ways to kickstart LGBTQ+ inclusion at work

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Author: Stonewall


Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or an ally, whether you head up your organisation or you’re in an entry-level role, everybody should feel able to make their workplace a little more inclusive. Here, we’ll share five top tips for kickstarting LGBTQ+ inclusion at your organisation, regardless of shape or size.

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JUN
14

Empowering local communities: Parish and town councils' role in the Great Big Green Week

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Author: Jake Woodier of The Climate Coalition


Organised by The Climate Coalition, Great Big Green Week is a celebration of community action to address climate change and protect our natural world. Now in its third year, this nationwide event brings together communities and groups from across the country to showcase their efforts in safeguarding the planet. Local (parish and town) councils have a vital role to play in supporting and promoting Great Big Green Week alongside people from all walks of life that engage in the campaign. 

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JUN
07

Make June your Month of Community 

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Author: Tracey Robbins, head of UK delivery at Eden Project Communities


This June, the third annual Month of Community will occur across the UK. We came together with a group of partners to start the initiative in 2021, recognising so many wonderful campaigns taking place around the same time of year. This includes The Big Lunch, our annual get-together for neighbours bringing communities across the UK together for friendship, food and fun on the first weekend in June. 

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APR
13

Co-opting for democracy

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Author: Cllr David Francis, chair of NALC's Policy Committee 


It is sometimes said that democracy can only be achieved through the ballot box and that making co-options is a failure of the democratic process. However, this need not be the case, and co-options can be a positive tool. Arguably, every local (parish and town) council benefit from having a mix of councillors drawn from various backgrounds. They are capable, enthusiastic, and engaged in reflecting on their communities.

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MAY
31

Town and parish councils can boost community well-being, children’s physical activity levels, and tackle isolation by supporting play streets

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Author: Pete Davies, chief executive officer at Playing Out  


Streets constitute the majority of public space in our villages and towns. To see them only as places to drive and park cars is to undervalue them. Streets can and should be places where people can sit, talk, read, play and walk.

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MAY
25

Distinguishing between conduct and performance issues in the workplace

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Author: Danielle Scott, solicitor and senior employment law adviser at WorkNest 


An employee isn’t performing to the required standards. But are you dealing with a conduct or performance issue?

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MAY
17

How can I be more aware of subsidence?

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Author: Lee​ Cleaver, sales development account broker at BHIB Councils Insurance 


In recent years the UK has been subject to extremely hot and dry weather, putting properties at greater risk of subsidence.

Subsidence happens when the ground under a property collapse or sinks lower. This uneven movement may result in structural damage, such as cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, which can be expensive to repair.

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MAY
11

We need seamless links between mental and physical health care

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Author: Mel Islin, physical activity programme manager, Rethink Mental Illness


It is widely known and accepted that physical activity is good for our physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. But often, people are isolated from activities or cannot find the right one.

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MAY
04

Nash Mills Parish Council - Achieving a Quality Award

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Author: Nikki Bugden, parish clerk at Nash Mills Parish Council


Why apply?

We all have reasons for applying for the NALC Local Council Award Scheme.

It might be that you want to evidence to your communities the standards that you adhere to as a council, it might be to maintain your own CPD, and it might just be that you are so proud of what you and your team have achieved that you want to receive sector approved accreditation to reflect it.

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APR
27

Farnham Town Council — winner of Council of the Year 2021

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Author: Iain Lynch, town clerk at Farnham Town Council  


This week the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) launched its Star Council Awards 2023, the only awards in England that recognise local (parish and town) councils' contributions to their communities. The long-running awards celebrate local councils, councillors, young councillors, clerks, and county associations' positive impact on their communities. We look back at the 2021 Council of the Year winner, Farnham Town Council.

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APR
20

Driving down the cost-of-living

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Authors: Kim Lowes, parish councillor and community pantry lead and Sophie Taylor, clerk and responsible finance officer at Coxhoe Parish Council


The parish of Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill is not alone in feeling tested by rising costs.  As a parish council, we do our utmost to respond to the needs of residents, including taking a proactive approach to difficult financial times.

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APR
06

Top 10 tips for effective community engagement in 2023

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Author: Daniel Purchese, co-director at Breakthrough Communications 


As local (parish and town) councils are the closest level of government to their communities, it is essential for them to communicate effectively and strategically. In 2023, with the increasing reliance on technology and social media and the fact that councils are providing more services than ever, effective communication is essential in supporting effective governance.

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MAR
30

Be more purple – how to support someone who is having a seizure

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Author: Nicola Swanborough, head of external affairs at the Epilepsy Society  


If someone at your council meeting – maybe a fellow councillor or a public member – had a seizure, would you know what to do?

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MAR
22

New government discount scheme

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Author: Lucy Knight, customer care and communications specialist at Utility Aid   


On 9 January 2023, the government announced introducing a new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), which will run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. This will replace the previous Energy Bills Relief Scheme that provided a discount to all eligible organisations (which ends on 31 March 2023).

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