CITTASLOW COCKERMOUTH IS GO! (Slowly, mind...)
Cittaslow, which is Italian for "slow city" or "slow town", is an international network of towns. A Cittaslow signs up to working towards a set of goals that aim to improve quality of life, and needs to pass an assessment before being admitted as a member of the Cittaslow network.
Cittaslow is a way of thinking. It is about caring for your town and the people who live and work in it or visit it. It is about protecting the environment, about promoting local goods and produce, and about avoiding the 'sameness' that afflicts too many towns in the modern world.
While promotion of local produce and healthy eating are key elements of being a Cittaslow town, the accreditation criteria also cover aspects such as environmental management, the quality of the urban fabric, the maintenance of green spaces, conservation of historic buildings, traffic management and hospitality training. In essence, Cittaslow is about raising the overall quality of life for all local residents.
The Cittaslow movement has strong links with Slow Food, and began life in October 1999, during the food festival in Orvieto, Italy. While Slow Food is open for individuals to join as members, membership of Cittaslow is open to towns, which must have a population under 50,000. Organisations can also join as Cittaslow Supporters.
There are now Cittaslow National Networks in England, Wales, Germany, Norway, Poland and Portugal, with other countries working towards setting up their own national networks.
Cittaslow UK is 'led' by Ludlow, the first town in the UK to be admitted to the Cittaslow network; Alysham in Norfolk was the second Cittaslow in the UK. Diss, also in Norfolk joined the Cittaslow UK network in March 2006. Mold became the first Cittaslow in Wales towards the end of 2006, and now has a representative on the board of Cittaslow UK, alongside Ludlow and Aylsham. The first town in each region or country of the UK to become Cittaslow automatically becomes part of the Cittaslow UK board.
Cockermouth has become seventh town in the UK and the first in the North West to be awarded this honour.
The opening meeting on March 19th 2008 to build the Cittaslow Cockermouth community, enthusiastically welcomed the opportunities presented by the Cittaslow movement to develop and market the historic, distinctive nature of the town, and build on the Cittaslow principles of tradition, quality and service.
This follows on from the recent accreditation of Cockermouth as the first town in the North West to be recognised as ‘Cittaslow’.
Retailers, service and accommodation providers, voluntary groups and also individuals were invited to sign up to become ‘Cittaslow Cockermouth Champions’. Subscription rates per year were agreed as: £30 for businesses, £15 for charity & voluntary groups and £5 for individuals. Subscribers receive a Cittaslow Cockermouth certificate that presents the key values and goals, and a Cittaslow Cockermouth sticker.
Further discussion also confirmed that besides the active marketing of Cockermouth as part of the Cittaslow network, the first two projects would focus on encouraging local loyalty and also promoting a plastic bag-free town.
The ‘Locally Loyal’ scheme will endorse and promote all Cittaslow subscribers who use, sell or buy locally, and the town’s innovative Riversmeet group are already preparing a promotion to persuade Cockermouth to become a plastic bag-free town.
The town mayor is to become the figurehead of the Cittaslow Cockermouth movement, and will also become a member of the Cittaslow UK Main Board, for the honour of being the first town in the North West to be accredited.
The next meeting for the group will be held in June, and anyone who wants to register or find out more about the Cittaslow Cockermouth activities should contact Cockermouth Partnership members Sue Hannah of Limelighting (01900 822480) or Chris George (01900 828209 eves), who are acting as Cittaslow Cockermouth Co-ordinators.
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