The Civic Society Initiative was set up in 2009 with the support of The National Trust, CPRE and other organisations to ensure a future for the civic society movement and was formally launched in April 2010 as Civic Voice.
Civic Trust's prime purpose was to improve the quality of new and historic buildings and public spaces, and to help improve the general quality of urban life. The trust operated from two main offices, in London and Liverpool and supported a national network of civic societies. These were local groups in which volunteer members helped to improve their surroundings. It ran the Civic Trust Regeneration Unit, which supported urban renewal through programmes addressing issues of concern such as "the night time economy". It ran campaigns to influence and change thinking on civic matters, and change government policy. It helped establish conservation areas and coordinate Heritage Open Days.
The Civic Trust Awards was established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, urban design, landscape and public are which improve the quality of life for local communities. Whilst the Civic Trust as an umbrella organisation went into Administration in April 2009, the Civic Trust Awards have continued as an independent scheme operating on a not-for-profit basis as a Community Interest Company.