Through a series of targeted and generic questionnaires, we sought to understand the views and opinions of residents within the New Life on the Old West (NLOW) project area, specifically on:
• How they currently use and access their local countryside and green spaces;
• What aspects of nature they most want to learn about and see protected through the NLOW project;
• Whether and how they may like to be involved in the NLOW project;
• Whether and how they want to learn about the history and heritage of the Old West landscape.
This information has allowed us to tailor the NLOW project activities to ensure they will directly meet the needs and wishes of the communities and our target audience within the project area.
Through online (using SurveyMonkey.com) and paper questionnaires, we gathered the views of 208 people living within and around the NLOW project area. These audiences included: 1) Facebook users registered within the NLOW project area (i.e. Online Questionnaire); 2) Members of the 9 Parish Councils within the NLOW project; 3) Local anglers approached through the Angling Trust; 4) Members of existing local conservation groups, approached through the Wildlife Trust BCN; 5) The parents of children attending primary schools in the NLOW project area; 6) Local residents who we spoke to at a community event (i.e. Cottenham Parade); 7) Visitors to Wicken Fen Nature Reserve; and 8) Visitors to Kingfishers Bridge Nature Reserve.
In addition to the online and paper questionnaires, we used focus group consultations to test our proposed activities and events with key stakeholder groups from our audience, targeting groups that we have identified as hard-to-reach in the project area. This involved six separate face-to-face meetings during the period November 2018 – February 2019, discussing the plans of the NLOW project and identifying potential areas of engagement for each specific group.
These focus group consultations included a range of audiences including:
• Educators of young people and children – Primary School Head Teachers, Scout and Guide Leaders
• Children and Young People – Wilburton Guides
• Local Anglers – Members of the Lower Ouse & Fenland Fisheries Consultative Association
• Managers of a Care Home – Cottenham Court Care Home
• Elderly People and Care Home Residents – residents within an Alzheimer’s assisted living home
Our focus group consultations enabled us to identify and develop NLOW project activities to ensure that these hard-to-reach groups are included and engaged in the project. In total, we managed to talk to 60 adults, children and young people in detail.
Overall, the opinions and views of our consultation’s respondents gave strong evidence that the range of activities and habitat enhancements proposed through the NLOW project are supported by the local communities who are to benefit from these.
Understanding the NLOW project area and the project’s key target audiences through the use of neighbourhood statistics, audience profiling and community consultation and engagement, gave us considerable insight into the lifestyle and life stage characteristics of the residents living in the NLOW area. This critical information meant we were able to design and develp project activities which are well-thought-out, meaningful and more appealing to the audience’s lifestyles, behaviours, and interests.
See the results of the survey in the Resources and Downloads section
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