University of Reading students Emma Lacy and Eleanor Bowerman-Whyatt, who are assisting with the research work on the project, look at some of the early data that the questionnaires are revealing…
This week we have been out and about in the community filling in more questionnaires.
We attended Hexham Community Centre where we were able to carry out the transport questionnaire with parents of children who were enjoying an arts and crafts morning. The feedback we received showed that people struggle to use the buses that are already provided for various reasons. One of the main recurring issues for many of the people that we spoke to was that buses do not run regularly within Whitley. Even with the services that do run regularly, most of these are focused upon the town centre as the main destination; therefore limiting the ability to travel to other places, without having to utilise more than one bus, increasing cost.
Another example is getting to the hospital, which involves a bus change followed by a substantial walk. Another thing noted was the lack of benches and seating for the public at various bus stops. To add to this, there is often limited space on the buses for prams so people travelling with children often find the journey into town or to the shops difficult. Finally, it can be fairly costly. In certain areas of the country, for example in the centre of London, young children can travel on buses for free. In Whitley, this is not the case and can therefore make a simple journey to do the weekly shop a lot more expensive, therefore initiatives like that of areas in London may help improve the mobility of many within Whitley.
Our visit to the Community Centre was very insightful and it was lovely to be able to talk to members of the community about their transport needs, as well as being able to share knowledge on how university is an attainable goal for anyone. This was made even more enjoyable due to the level of enthusiasm from people within Whitley to participate within the project and we would like to thank everyone who has helped with the project. It is very important to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and that the best use for the Big Local funding is found.
From our perspective, this project is a great opportunity to help make a difference to the area of Whitley and can be used as a great example for other future community based projects.
Next week, one of the student interns will be looking at the census data and using this to build a profile of Whitley. Remember to stay tuned for the latest updates across our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also fill in our questionnaire here and find the latest of our blog posts on the Big Local Whitley site here, or on our WordPress blog here.