Project Intern Elizabeth Kingdom tells us about the Whitley Community Transport Project Steering Group…
Thursday evening was the Steering Group meeting for our project that took place in Hexham Community Centre. This was attended by several members of our team, key stakeholders including members of the Council, the Head Teacher of Northumberland Training Academy and representatives from ReadiBus, that included the General Manager. We presented our findings at this meeting to update everyone on all the work we have conducted over the past few weeks and were able to present preliminary findings and results from the questionnaires.
Our main findings from the interviews and focus groups conducted showed that there are two different transport needs in Whitley. One transport need is for better access to services, to supermarkets and to shops and to the hospital. The other need is day trips and days out for members of the community and local schools.
The preliminary questionnaire findings and results, taken from a sample of 250, showed that nearly half of the respondents reported a problem with transport. Other findings highlighted that public transport is a very important part of how people travel in Whitley and around 35% of our respondents walk to places and 25% travel by bus. The findings also allowed us to start thinking of some emerging themes as well as showing that there is a capacity for some kind of partnership to help improve transport issues in Whitley.
The Steering Group meeting was definitely a success and allowed for everyone to be updated on our findings from all the research we have conducted. The attendees were enthusiastic about how much useful data had been gathered and analysed and it was pleasing to note that when the final set of findings and results are available there will definitely be some hard evidence for the project.
The Steering Group was my last event for my internship. It was a great way to end such an interesting project which I have learned so much from! I loved working with the research team and engaging with the community, both local residents as well as key stakeholders in the area. I’m excited to see what comes of the project and still hope to be very involved in the outcomes!
It has been decided that another Steering Group meeting will take place in early December for those who couldn’t attend this meeting, as well as those who did. This will be a meeting which will give further updates on the results. 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.