We are preparing our Mission Action Plan ( what we plan to do over the next few years to get involved in the local community and discern what God wants the church community to develop and do . Here are the results of a community survey which we used as a tool to do this
Sawley Parish Churches Mission Action Plan 2016
Community Survey- May/June 2016 Report
Thanks to all who took part in the survey,both online and at community events- here are the results
To gather the views of the local community concerning life and issues within the area and how the work of All Saints with St Marys might impact on those issues.
A small sub-committee designed a survey using Survey Monkey. We considered the logistical difficulties of timescale, size of area and population. We also considered the definition of ‘Community’ as increasingly the parish boundary no longer closely reflects the geographical spread of those people who attend or use the church resources. The survey was distributed therefore in a number of ways specifically to target those people who might not be regular worshipers at All Saints or St Marys
Through Social Media and Facebook.
By links to local community groups and inclusion to their websites.
By direct approach to all those groups who currently use the church for activities.
As part of an appeal to church members to use the survey as part of their ‘Frontline’ conversations with friends/ neighbours etc.
By directly canvassing visitors to church social events eg Car Boot Sale
We currently have received 243 responses which has been sufficient to observe some very definite trends in the answers to questions 4, 5 and 6 which were left deliberately open ended. An analysis follows but some general comments apply.
The survey was very well received by individuals and organisations and in itself caused conversations and meetings which would not have otherwise happened. Looking at something automatically changes it. Eg we already have closer ties to the Parish Council, who would wish to marry their business plan to our results. The Friends of Sawley Park are now in regular contact. In part due to the survey, a formerly adversarial group is now much more understanding due to our desire to communicate openly.
Within our parish there are areas that are more difficult to reach and without addresses it is impossible to assess the surveys impact on for example the Pennyfields Estate. There are also areas within the parish that local government information would tell us have high indices of deprivation and similarly the team cannot assess the surveys impact here, which could significantly skew a generally positive overall feedback.
The online survey contained a small number of negative responses that had little to do with serious consideration of the questions. We chose not to include them in the analysis but they do serve as a recognition that when we seek to serve there will be opposition. The online survey also had a higher incidence of people leaving more difficult to consider questions out
The team made a conscious effort to collect the views of as wide an age range as possible. We recognise that under 18s at 10% of the total might be under-represented.
Again this was included to ensure the team were representative in terms of gender. Although we made attempts to positively discriminate in or to get a balanced view, we could not have foreseen that of the online responses some 78% were from females which has skewed the overall proportion of female to males.
Because of the nature of the survey it was not surprising to see weddings and social events as the main reasons for going to All Saints and St Marys. It was pleasing to see school visits occur in the ‘Others’ section. In retrospect we should have defined worshipers as being ‘regular’ or ‘occasional’.
Question 4 What especially do you love about this area?
In rank order the emerging significant themes are:-
Access to green areas Amenities Transport links
Sense of Community (Village) Good neighbours/Friendly
Housing Schools History
There seems a genuine love of the local green space. There were fears over increased use of green belt and large local developments. A number of people talked of conservation issues. There was recognition of increased housing locally and yet many people still were keen to see Sawley as having a distinct identity as a village. There was a sense of connection with the past, with the church building having a high regard for its involvement in major life events over many generations. The local park was mentioned by young people as being much better!
Question 5 What might improve the Area?
In rank order emerging significant themes are
Litter and dog control. Attention to traffic speed/volume/parking
Community events (like Draycott!) Better bus links (Dales Estate)
Children’s activities (indoor) Better policing/council investment
Community groups working together
Communication – Newspaper- means of knowing what’s going on.
Less antisocial behaviour Post Office.
Set within a positive context, people spoke of wanting to replicate the type of community spirit that has been evident in Draycott. There was a real feel of wanting groups to work together, more joint ventures. Many of their concerns involved advocacy of some kind and of lobbying local representatives, rather than of the provision of single resources.
Question 6 What help would you need to improve this area?
In rank order the emerging themes were
Funding Volunteer time Central Organisation
Event sponsorship Information/Publicity/Communication
Advice and Advocacy Places/Spaces. eg somewhere for drugs/poverty advice
Generally, people seemed to find this a difficult question, with more money being the default answer. There was recognition of people needing to commit time and effort, despite our modern lives. Again, people wanted information.
Question 7 How involved do you feel The Parish of Sawley churches are in the local community?
On a scale of 1-10 the average score was 5.5 which is significantly less than our own perception. This could be due to lack of awareness of our many activities, which could be a communication issue. We cannot however ignore the possibility that we are not impacting on the lives of many in the local community. In personal approaches this question was used to ask a supplementary one about people’s awareness of St Marys and its activities. It became obvious that many were not even aware of the St Marys or its relationship to All Saints!
Process, communication and involvement seem to be more important to people than specific acts or provisions.
There is a genuine deep connection locally for the history, conservation and preservation of green spaces and special buildings
There is a desire to see a renewal of community spirit, although difficulties of time and money lead to looking towards local government to somehow solve the issue. The initiatives in Draycott were quite often mentioned as good practice.
Outside the church family people are unaware of the work that goes on at All Saints with St Marys.
There is a wealth of opportunity locally for a Christian voice to be heard!
The responses and our deliberations about them brought to light three main themes which we have put some initial thoughts to. We would welcome any additional suggestions.
That as part of Mission and Outreach the church looks to develop strategic community partnership action plan, seeking to establish joint sustainable initiatives.
That the church develops a positive Christian voice in advocating for local issues.
That we approach successful community groups eg Draycott Village Fund to learn good practice
That we review how we communicate with the community. Notice boards, signage, publicity.
Continued improvements to the Spire, development of our presence on social media, twitter, church blog etc
That as a church we look to invest further in the lives of those in our local area by exploring not for profit social enterprises in order to equip people.
Review our church buildings and grounds, investing in imaginative ways to address issues expressed in the survey.
That we prayerfully consider investing in spiritual development of our frontline groups possibly into specialist interest groups eg lobbying for local amenities, an environmental group etc.
That we make a positive choice to invest in community events as relationship building opportunities.