The launch and the future of Active Neighbourhood Scans
Posted: Fri, 27 Oct 2023 13:10
September excitingly saw the launch of Active Neighbourhood Scans. The first two events at Blackbird Leys and Banbury brought together a mix of different charities, organisations, and residents within each area, to assess how easy or difficult it is to walk, wheel, cycle, and be active, in a given priority neighbourhood in Oxfordshire. The sessions sought to gain as much insight from as diverse participants as possible, to truly reflect the views of the communities within each neighbourhood.
The long-term aim is to reduce barriers to being active within those areas by engaging with local communities, hearing directly from them about their views of their environment, and making improvements based on these real experiences and feedback.
What did the sessions look like?
Each day was split into two sessions, one in the morning and afternoon. There were a mix of short and long routes to choose from, and each route ensured that local amenities (such as shops, leisure centres, parks, and other public spaces) were included, to mirror the behaviours and journeys residents may take regularly. Participants were given the choice of which route they went on, and if they chose a pavement- or road-use route.
Each participant or group took a questionnaire with them, which asked for ratings and comments on different aspects of their route –
- Maintenance and attractiveness of the spaces they encountered
- Ease of access
- Questions around safety
- Ideas and opportunities for improvements
- Things which make that area or route special
They also took photos of notable points within the route, which were shared with all participants at that particular session in a WhatsApp group. Once participants returned to the meeting point, they could choose to continue discussions and share ideas with other attendees.
What were the outcomes of the sessions?
29 people attended the sessions in Blackbird Leys, and 14 joined in Banbury. There were a mix of residents and families, sixth formers from local schools, and representatives from different organisations.
Across both days at Blackbird Leys and Banbury, we received over 445 photos with huge volumes of feedback, which included barriers to being active, highlights and positives of the routes, and potential opportunities to maximise the space to create healthier and more active neighbourhoods. Participants walked, wheeled, and cycled, and had different physical abilities, offering a breadth of feedback, personal experience, and local knowledge.
Inviting others into the conversation enables us to understand each neighbourhood at a deeper level than if we were to simply walk around the neighbourhood ourselves, without any engagement from residents and local communities or organisations. The Active Neighbourhood Scans create a space for collaboration and sharing ideas, and can initiate change that will be impactful, informed by people's experiences and what they would like to see in their neighbourhood.
What are the next steps for the Active Neighbourhood Scans?
The results of the first Active Neighbourhood Scan sessions demonstrated a need for further engagement with communities in Blackbird Leys and Banbury. There are plans in place to work with more schools, youth clubs, and other specific community groups, to ensure that we are as well-informed as possible and that the feedback reflects the views of residents more accurately. We will also be proactively sharing this insight with key partners, planners and developers to help create long-term change, and importantly will be investing small amounts of funding, with potential for these to be matched, so that we can turn residents' ideas to create more active neighbourhoods into reality.
Thank you to those who have been involved so far and have attended the sessions. We welcome more participants to attend the future sessions, and we will share more information about upcoming sessions in the new year.
If you would like to be a part of any future sessions to ensure your voice is heard, or if you have any questions about Active Neighbourhood Scans and the place-based work happening with Oxfordshire on the Move, please reach out to Ellie: firstname.lastname@example.org.