Sustainable Frome organised a survey towards the end of 2014 to find out what mattered to people in our organisation and some of the other voluntary and community organisations in our town. Rachel Bodle designed the survey and has produced the findings here (click on the pictures for a larger view).

Survey of people building resilience in Frome

49 people participated in this survey that was carried out in Nov/Dec 2014. The first section asked general questions about building resilience in Frome, the second elicited feedback for Sustainable Frome. There was a final open-ended question that collected diverse additional comments.

Questions about building resilience in Frome

Q1 asked about the areas of activity perceived to be relevant to building resilience in Frome right now and Q2-4 asked respondents to nominate their top 3 most important activities:

Note that although others activities were mentioned most often in the answers to Q1, the activity that featured most often in the ‘Top 3’ was ‘tackling inequality, reducing social exclusion and building community links’.

Additional comments were varied and ranged from increasing community spaces for social interaction to building awareness of the contribution a spiritual dimension brings to resilience-building activity, and from a plea for more events that engage the wider public to a call for high eco-standards to be applied to new buildings along with more retrofitting of existing homes.

Q5 asked about the focus of activity, new or existing, that respondents were drawn towards right now and drew a wide variety of responses spanning the environmental and social justice concerns above.

  • Spiritual focus (3 comments), eg. Widening awareness in a heart-based way of the destruction of all life on Earth and offering hope and positive solutions.
  • Conserving resources (4 comments), eg. Recycling plastics and educating people about the importance of recycling.
  • Energy-related (6 comments), eg. Home energy reduction and adding to the local supply of renewable energy.
  • Sustainable transport (3 comments), eg. Improving public transport, reducing use of the private car.
  • Local food (6 comments); eg. Supporting and increasing local food production.
  • Natural environment (4 comments); eg. Planting trees and messing about around the river.
  • Health & wellbeing (4 comments): eg. Relieving loneliness and isolation, of any age
  • Tackling inequality (6 comments): eg. Encouraging all business to embrace the living wage
  • Campaigning nationally/internationally (3 comments): eg. Against TTIP, or privatisation in the NHS

Q6 highlighted different ways in which respondents were currently active:

Q7 asked respondents in what ways Sustainable Frome could support their activities:

An additional suggestion was for Sustainable Frome to raise awareness and address the causes of inequality – feeding into wider initiatives. ‘Frome isn’t an island!’ commented one respondent.

Q8 asked which aspects of Sustainable Frome could be made to work better. Half of all respondents suggested that Sustainable Frome’s website and other publicity could achieve much more. The second most commonly highlighted suggestion was for more public events:

Other comments and suggestions received

Many thoughtful comments were offered in the final section of the survey and these will be made available on Sustainable Frome’s new website and at monthly meetings. An indication of the scope of comments received is illustrated by this ‘Wordle’.

Who were the respondents?

The link to the survey was included in the Sustainable Frome emailed newsletters for November and December, circulated to town councillors, and sent to key individuals with clear roles in selected other community groups.

The survey was anonymous but it was possible to see that:

  • 36 respondents had an association with Sustainable Frome
  • Respondents represent a considerable proactive resource for Frome: there were around 40 responses to the question asking what activity people were drawn to at this time, and a large number of additional comments throughout the survey
  • 3 people said they used Frome as an inspiration for their work elsewhere.