Longford Park Users’ Survey 2017-18
This survey was conducted – mostly online (Survey Monkey) – from October-December 2017 and then May-July 2018.
547 park users took part in the online survey, and a further 150 (approx.) completed hard copy surveys – these have yet to be processed and included in these totals.
The most popular ‘attraction’ is “enjoying greenery / picnics etc”, which was chosen by 399 people. The average number of attractions ticked was 4.7, so people are attracted by numerous aspects of the park’s ‘offer’. In total, there were 30 options that people ticked (including the top ten, above) – such as Guides, Scouts, bowling, tennis, athletics, the Longford Gym, and the numerous activities that take place at the Firswood Community Centre (such as pilates, yoga, and art classes).
In addition to this, 80 people volunteered other uses, the most common being walking, as well as commuting, the ice cream van, bird watching and the Conker Crew Forest School.
40 percent of respondents said they use the park “throughout the day / at no set times”, and peak usage is during the afternoon, when many parents come to Pets’ Corner and to the café, which is very popular especially during good weather.
Paying for activities
We stated that it costs around £130k per annum for the upkeep of the park and whether or not users would be willing to pay for some activities that are currently free? A majority were opposed to the idea, but 45% were willing to pay for at least some activities.
We offered open text boxes for any “other activities / facilities you’d like to see in the park” and received over 500 suggestions, such as table tennis, all-weather football pitch, nature courses, sensory garden, wildflower meadows, rounders, exercise equipment, live bands, etc., etc. These suggestions included things we already offer (such as outdoor theatre, wildlife preservation group, cycling lessons and health walks), indicating a lack of awareness of all that is on offer.
Many suggestions were for improvements that we know we would like to make, such as improved drainage, upgraded tennis courts, public toilets, less mud in the playing areas, BMX track, etc., etc.
The huge number of suggestions needs to be processed and analysed in more detail.
Question 6 was as follows:
“Our Lottery Fund bid will include the heritage of the park, and may include restoring some of its original features. Are you aware that Longford Park was originally the home of John Rylands, Manchester’s first millionaire, whose book collection was later housed at John Rylands Library, on Deansgate?”
Our survey indicates a high awareness of the park’s historical heritage amongst park users. But respondents are likely to be the more engaged and aware citizens, who have accessed the survey via our Facebook page (which has nearly 2,000 ‘likes’) and other local Facebook groups. We also have over 500 people on our email list.
We asked the ages of our respondents, and found that 95% were 30 years and older. Evidently, we need to work harder to engage with the younger users of the park.
Nearly all users volunteered their postcodes, and the vast majority were M21 (Chorlton) or M32 (Stretford). Further analysis of these postcodes could be carried out.
Finally, we asked for additional comments in an open text box, and received over 200 responses. These could be coded and analysed in more detail, but a small selection is offered below. It is evident that people care very much about Longford Park:
“A wonderful park. Essential green space in the city.”
“Love the park love pets corner and café.”
“The friends have done a great job over recent years and the improvements are obvious.”
“I think it’s a wonderful area and am pleased that it’s on my door step.”