The survey offers a snapshot of some people’s views of LHS. Nevertheless, it is very useful information as we go forward. In particular, as a newly registered charity, we will take note of the opportunities and feedback flagged up.
On the whole, people are very pleased with what we do and want us to do more of it. They tend to appreciate that this means we need more volunteers. People would like more community links, more plant sales and for outings to be revived.
Those who responded typically had a reasonable space for gardening but an important minority were indoor gardeners, or had only a patio/balcony, or shared a community garden. Different age groups and ethnicities were represented perhaps more widely than anticipated, but nowhere approaching Lambeth’s overall demographics. Working more closely with other community groups is one way to address this.
Why we conducted this survey
For two reasons. Firstly, we would like to know more about our members and potential members, and how we can do better. Secondly, we part of Lambeth’s Voluntary & Community Sector, and renting our Trading Hut from Lambeth, we are required to complete a survey every year with details of our beneficiaries’ demographics.
We received 78 responses. The majority were members but others (16%) had never been a member.
What kind of gardening space did people have access to? Most commonly (two thirds of replies), either a small or medium-sized garden. Sixteen percent had either a large garden or an allotment. Smaller numbers (around 7% in all cases) had access to either a balcony or patio, a shared space/community garden, or had no outdoor space but grew houseplants.
Feedback on our work
What do we do well? (This was a multiple choice question.) The Trading Hut was the most popular benefit (83%), not surprising as the majority of people responding were members. But 71% also rated our flower shows and talks and social evenings, which are free to all. Sixty percent think we help people to learn more about gardening. A quarter think we help people improve their wellbeing and just under a quarter (23%) thought we help to improve the environment. A third value our emails and social media updates, and 29% the 8-page newsletter. Our workshops and community activities were also thought to be important (22%). Respondents also rated our plant sales and the Flower Show at Lambeth Country Show was flagged up as having particular merit.
How can we improve? (We asked respondents to bear in mind that the organisation is run entirely by volunteers.) The most popular response (a third) was to offer more partnerships with local groups. Extending Trading Hut hours, more workshops and more community projects were all well supported ideas (around a quarter of responses in each case). Online Talks were supported by 21%.
There were several interesting suggestions and observations, whilst responses obviously took to heart the difficulties of putting further pressure on existing volunteers. People miss our away days and would like to see more community projects and plant sales.
Answers for Lambeth – who are you?
Most (72%) people who answered the survey were from Lambeth. Respondents were from all age groups between 16 – 61+. The majority was 61+ (two thirds) or 41-60 (20%).
Fourteen percent of those who answered this question told us they had a disability. Six percent of those answering considered their household to have low socio-economic status. The most common ethnicity (77%) was White British. We also had responses from those of mixed ethnic background (6%), Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British.
Only 36 people chose to tell us their gender. The majority (56%) was female. Interestingly, almost an identical number (35) answered the question whether they identified as LGBTQ+. Four fifths said No, 9% said Yes, the remainder Prefer Not to Say. Twelve percent of those answering the question told us that they speak English as an Additional Language (EAL).
The survey was open 1 – 30 June 2023 online. It was publicised through our emails, website, social media and at the Lambeth Country Show as a QR code. The questions included those asked by Lambeth in its VCS self-assessment tool.
Many thanks to everyone who completed our survey during June.