A survey of almost 3,300 residents undertaken by West Berkshire Council in late May gives a window into how communities are feeling about the impact of Covid-19 on their health, finances, on the environment.
The results of the survey across the district are being used to inform its Recovery Strategy, which is being considered by Council Executive on 16 July.
The survey revealed increased levels of anxiety by 18% of respondents and falls in household income from 31.9% of respondents.
Significant changes in lifestyle in future were indicated as all respondents who were able to work from home intend to continue to do so even more in the future.
Almost one third of those surveyed felt that the Covid-19 pandemic would enable them to make a positive impact on the district’s aspirations towards carbon neutrality, with almost half expressing the intention to travel on foot more as a result of Covid-19.
Looking forward 63.7% indicated they intended to visit local high streets either the same as before, more or much more when allowed to do so.
Among the key findings was:
- 86.5% thought the council’s response to Covid-19 was either excellent, good or fair. 8.8% declined to answer with 4.7% judging it to be poor.
- 70.8% said they have volunteered during the pandemic and 78.2% of these intend to continue doing so.
- Awareness of the Community Support Hub was fairly high, at 72%.
- 15.3% of respondents believe that someone in their household has been infected with Covid-19.
Commenting on the survey, Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:
“Covid-19 has changed so much about daily life for all of us here in West Berkshire and we were keen to survey residents so that we could understand what their individual experiences have been”.
“Some of the things we’ve been told by residents are very positive, particularly around their appetite to volunteer, help others in the community and to support local businesses on the high street”.
“Other responses are quite worrying, particularly with a third of those surveyed reporting a fall in household income. Through our recovery work, we will look at how we can get those who have been most affected back on their feet and will offer all the support we can”.
“We’re also very aware that some groups who are particularly vulnerable to the impact of Covid-19, such as young people and those from the BAMER community, are under-represented among the respondents and we have employed a new Equality & Diversity Officer to look at how we can engage them more effectively”.
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