We asked for your thoughts on all things outdoors...

...And we’ve received hundreds!

We asked you to share your thoughts on the great outdoors on your doorstep, and you certainly have – in their hundreds. THANK YOU!

Our survey through the Community Data Co-operative only takes five minutes to complete, but it is helping to shape future events and activities in what we’re calling our ‘Outdoor Town’ in the weeks, months and years ahead.


Breaking news

Originally scheduled to run until the end of September, we have extended the survey until the end of October in response to requests from our partners. You too can still take part here until 31st October.


Remind me what’s going on

Encouraging more people to enjoy the great outdoors – especially those on our doorstep – is the ultimate aim of an initiative we’ve been passionate about for a long time – and one that we’re accelerating.

Cheryl Goodman is Burnley Leisure and Culture (BLC) Health Partnership Manager, who has been working on a hotbed of ideas, known as Together an Active Future (TaAF), since 2020.

She says: “We want more people to be active, it’s as simple as that. Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a bit of gardening, walking the dog, or just pottering about; inevitably, when you go outside, you’re active and you’re moving around.”


Community Data Co-operative

To get the conversations started we have engaged the UK’s first community-owned research business to talk to key elements of our community to gather their opinions about what is good and bad about the outdoors, what they would and wouldn’t like to do, and where they would like to do it. And the results are coming in!

The Community Data Cooperative is a multi-stakeholder co-op run as a not-for-profit enterprise, owned and run by members drawn from the wider community to represent citizens and SMEs.

The co-op provides a safe, trusted space for individuals, businesses and communities to share their data, views and opinions with other organisations seeking insight into their challenges. Run on a commercial basis, all profits go back into community wellbeing projects, are reinvested into the business, or paid as small dividends to the members.

Cheryl says: “Once the survey closes, we’ll be asking the hundreds of people who have joined the co-operative to nominate projects or activities the money could be spent on. When that’s done, we’ll organise a vote for where the money will go.”

However, the closure of the survey doesn’t mean the end for the Community Data Co-op in Burnley. A number of organisations in Burnley have expressed an interest in using its services, and anyone else interested can get in touch via the Burnley Community Data Co-op website.


What happens next?

A full analysis of all the survey replies will be done when the survey closes, but some early evaluation has been completed on the first 750 replies.

Cheryl says: “Doing something with the information we gather is the really important part of this. We want to prove we’re not just information gathering. For me, success looks like people getting involved and having a say on their community and the places where they live – and their voices being heard.”

So far, the TaAF team and an expansive network of stakeholders and volunteers have identified five themes of activity to focus on developing:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Water-based activities
  • Community gardening and farming
  • Play streets and safer routes to school

Workshop findings on the available opportunities within each activity type – and how to communicate them to the public – are being fed into the influential, 100-strong Active Burnley Forum, a huge networking group made up of representatives from public, private and voluntary sectors with a vested interest in health and activity.

Beat the Street is back, sowing the seeds of success!

Beat the Street will be back next spring, this time with a focus on the environment.

The borough’s appetite for the great outdoors was whetted during the pandemic when the fun, free, interactive Beat the Street was launched to encourage locals to see how far they could walk, cycle or roll around their neighbourhoods.

Cheryl explains: “This time we’ll be asking teams of work colleagues, school pupils and their teachers, and residents’ groups to form, so they can walk so many miles and collect points by scanning the Beat the Street boxes on their route. The points will equate to trees to be planted at their workplaces, schools or in their green spaces, and we’ll then get them involved in the planting.

“In addition to that, we’re looking at a partnership with Burnley Borough Council to employ a community gardener, who could support the tree planting, but also tour the borough to share his or her skills and experience to help communities cultivate and maintain their local green spaces and create pride in the place they live.”

Another idea being framed is a year-long activity calendar, listing a range of opportunities to be active outdoors throughout the year, including regular weekly activities and one-off events, keeping residents up to date with what’s on and where each day of the week.

And workshops are underway on the potential to create play streets, when a road, or roads, in a neighbourhood will be temporarily closed to host play activities.

Look out for more details on both ideas soon.

Cheryl and the TaAF team are also exploring forest school opportunities with schools throughout the borough.

Forest schools are a specialised approach to outdoor learning that aims to develop children’s confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning outdoors.


The bigger picture

TaAF is a £10m initiative, with the funding coming from Sport England. TaAf covers all of Pennine Lancashire, and similar schemes to ours, but with their own themes, are being run by partners in neighbouring boroughs including the Ribble Valley, Rossendale, Pendle, Hyndburn, and Blackburn with Darwen.

The Burnley initiative will run until at least 2025. For more details, please contact: Paul Foster – Together an Active Future’s Locality Lead in Burnley; pfoster@blcgroup.co.uk

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