61% raised concerns about accessibility in the town centre, whilst whilst 57% gave public transport a negative score. Community support and health services and civic participation were also major themes.
The survey was carried out by the Age Friendly Banbury partnership, of which Oxfordshire Community Foundation is a founder member. The survey was shared online and in local libraries, shops and pop-up stalls in the town centre, and 313 people sent responses, the vast majority of which were from the OX16 area (central Banbury), with some from the villages surrounding the town. The majority of the responses (85%) came from the 50+ category.
The responses provide great insight into the things that really matter to older people in Banbury, as well as clear evidence of things what would really help to reduce the isolation so many older residents experience, with 51% admitting to feeling lonely.
The most common responses related to:
- Public transport to rural and farther areas of Banbury
- Location of health services
- Adequacy of the town centre
- Activities to learn new skills, develop new interests, and stay fit and healthy.
Unsurprisingly, the Horton and health services have been repeatedly highlighted as areas of real concern. There was also a real desire for more inclusive connections across the community, enabling people to mix more freely, with less emphasis on income and those on benefits.
OCF’s Chief Executive Jayne Woodley comments: “We know there are still lots more voices to hear, so we intend to continue reaching out and listening to as many of 7,000 older people living in Banbury as possible. Age Friendly Banbury will only succeed if we continue to listen to each other and challenge ourselves to make sure we all do everything we can to change the things that matter.”
The Age Friendly Banbury partnership is now using these survey results, along with discussions at a series of focus groups with older people from different cultural backgrounds, to shape a long-term plan for making Banbury a better place to grow old. The plan will form a key part of a major joint funding bid to The Big Lottery and DCMS, with the possibility of securing £500,000 for Banbury over several years.