Initial survey results

Thank you to everybody who responded to the initial survey for the service.

The survey results have been forwarded to Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, South Somerset District Council and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.  

Your feedback will be used as a baseline for our service, so that we can see what areas need to be focussed on.

Introduction

The Somerset Disability Engagement Service was established to provide a route to support and empower those from the disabled community in Somerset to get their voices heard in consultation and engagement activities.

In order to evaluate the success of the project, an initial survey was conducted between 17th December 2020 and 31st January 2021.  This survey will be repeated at the end of each year.

How many people completed the survey?

There were 93 people who completed the survey.  Here are the questions and a brief summary of the responses.

Where in Somerset do you live?

51 people (57.3%) live in the South Somerset area

19 people (21.35%) live in the Taunton and West Somerset area

10 people (11.2%) live in the Mendip area

9 people (10.1%) live in the Sedgemoor area

Which of these best describes you as a person within the disabled community?

The question was designed to understand the types of people that might potentially be engaged in consultations.

46 people (50%) identified as having a mobility impairment.

8 people (8.7%) described themselves as having a sensory impairment.

4 people (4.35%) described themselves as having a learning disability.

3 people (3.2%) described themselves having a mental health diagnosis.

1 person described themself as having autism; however, 2 people commented autism as being one of their disabilities.

17 people (19.7%) identified as being a friend, family or carer.

12 people (13%) commented that they had multiple disabilities.

What are the key issues within your district?

People were invited to choose as many options as they liked from a suggested list.

33 people (36.6%) said access to general services was the key issue in their district.

28 people (30.7%) said accessible transport was a key issue.

28 people (30.7%) said pedestrian access was a key issue.

28 people (30.7%) said support groups and networks was a key issue.

27 people (29.67%) said there was an issue with accessible public facilities.

25 people (27.47%) said there were issues with available information.

25 people (27.47%) said that access into building was an issue.

14 people (15.38%) selected ‘other’; many of which were related to parking in town centres or support for disabled people.

There were 27 comments in relation to this question. The issues raised were parking, attitude towards the disabled community, toileting facilities, access to services, transport, and access to information and support groups.

Are you a member of a disability forum?

67 people (74.4%) said that they do not belong to any forums.

23 people (25.5%) said that they did attend forums.

Do you know who to report accessibility issues to?

70 people (77.7%) said that they did not know who to report accessibility issues to.

20 people (22.2%) said they did know who to report accessibility issues to.

Have you ever used consultations as a way of having your voice heard?

One of the aims of the project is to increase the number of disabled people involved in council consultation.

61 people (66.3%) said that they had not used consultation as a way of having their voices heard

31 people (33.7%) said that they had used consultation in the past.

Have you found previous consultations easy to access?

54 people (60%) said that they had not used a consultation before.

21 people (23.6%) who had used consultations said that they did not find it accessible.

14 people (15.7%) felt the previous consultations were accessible.  

Do you know where to get advice regarding proposed changes?

69 people (75%) said they did not know who to get advice from regarding proposed changes.

23 people (25%) said they did know who to go to to get advice.

Have changes been made due to COVID-19 that have had an impact on your accessibility needs?

49 people (55.7%) said there had been a change to their accessibility needs due to the impact of COVID-19.

39 people (44.3%) said there had been no changes to their accessibility needs due to the impact of COVID-19.

Respondents reported that they felt more isolated because of the closure of support groups.  They also reported that getting out was more difficult due to social distancing, changes to town centres and public transport and facilities.

Are you active on social media, and what platforms are used?

85 people (92.39%) said that they use Facebook.

25 people (27.1%) said that they used Twitter

24 people (26%) are using Instagram

9 people (9.78%) use LinkedIn

9 people (9.78%) use TikTok

7 people (7.6%) use Snapchat

6 people (6%) are not active on social media platforms.

5 people (5%) of respondents chose ‘other’ and listed Reddit, Next door, Discord and Messenger.

Bar chart showing social media platforms used

If you could improve anything in your area, what would you change?

Transport and parking

  • Increase frequency and routes of buses and community transport
  • Have more parking for disabled/Blue Badge holders near shops in town centres
  • Listen to disabled community when making changes

Information

  • Services
  • Support groups, e.g. carers/those with autism
  • Do not assume everyone has access to internet/social media

Facilities

  • Toilets in town centres
  • Changing facilities in town centres

What works well within your area?

Support groups and services

  • Able to Achieve
  • Somerset Supporter
  • Shared Life
  • Saturday Short Break Club at Selworthy
  • Somerset Disabled Cricket Club

Locations

  • Middle Street parking
  • Tesco
  • Lidl
  • Quedam shopping centre
  • Glastonbury Abbey
  • Musgrove Park Hospital.

Services

  • The Cat Bus
  • Wheelchair taxis
  • Shopkeepers welcoming of guide dogs

Mental health

  • Kindness of the community
  • Being able to walk in Vivary Park

Additional comments

27 people provided additional comments.  Many of the issues raised have already been described in the section about improvements, but there were some additional comments.

Problems with shopping were identified, including narrow aisles in shops and flower beds in the town centre.

There was a comment in relation to the survey being a tick box exercise and SDES need to do more to be on local radio and TV and not just rely on Facebook.  An easy read version should be created for those with learning disability.

One respondent said thank you for the survey as it was a way of saying what they thought about services.

There was also a suggestion that the gender identity question could be made instantly better by allowing users to select multiple answers.

There were some general comments about the council not listening to the voice of the disabled community.

Demographics of respondents

Bar chart showing race/ethnicity of respondents
Race/ethnicity of respondents
Bar chart showing sexual orientation of respondents
Sexual orientation of respondents
Bar chart showing gender identity of respondents
Gender identity of respondents
Bar chart showing age of respondents
Age of respondents
Bar chart showing gender identity of respondents
Gender identity of respondents

Conclusion

93 people responded to this survey that was conducted two weeks after the launch of the Somerset Disability Engagement Service.

The results will be repeated in one year to monitor progress of the project and at the end of the two years to evaluate the impact of the project.

The Somerset Disability Engagement Service aims to increase the number of disabled people that are involved in consultations run by the councils and provide a platform where issues that concern them can be reported to the councils.