What is the future of the HIVE?

Wednesday 15th March 2017

We've received a healthy number of responses regarding the consultation themes which we hope might shape the future of the HIVE. This has been extremely useful in identifying areas where we may focus future development, read on for more of our key findings...

Consultation so far...

To date Lancashire Wildlife Trust have received 156 responses from local people regarding the four different consultation themes (see below) which we hope might shape the future of the HIVE:

  • Health and wellbeing activities
  • Animal assisted ecotherapy
  • Food growing
  • Active events and volunteering

Responses from the public so far have been extremely useful in identifying areas where we may focus future development. Read on to find out more of our key findings to date...

Visitor experience and why people visit 

Of those respondents who had visited Moss Bank Park, 63% rated their experience as good. No one rated their experience as poor. The overwhelming reason for visiting the park was to visit the children’s play area (67% of respondents) highlighting that families (parents and or grandparents) are a key visitor audience.

Other key reasons to visit the park included the cafe (50%), engaging with nature (42%), a session at the HIVE (38%) and meeting with friends (38%).

The most popular activity that respondents would be interested in attending was family workshops (69%) which reinforce previous answers that Moss Bank Park / HIVE are used by families.

Other key activities which individuals were interested in attending included walks (50%), craft workshops (50%), volunteer sessions (34%) and gardening workshops (34%).

The role of the HIVE to improve health and wellbeing

100% of respondents think that the HIVE and Moss Bank Park should play a role in helping to prevent and or alleviate issues with poor health. Specific comments by respondents included:

  • “Could ease pressure on the NHS - prevention is better than cure”
  • “The well-being agenda - 5 ways to wellbeing - is resulting in increasing awareness of the value of outdoor activity to physical and mental well-being by clinical commissioners, politicians and the wider community so to not engage with this would be missing a trick.”
  • “It could become a centre of excellence for community health and cohesion.”

90% of people thought establishing an independent counselling service at the HIVE would be beneficial for Bolton residents with some respondents stating:

  • “The park is a more relaxed and inviting space than, for example, a health centre. Also, I personally find that being outdoors reduces my anxiety levels” and “I'm not actually sure, but I feel it would be a worth while project to try and get feedback. People certainly seem to feel it is easier to be honest and open when outdoors.”

Training and workshops

82% of people wanted to gain ideas and skills to allow them to grow at home with 85% of people suggesting that our focus should be on demonstrating how to grow fruit and vegetables which are easy to grow.

There was strong support for the establishment of an apprenticeship / placement scheme at the HIVE (94%) amongst people.

81% of people felt that LWT needed to develop incentives to encourage more people to volunteer at the site; training (80%) was the key incentive people felt was needed.

In regards workshops to help address poor health, although 87% of respondents stated that they felt cooking taster sessions with fresh produce was needed in Bolton, only 59% of respondents would be interested in attending such sessions. This may reflect that some survey respondents are confident of cooking with fresh produce and so courses would not be relevant but it may also reflect the reality of busy lifestyles.

Paying for sessions

Although 100% of people felt that there would be interest in family food growing workshops, 34% of people stated that they did not think people would (or could) pay for such sessions. Meeting the obvious need for advice and training around food growing for family audiences will need to be considered further as paid sessions would clearly not reach all audiences. 

Hen and bee keeping at the HIVE

There was unanimous support for the establishment of hen and bee keeping at the HIVE (100%), with extremely strong support for using such a project as a mechanism to engage older isolated individuals in Bolton (97%) as well as families (97%).

Almost all individuals felt that chickens and or bees would be a long-term attraction for families to visit the HIVE (97%) with just over 90% also expressing interest in purchasing eggs/honey. There were a significant number of supportive comments regarding the establishment of hen and bee keeping at the HIVE including:

  • “The butterfly gardens were always popular, with bees and chickens their are more opportunities for involvement and more rewards other than eggs and honey- new skills, volunteer opportunity and responsibilities, community cohesion, reduction in isolation, confidence boost”
  • “Something a bit different. Bee's especially are very topical.”
  • “It could be the equivalent of the Age uk project 'men in sheds' project. I think it's not just for those who are isolated but those who could be at risk of becoming isolated.”
  • “Great idea, local initiatives, education about bees and their importance can only be beneficial to all society. Adopt a chicken is a fab idea.”

The consultation is still open so if you have not had your say on what the future of the HIVE should be then please get involved by clicking on the link here. We aim to cease the consultation phase at the end of April 2017.

If you are a member of an organisation that is working to improve health and wellbeing, family relationships or skills in Bolton and are interested in learning more/getting involved with potential developments at the HIVE please get in touch.

Any queries and comments please call us on 01204 663754 or email bolton@lancswt.org.uk