We engaged the community informally through a door to door small survey of 40 households in the vicinity of Crossroads about what should be our shared objectives. This showed quite clearly that local people were willing to support the project both by supplying produce and by using the facility.
In Spring 2012 we applied to the Big Lottery Awards for All fund to engage consultants to help with more in depth and objective visioning and to allow us to set up a website as a means of communicating and sharing information as the project developed.
The consultants undertook detailed research and supplied us with a full feasibility study with findings, recommendations and a preferred business model. Research included public meetings, local/regional statistics, a policy and strategy analysis, a community survey, stakeholder interviews and market research.
In the local and user survey, when asked what needed to be improved about the community the largest issues were lack of jobs (70.8%), healthy eating places (51.8%) but opportunities to socialise and things for young people and older people to do also scored highly.
– Public meetings showed clear support for the idea. Two open meetings were held, one with potential suppliers (who were local people too) and one for interested members of the local community.
– A high majority (77%) of respondents to the survey would be interested in attending adult education classes in a multi-use community space with the top three areas of interest being food and cooking, gardening and growing, and fitness and well-being.
– The customer survey shows that 63% of people would buy produce from a farm shop. The items most in demand were fruit and veg, meat and eggs.
– 94% of survey respondents expressed a strong interest in using the cafe
These snippets are taken from the Summary of the Feasibility Study of 2012 available at Link to PDF.