What we did

The research was done by a working group of 12 young people meeting weekly in Mynydd Llandygai
Youth Club. Our method was based on a 7 step process:

Step 1. Research background information on the forest

We found that the working group had a very good knowledge of the geography of the forest and were regular users of the forest themselves. Through our research we found the Forestry Commission already have a set of clearly defined policy areas for community woodland use. We used these as a framework to begin with. These policy areas are:

  • Access for all
  • Forest Watch
  • Arts projects
  • Forest gatekeepers
  • Sports and recreation
  • Woodlands for learning
  • Training for work
  • Breaking barriers to involvement
  • Woodland planning

We also found that there was little knowledge about the history of the forest, who owns it and its management.

Step 2. Choose our methods of consultation

We researched the possibilities for delivering the consultation, so we could reach the whole community through a variety of means: public meetings, local press, word of mouth. We decided that a bi-lingual questionnaire delivered to all the houses in Mynydd Llandygai would be the best way to meet our aims.

Step 3. Draft our questionnaire and test it

We decided to use coloured paper and a less formal language (and font) for our questionnaire. Ourresearch showed that the people in our test group called the Parc y Bwlch plantation ‘the forestry’. This is the name we decided to use for the forest. We wrote our questionnaire in English and translated it into Welsh (Diolch Brian Davies). We delivered a test questionnaire to young people and adults in the Mynydd Llandygai youth club and to some of adults in the families of the working group. The test showed that we needed to improve the instructions for the questions that asked the user to give a score to different activities, as some users were scoring the activities in reverse order – giving the highest scores to the least popular activities. We made the changes to our final questionnaire.

Step 4. Delivery and collection

We put two Welsh and two English copies in each envelope in the hope that as many members as possible in each household filled it in. The questionnaires were hand-delivered by some of the group, on foot, on bikes, some by car, and a note was enclosed with an explanation and when we’d be picking up the answers. We thought about different ways to get the questionnaire back: By post (enclosed S.A.E.), drop off at the memorial hall or by hand, and decided on the latter. This was not as straightforward as expected and was another good learning experience for us. The delivery zone reached from Ysgol Bodfeurig round to the top half of Ffordd yr Ocar taking in Tan y Bwlch, Llwybr Main, Ffordd Hermon, yr Afon, Gefnan and the top of Bryn Allt Eglwys. We were aware that this was not a comprehensive delivery zone, but because Mynydd Llandygai is next to Sling and Sling joins Tregarth, there was no place where we could clearly draw the edge of Mynydd Lladygai. We were aware that areas we did not deliver to could be included in further phases of the project that could include a user survey in the forest and consultations with the residents of Tregarth, Rhiwlas and other areas close to the forestry.

Step 5. Analysis

We analysed the results of the questionnaires first by inputting the data into an Excel spreadsheet and then by analysing the figures from the spreadsheet in Microsoft Access. This was done with the help of Bianca Ambrose-Oji and Jenny Wong.

Step 6. Presentation and Report

We wrote this report to let people know what we have done and to publicise the results of the consultation. We organised a public presentation of the report in Mynydd Llandygai Youth Club on Feb 2nd 2009.

Step 7. Evaluation

We evaluated the project with Wayne, who wrote an evaluation report, with the working group and the people who filled in the questionnaire through verbal assessment.