Our Audience Profile

LogosAs part of 2013’s development-phase works we have been trying to get a grip on who the audiences should be for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme. Here I aim to give you a better understanding of where we are with this.

Understanding our audience

Happy team. 11 peoples. Isolated.

Source: istock

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s definition of an audience is ‘a group of people with identifiable characteristics who may be involved with your heritage now or who could be involved in future’.

Understanding your audience profile is important for any organisation or business, perhaps even more so for time-limited projects such as the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme: getting the right people engaged means that the scheme can deliver more benefits, there where they are needed most.

As such, work on defining our audience has been an essential part of the commissioned Audience & Access Development work and was also a central theme at our September conference. Talking to a wide range of stakeholders has further refined our understanding.

The population in the OWLP area

337-LA-10 - Parish Boundaries

The OWLP area. Map created by Sheils Flynn for OWLP. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013 – not to be reproduced

The resident population within the OWLP area is approximately 33,000; 95% of the population is white British. In addition, the surrounding market towns and cities of Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Chatteris, March, St Ives, Huntingdon and Cambridge have a collective resident population of c237,000.

Who are we targeting?

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme is directed at all people living in, working in and visiting the Ouse Washes LP area and its surrounding communities. Realistically, though, we will have to focus our work – hence:

Our Audience Profile

What has come out of all our research? Well, for one, we have been able to identify eight key audience types:Audience Profile
Most people living in or around the OWLP area belong to at least one of these categories. If you want to know more about each audience type, their specific needs and how the OWLP will target each group, see this document: Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme_Target Audience

Below are a few quotes taken from this document which we have received from people who can either be classed as belonging to or who are referring to each of these audience types, showing the wide range of knowledge, values and engagement within each group, with information about the different issues that people have highlighted.

The quotes and other information collated has provided us with a good range of baseline data against we can measure change over time in people’s perception, knowledge, use of the landscape and heritage participation [On an aside, see also this post about the perception of and values attached to the OWLP landscape].

1. People who are uninspired by the landscape:

“I don’t find it particularly attractive, certainly the lack of trees”

 “It’s flat. It seems to lack interest. There’s not much to do there”

 “You have to discover beauty – it took me a few years to realise it is really pretty”

“I think it’s magical when it floods down the Gault”

Flooding at Sutton Gault

Flooding at Sutton Gault, January 2014. Source: @SuttonIsle

2. Young People & Families:

“The old people will know about it [The Washes] but the incomers and youngsters couldn’t care less, they haven’t been educated about it”

“My children kayak on the Ouse, really enjoyable”

“The birds are lovely to see and my children love spotting the bugs and lizards. It’s great to walk for a few minutes from my house and I’m in the countryside”

Walkers - Anthea Abbott and family - permissions granted

Family enjoying their day out at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. Image by Pete Johnstone, for Cambridgeshire ACRE

3. Incomers & New Communities:

“I don’t think many people know about [the Ouse Washes]. I didn’t know a thing about it until moving here a year ago”

“It [the Ouse Washes area] is a piece of green space in a country which is rapidly growing and developing”

4. Heritage Supporters:

“I love it all. The flatness with the beautiful sky-scapes. The history. The waterways”

“I enjoy finding out about the history of places”

“I come up here [Fen Drayton Lakes] 365 days a year”

Walkers - Ellie and Simon Trigg - permission granted

Enjoying the countryside. Image by Pete Johnstone, for Cambridgeshire ACRE

5. Farmers and landowners:

“On the whole the less visitors the better – less damage to the wildlife”

“[…]The landscape looks very much like private  land used for agricultural or other purposes and so it is not clear where we  can get out of a vehicle or other and roam without fear of being challenged”

River Great Ouse

Cattle along the Ouse, near Denver. Image by Pete Johnstone, for Cambridgeshire ACRE

6. Deprived Communities:

“We could have a nice circular walk that takes you down to the river and this would help relieve the stresses of modern life”

“It is very isolated unless you have a car”

7. Migrant Communities:

“I like the Englishness of the countryside [..]”

“Vermuyden did it [created the Washes] and used French prisoners of war”

8. Visitors:

“Denver Sluice is a lovely place to take visitors as part of a tour of the local area, e.g.,
including Denver Mill, Denver Church and the pub”

“The washes needs to be made much more distinctive so you know when you are in the Ouse Washes […] It should be a local ‘brand’ that all local people are proud of and identify with”

“I think it is unique but it would be far better if people knew about it and opening up would attract more people”

Denver Windmill. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

What do you think about this?

Are we on the right track, or would there still be room for improvement? let us know what you think – Thanks.

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This entry was posted in Communication, Communities, Consultation, OWLP Strategy, Stage 2-Development Phase, Theme 5-Future Heritage and tagged , , by markatousewasheslps. Bookmark the permalink.

About markatousewasheslps

I am currently coordinating a partnership-led bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (for a circa £600K Heritage Grant bid) focusing on strengthening the unique yet vulnerable natural heritage in the Cambridgeshire Fens surrounding the Old west River, the new 'New Life on the Old West' project. Until recently I was the Programme Manager for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme, leading on the 1-year development and 3-year delivery phases of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant-aided Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) scheme (from Dec 2012 until March 2017), on behalf of and in close cooperation with a wide range of local, regional and national partner organisations. The Ouse Washes LP's portfolio of 51 projects have focused on: conservation works to historic and natural environmental assets; improving community participation & engagement with the landscape and its heritage; increasing access and learning opportunities; and providing more opportunities for training in traditional land management skills. The overall aim has been to leave a long-term legacy for this fascinating and unique landscape, in the process creating tangible improvements to social, economic and environmental aspects of this landscape, its heritage and communities.

2 thoughts on “Our Audience Profile

  1. Mark, where do the business owners fit into your plan (e.g . pubs, nature reserves)? Also you have young families but would schools be another audience? Pete

    • Hello Pete. Thanks for the good questions.

      To start with the first of the two groups mentioned, the business owners:
      The OWLP Partnership is keen to target local business owners, most notably those related to the tourism industry (including public houses, accommodation providers, farm shops, canoe and cycle hire places), as well as the nature reserves in the area (the organisations behind the latter are already firmly part of the partnership) – we have even started compiling the relevant contact information, although admittedly more needs doing on this front. Several of the centrally-organised delivery-phase projects will target business owners directly as well, including the ‘Opening up the Ouse Washes to All’ project scheduled for 2014-15; the ‘Festival Fortnight’ events scheduled for July 2015 and 2016; as well as the ‘Ouse Washes Tourism Promotion’ project, scheduled for 2016-17. Some other projects delivered by our partner organisations, such as the ‘Destination Denver’ project, aimed at the tourism promotion of Denver Sluice Complex and environs, also aim to bring local businesses on board.

      This bags the question: why have we not made them into a separate target audience? Well, in a way they can be seen as a sub-category of the ‘Visitors’ as we aim to target mainly visitor-related business, although one could possibly argue for a separate category – something I will certainly keep in mind.

      Schools will definitely be directly targeted; they are, if you like, a sub-group of our ‘Young People and Families’ Audience Type. To quote some bits from our LCAP:
      the Audience & Access Planning work has shown that there is a major gap in knowledge and awareness of the local history and heritage with younger generations (under 40s) compared to the older generations. As such, the OWLP will create strong links with schools and other education providers in the area, to ensure that school-age groups will be targeted […] These audiences will be targeted, for instance through the Community Warden Scheme, the Digging Environment & Ouse Washes Community Archaeology, the Wind, Steam and Diesel for the Ouse Washes, the Manea Community Conservation, the Skating around the Fens and the Ouse Washes Festival Fortnight projects..

      Several of these projects will target schools directly. For instance, through the ‘Wind Steam and Diesel for the Ouse Washes’ project, many schools in the OWLP area will be offered a whole day out to both Ely Museum and Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum, where pupils will be attending workshops, storytelling sessions with actors add with new visual aids developed, to learn about the story of the drainage of the Fens. This will be given to up to 10 groups of 60 pupils each year of the scheme. In addition, teachers will also be offered training about the Ouse Washes and the drainage history. The ‘Skating around the Fens’ project will also see the Fen Skating Association deliver hands-on talks to local schools about the heritage of skating of the area. In Manea, the local primary is fully involved in the ‘Manea Community Conservation Project’, in helping developing the new interpretation panels, indoor-outdoor classroom facilities and the planned pond-dipping area. The Wildlife Friendly Farming in the Fens project will also target schools as part of an ambitious outreach programme to teach local people about the farming in the area and to create stronger links between the farming community and other community groups.

      Several projects, including the Wind, Steam and Diesel for the Ouse Washes, the Tales of Washes, Wildfowl & Water, the Migrant Links, the Manea Community Conservation and the Skating around the Fens projects will also deliver educational resources; these will be targeted towards schools, teachers, as well as children and families in general and will have a use well beyond the time span of the OWLP scheme.

      You raised some good points – there is certainly a need to make sure that there will be close ties with both the local tourism businesses and the schools in the OWLP area, something that also came out of September’s conference (see also the conference report, available for download from our Resources section, https://ousewasheslps.wordpress.com/downloads/
      This will be an ongoing project, much of which hopefully will become more fully established over the next 12 months.
      Thanks again for raising some good questions. Mark

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