Longsight Votes on Transport
Embargo 00:01 Tuesday 27th May 2003.
At 6pm on Wednesday 28th May in Longsight Library, Longsight Councillor Ahmed and Barry Johnson of Hamilton Road Residents Association will join Manchester Friends of the Earth to open their exhibition showing the findings of 7 months of research.
Manchester Friends of the Earth  are holding a three-day drop-in interactive exhibition to mark the end of seven months of research  into transport and traffic in Longsight. They are inviting the community to vote on which of the solutions they proposed are most important. The results will form the basis of their report and future campaign work.
This vote will run on the evening of Wednesday 28th May (5 – 7:30), the afternoon of Thursday 29th May (1 – 4:30) and the afternoon of Saturday 31st May (1 – 4:30), taking place each time in Longsight Library. More information is available at www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/longsight.
Between September 2002 and April 2003, a team of researchers talked with Longsight residents all over the area – at bus stops, in shops, mothers and toddlers groups, the library, Asian women’s’ English language lessons, a Pakistani Centre, a Mosque and a church. The research used carried a visual and interactive approach called Participatory Appraisal , rather than boring written questionnaires.
The research so far reveals that residents are unhappy with the quality of the bus services in Longsight, the volume of traffic in the area, and the lack of safety measures in place on the buses and on the streets. In an area where over 50% of residents have neither a car nor a bicycle and are totally reliant on public transport, Manchester Friends of the Earth believes that it is time that the local community has its say.
“We want the council to ask us about how they spend money, rather than deciding for us,” was one response, which is representative of many local people’s views.
The final report will be published by September and be used as a starting point for work with the Longsight community.
Graeme Sherriff, Co-ordinator of Manchester Friends of the Earth says:
“Longsight residents have not been shy in telling us what needs to change – from buses not turning up on time and taxis charging too much, to lack of lighting and safe places to cross the road. We’ve been talking to the policy makers and community leaders and keeping them on board, so residents should see this interactive exhibition as an opportunity not only to find out more about local issues, but to have their say and be listened to.”
Notes for Editors
1. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at www.foe.co.uk).
2. Research into the Longsight community began in September 2002 by Manchester friends of the Earth, FoE UK and the Hamilton Road Area Community Association and a final report on the findings is due to be published in August 2003. Also involved in the study were Reference Groups, who were consulted between the first and second phases, and comprised representatives from Greater Manchester policy teams, Longsight community groups and local councillors. More info at www.manchesterfoe.co.uk/longsight
3. The Participatory Appraisal research technique used in this study was introduced to the UK by the Brighton-based consultancy Development Focus UK. It is widely adopted in developing countries as its accessible and visual methods make it ideal for research in areas of low literacy. Central to the process is that the community are visited on their own turf, not expected to come to bureaucratic public meetings, and that they are involved throughout. Meetings typically involve colourful and creative use of stickers, flip-charts and post-it notes with an emphasis on combining words with pictures.