We’re a happy bunch here in Preston . . . or are we?
LIFE IN PRESTON SURVEY DAY 2: How do you think your taxes should be spent?
Two studies this year had polar opposite findings. The first said our city was one of the most miserable places in the UK, with the unwanted tag of suicide capital of Britain.
The other found it was one of the best locations to live and work.
So we set out hoping to settle the argument once and for all.
And on Day Three of our Big City Survey – the most detailed poll the Post has ever carried out into what we all feel about Preston – the results suggest that, generally, we ARE a contented lot.
An overwhelming 83 per cent of respondents said they felt happy at home. Less than six per cent said they didn’t.
We asked you if you were happy either at work or in your studies. The answer was “yes” from almost 48 per cent, while only 10 per cent disagreed. More than half (55.55 per cent) of people who took part in the survey felt financially comfortable, compared to 18.76 per cent who didn’t.
But, in amongst all the positivity, our survey exposed a worrying statistic.
We wanted to know if you often felt lonely. And almost one in five (18.76 per cent) of those who replied said they did.
To assess the general mood in the city the first question we asked everyone was about their local community and whether or not they felt a part of it.
Just over 35 per cent said they felt in touch with what was happening around them, but only 22 per cent said they were actively involved.
While 54.69 per cent admitted they knew their neighbours well, one in four confessed they didn’t. And asked if they felt they had a strong bond with the community in which they lived, more said they didn’t than said they did.
HOW YOU RATE PRESTON FOR LEISURE
Like all cities, Preston has its good points and its bad.
So we wanted to know which bits you rated the best from all the stuff you can do in the city when you are not hard at work or sitting at home glued to the TV.
And the message to come back was generally a positive one, particularly in the great outdoors.
Top of the pops with those surveyed was the open countryside around Preston which four out of five people (81.77 per cent) rated good or very good.
The city’s splendid parks – Avenham, Miller, Moor, Ashton, Haslam and the like – also got a massive thumbs up from locals, with 71 per cent giving them a positive recommendation.
Pubs, bars and restaurants were given a ringing endorsement from more than 50 per cent of those surveyed, with only around 12 per cent rating them as poor or very poor. Museums, galleries and exhibitions were also highly-rated by more than 43 per cent, with cinemas getting a similar score. Worryingly, despite the hard work being put in to attract people to the city centre, shopping in Preston only got a ringing endorsement from 35 per cent - or just over one in three people who live here. Almost a quarter didn’t rate the city’s retail offer, while 40 per cent judged it to be only average. Around 30 per cent said the spectator sport available – presumably Preston North End leading the way - was worthy of a good or very good rating. That said, a bigger percentage (34.01), answered the question as “not applicable.”
The city’s sports and fitness centres got a positive rating, with only six per cent saying the facilities on offer were poor.
Passing judgement is one thing, but actually using the city’s leisure offer is another. So we asked how often you get off your backside and visit the facilities on offer.
And once again the open countryside had the biggest proportion (36%) of people making the effort at least once a week.
Shopping centres, despite the quality issues raised in the previous question, came second with around 32 per cent admitting they couldn’t go seven days without a bit of retail therapy locally.
And 30 per cent of folk said they used one of the city’s parks at least once a week.
The percentage of people admitting to going to a pub , bar or restaurant at least once a week reached 25 per cent - one in four.
A similar number said they visited sports fitness centres.
But, perhaps more significantly, the portion of people interviewed who admitted they never used them was a whopping 40 per cent, closely followed by 39.46 per cent who said they never went to a sport event as a spectator. Theatres, concerts, cinemas, museums and galleries all had around one in four of people who didn’t visit them at all.
DRINK AND DRUGS
At one time Preston had 365 pubs, one for every day of the year. Now there are far fewer, especially outside the immediate city centre.
But with more people choosing to drink cheaply at home, many expect “time” will be called on more bars over the next few years. That said, it hasn’t stopped people enjoying alcohol in large numbers, as our survey showed.
A staggering one in two people confessed to drinking booze at least once a week – 5.3 per cent pf those every day. And around 30 per cent raised a glass several times a week. Significantly only one in 10 said they never touch the stuff.
When it came to recreational/illegal drugs, 93.22 per cent said they never used them, with a further 3.61 per cent answering “not applicable.”
Less than three per cent actually confessed to taking some, with one in just over 100 admitting they indulged either daily or several times a week.
As befits the fitness oasis that Preston folk claim to live in, two thirds of people surveyed said they ate sensibly.
We asked you to tell us how you felt about the statement: I have a healthy diet.
And once again the results came back were quite surprising, with 64.21 per cent saying they either agreed or strongly agreed with it.
If the figures are to be believed, the days of fish and chips or pies could be numbered in Preston.
Only 14 per cent confessed they did not eat healthily, with a further 20 per cent not sure if their food consumption was good or bad.
We all know we should, but when it comes to taking exercise the spirit can often by more willing than the flesh.
We asked you how often you pulled the trainers, football boots, or walking shoes on and went out to work up a sweat.
And, if the results can be believed, Preston could rate as one of the fittest cities in the UK with almost 60 per cent either exercising daily or at least several times a week.
Even taking into account the temptation to regard a walk to the pub as a vigorous workout, the figures are still mightily impressive with something like three out of four people (73.31 per cent) claiming they take some form of physical exercise at least once a week.
But one in 30 surveyed confessed they never do anything to work up a sweat, with a further 9.24 per cent saying they only occasionally did something, but it was less often than once a month.