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We deal with almost 1000 cases a year assisting communities, groups and individuals in protecting their local spaces and paths in all parts of England and Wales. Can you help us by joining as a member?
‘Keep up the good work!’ is the message from our members’ survey
In September 2021 we conducted our first members’ survey in over 7 years. We received an incredible response; almost 20%of our members completed the anonymous online questionnaire, answering wide-ranging questions about themselves, our organisation, the quality of our work and our website, as well as suggesting areas for future focus.
Reassuringly, all areas of our work are seen as having equal importance – whether it be village greens, common land, open spaces, rights of way or general environmental issues. The majority of respondents joined both to support what we do and seek advice and guidance from our team of experts. Open Space magazine and our website came in for particular praise, with the latter used by over three quarters of respondents since its relaunch in 2019, and internet search polling as the key medium by which new members first hear of us.
Customer satisfaction rates overall are high, with over 90% of respondents stating that membership has given them what they expected, a sentiment echoed in the following selection of comments:
‘OSS has the courage to fight cases and you punch well above your weight. What you manage to achieve with so few resources is astonishing’
‘It can be both depressing and demotivating to learn of certain Court or Government actions concerning access; the OSS is the antidote and keeps the spirits up in dark times’.
‘A strong dynamic organisation that does what it says on the tin. Keep up the good work, a member til I die!’
Members were also asked what more they would like to see the society doing. Common concerns included our need for increased publicity with many members urging us to ‘aspire to a more visible profile in the media’, and suggestions that partnerships with allied access organisations may help increase awareness. There was also a challenge to us to engage with a younger audience, and ‘bring in younger people to keep the enthusiasm going’. Many members also urged us to focus on the climate change agenda with one member warning that we ‘will have to pay increasing attention to the climate crisis and its consequences for the environment or face possible extinction’. We shall be assessing these suggestions, and many other operational issues raised, over the coming weeks and months.
Many thanks to everyone who completed the survey; your input is invaluable in enabling the society to assess the service it provides to protect common land, village greens, open spaces, public rights of way and the public’s right to enjoy them.