Demand Review

Prepared by: Hilary O'Sullivan Wood From The Trees Ltd

Executive summary

About the research

The potential need/opportunity to create a dedicated youth facility in Billingshurst (called the Billingshurst EYE) has been identified. It is envisaged that this would provide informal dedicated meeting/social space for young people (aged 12-25), plus a range of supporting sport, recreational, leisure, educational, lifestyle and health services. This report reviews evidence of demand for the EYE and its services. As well as national and local statistical sources, it draws on a survey of 692 Weald School Pupils (in the target age group); a small survey amongst Weald parents; and interviews with professional working with young people in the area

Population demand

The need for such a facility has been flagged in a number of research based strategic documents including the Billingshurst Community-Led Plans, and the Horsham Sustainable Community Strategy.
The potential catchment of centre users is significant:

  • The proposed EYE site is within walking distance of an estimated 850 young residents (aged 12-25).
  • Some further 600 young people live in The Weald school wider catchment, and tend to look towards Billingshurst for services
  • Billingshurst continues to grow. The district council identifies potential for a further 750 new homes over the coming 10 years, and 1200 beyond.

Although statistics reveal Billingshurst as relatively wealthy overall, there are still a significant number of households who, with low incomes, may struggle to find the time, resources and transport to access youth activities.

  • Cost was cited as a reason for non-attendance at out of school activities by 16% respondents to the Weald Pupil Survey, and accessibility by 23%.
  • By providing an informal, free or low cost space, The EYE has potential to serve those young people who are particularly missing out at present.

Addressing anti-social behaviour and young people’s issues

A lack of places to go and things to do has contributed to anti-social behaviour (ASB) problems in Billingshurst in recent years.

  • There have been some 460 incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Billingshurst, Shipley, Pulborough and Coldwaltham each year for the past three years.
  • ASB tends to be more prevalent in the summer months when young people are out and about later in the evenings and at weekends.
  • The local PCSO feels strongly that an informal and dedicated place for young people to gather would ease such problems, and furthermore would provide a venue and opportunity for engagement in more constructive and community friendly activity.

Discussions with local professionals has identified a need for better localised support for teenagers and young adults around a number of issues, including drugs misuse; sexual health; barriers/access to employment; and debt management. The EYE has scope to meet a number of needs in this respect:

  • A location for information
  • A venue for drop-in sessions with professional advisers and the local police.
  • Confidential support space for teenagers and young people who are homeless/vulnerably housed or alienated from parents.
Previous EYE projects
Previous EYE projects
Previous EYE awards
Previous EYE projects
Local school teenagers
Local school teenagers

How adequate is current youth provision?

Current regular provision of youth targeted services in Billingshurst includes Jubilee Fields Youth Club; Youth Church Groups: Scout, Guide and Explorers groups. These are all well attended and our interviewees indicated that the EYE would complement, rather than compete with this provision.


The health and fitness of young people is a topical issue at present. The village has a good provision of sports space, with Billingshurst Sports Centre, private dance/performing arts classes; Tae Kwon Do, and judo, football and cricket clubs running at the Billingshurst Sports Club; the skate part and astro-turf (basketball). Despite this, respondents to the survey indicated an interest in additional sports related activities at the EYE facility (particularly aerobics/fitness (32%); dance (24%) and martial arts (19%).


Cafe-type facilities are particularly limited in Billingshurst the few traditional tea shops are only open shopping hours. The village is too small to support commercial operations such as Starbucks or Costa, or an internet cafe, which open longer hours and are more attractive to young people. The Snack Wagon, which provides a café style meeting place is popular, but only visits one evening a week.

Would young people visit The EYE?

The Weald pupil survey indicated a very strong level of interest from young people:

  • 75% Billingshurst resident pupils and 65% whole sample of pupils said they “would definitely” or “might” use the facility.
  • 70% identified at least one facility (from a given list) that they would be keen to use; and the majority of these identified several
  • 60% identified at least one (from a given list) of potential activities that they would be keen to attend: and the majority of these identified several
  • When asked about frequency of visiting a centre that provided such activities, only 17% whole sample (12% Billingshurst resident pupils) said they would never visit.
  • Just under half of the whole sample indicated that they would like to visit at least once a week (rising to 52% for Billingshurst resident pupils).
  • About one-quarter indicated they would like to visit at least 2-3 times a week.
  • There was interest in the range of opening times from after school until after 8pm. Some 35% potential users said they would come at the weekend, rising to 43% for the Billingshurst residents.
  • In support of these findings, 98% of the parents responding to their survey said that the proposed facility was a ‘good idea’.


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