Big Conversation Panel Survey TWO

Closed 28 Feb 2021

Opened 1 Feb 2021

Feedback expected 14 May 2021

Results updated 24 Jun 2021

The Big Conversation Panel helps Council, along with other public bodies, gather information that can be used to develop new actions and test ideas. Survey ONE of the Big Conversation Panel focused on gathering information about the impacts of Covid-19. Survey TWO focused on the Covid-19 recovery priorities that were identified in survey ONE and also asked addition questions about other important issues such as obesity, sustainable tourism and the environment. The complete summary report for survey TWO can be accessed by clicking HERE or via the link at the bottom of the page. 

 Priority Interventions

During 2020, lots of organisations across Ards and North Down worked together to provide support to people who could potentially be considered vulnerable. A Community Recovery Steering Group (CRSG) was formed and anecdotal evidence was shared among group members about the potential implications the pandemic had on individuals and communities. Survey ONE was used to help gather additional evidence to assess whether the assumed priorities of the CRSG match the priorities of Panel Members. Lots of Panel Members highlighted mental health, social isolation and loneliness as problems. The negative financial implications of the pandemic were also mentioned. 


The chart (left) shows that pre-Covid (data collected during survey ONE, October 2020) 60% of Panel Members said they were hardly ever/never lonely. This dropped to 41%  during the first lockdown and 42% during survey TWO (February 2021).

The combined figure for Panel Members who reported that they are lonely ‘some of the time’ or ‘often’ during lockdown 1 (October 2020) and February 2021 are 58% and 59% respectively.

This information potentially suggests that levels of loneliness as a consequence of the pandemic have remained steady and things have neither improved nor deteriorated between both surveys.


Emotional Wellbeing (Mental Health)

A temperature scale of 1-10 was used to measure the emotional wellbeing of Panel Members over time. The chart (right) shows information on emotional wellbeing gathered in survey ONE and TWO. The figures below the chart relate to the % of Panel Members.

It is reassuring that more people err towards the positive side of the temperature scale.  However, the difference pre-Covid, during lockdown one, October 2020 (survey ONE) and February 2021 ( survey TWO) are notable. If we consider anything seven or above as being positive and anything below this as a potential issue , the figures recorded are concerning.

 Pre-Covid, 20% of panel members indicated lower levels of emotional wellbeing. During the first lockdown this increased to 56%, by survey ONE it had dropped to 44% but survey TWO, which took place during a further lock down it had increased to 50%.

While care must be taken not to make statistically ambiguous statements about what the data collected shows, it does indicate that emotional wellbeing is currently lower than pre-Covid. While we had hoped that a year after the initial lockdown (April 2020) things would improve and people’s mood and anxiety would start to show signs of improvement , the trend data collected does not support this. Survey THREE in June 2021 will include the same question

How will information provided during survey TWO be used?

Take 5 Ways to Wellbeing

Information collected will be fed into a South Eastern Regional group to consider how Take 5 can be better promoted to show people what they can do to take care of their own wellbeing. Within the Ards and North Down area we will consider how we promote groups and activities that people can use to take the 5 steps. We will work with partners to identify opportunities for health professionals to refer patients, with low mood and anxiety issues, to  Take 5 activities rather than prescribing medication.

Whole-system approach to Obesity

We will work in partnership with the South Eastern Trust and the Public Health Agency to co-ordinate nutrition and physical exercise programmes. We will link other priority issues such as sustainable food, poverty and the outdoor environment to obesity interventions and agree actions. We will encourage partners (including Council departments) to consider health implications across all policy and capital projects.

Sustainable Tourism

We will work with tourism operators and develop experiences that help promote the quality and variety of local attractions. We will link our local sustainable tourism programme to a regional regenerative programme being led by Tourism NI. We will work with local communities through initiatives like Live Here Love Here and In Bloom programmes to make our towns, villages and rural areas welcoming. We will assess the impact of new initiatives on local communities and improve how residents can advise us of issues.

Protection of the Environment

We will continue to monitor litter and dog fouling and use a combination of education, infrastructure (bins) and enforcement (fines) to focus resources in identified hotspots. We will work in partnership to consider how we can improve habitats and using a nature recovery approach consider how biodiversity and green corridors can be integrated with other initiatives such as greenways and walking trails.

Creating a Better Place

Infrastructure projects take a long time from conception to implementation. To the public it often feels like nothing is happening. It is anticipated that over the next few years many of these projects will finally be started and regeneration of key public spaces will start.




The Big Conversation Panel is a platform for Ards and North Down residents to give their views on a range of issues and public services. The Big Conversation is managed by Ards and North Down Borough Council on behalf of Ards and North Down's Strategic Community Planning Partnership. 

The Big Conversation Panel - Survey ONE ran from 14 September - 31 October 2020. Survey TWO opened on 1 February 2021 and will close on 28 February. Survey THREE will open from 1 June 2021.

Our questions are designed around two main themes

  1. Assessing the wellbeing of our residents
  2. Prioritising our activities for the best delivery of services

Some of the questions we ask you will be the same across all three Big Conversation Panel surveys. This is to help us understand how people's feelings and experiences change over the 12 months of the Big Conversation Panel.

Why your views matter

The Big Conversation Panel will help Community Planning Partners make better decisions based on the information you tell us. It will help Partners understand the issues that affect you and your family and put in place programmes to help.

What happens next

A summary resport will be competed following each survey. This will be published on the Council's website and e-mailed to all members of the Big Conversation Panel. 





  • Residents


  • Community Consultation