How COVID-19 impacted Richmond upon Thames

Release Date: 14 September 2020

The results are now in following a resident’s survey looking at the impact of the pandemic on local people.

Richmond Council undertook a survey of residents in late June to understand how communities are feeling about the impact of COVID-19 on their health, finances, on the environment and on the wider community. Over 1,400 residents from across the borough responded and the results were presented to the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee on 10 September.

Questions ranged from the health and wellbeing, to the economic and social impact of COVID-19.

Key findings from the survey, showed that:

  • 16% of respondents had been personally affected by the serious illness or death of a relative or friend linked to COVID-19.
  • 10% had been furloughed from their job
  • 10% reported that someone in their household had lost their job
  • 31% a fair amount or great deal of economic impact.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

"COVID-19 has changed so much about daily life for all of us here in Richmond upon Thames and we were keen to survey residents so that we could understand what their individual experiences have been.

"Some of the things we've been told by residents are very positive, particularly around their appetite to volunteer, help others in the community and to support local businesses on the high street.

"Other responses are quite worrying, particularly with just under a third of those surveyed reporting a fall in household income. Through our recovery work, we will look at how we can get those who have been most affected back on their feet and will offer all the support we can.

When asked about the positive aspects of lockdown, the most common responses were improved air quality (70%), less traffic congestion (67%), and reduced travel (42%).

Over 70% of respondents felt that the Council had kept them well informed about local issues during the pandemic, through the E-newsletter, leaflets and letters, social media and the website.

Moving forward, lockdown has prompted a range of behaviour changes in residents, with 48% of residents reporting starting or increasing the amount they work from home, 42% doing more grocery shopping online, and 50% doing more shopping locally. There were also indications of a rise in active travel, with 50% intending to use their car less, 73% walking more, and 39% cycling more.

The survey also invited respondents to select ways they feel the Council could support them as lockdown eases, with 57% requesting support to make social distancing easier, 52% prioritising pedestrians over traffic, and 41% installing more cycle lanes.

Cllr Roberts, added:

“Over the past few months we have worked really hard to help support residents throughout the pandemic. I am pleased that over 63% of residents believe that we have responded well.

“Whilst COVID-19 has not gone away, it is important that we move forward. We have already responded to the views of residents by implementing a number of physical changes across the borough. We have introduced social distancing measures on many of our highways, we have launched new cycle lanes, launched cycle hangers and we have agreed new school streets. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to continue to walk and cycle.  

“Whilst we are pleased that people have embraced digital technology over the past few months, we need to support our local businesses. So, we have launched a shop local campaign, to encourage people to return to our high streets.

“We have also launched new online resources to help people, as many continue to work from home – including our virtual Community Conversation programme.  

“But we know we need to do more. So, over the weeks and months ahead, we will use these results to help inform our plans, and indeed shape our response should a second wave of coronavirus occurs.”

See the full report.

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Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P361/20

Updated: 30 September 2020