Wokingham comes out as indifferent in ‘happy’ test
September 13, 2008
A new survey has revealed the happiest and most miserable people in the UK, based on stress, self-confidence, concentration and general satisfaction.
Wokingham finished 117th happiest of the 282 towns polled by students at the universities in Manchester and Sheffield.
Reporter Hugh Fort spoke to people around the town to see what they think of the survey.
The people of Wokingham are neither jumping for joy nor carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, according to a new survey on happiness.
The survey, conducted by a team of students from the universities in Sheffield and Manchester, places the town as the 117th happiest place of the 282 towns polled, despite being named the number one place to live by Halifax last year because of its affluence, health and good schools.
The students asked people in the towns to answer 12 questions on subjects such as stress, concentration, self-confidence and general satisfaction with their lives.
Participants could then choose one of four answers to the questions: Better than usual, same as usual, less than usual and much less than usual.
Top of the survey was Powys in Wales, which came in ahead of Manchester in second place.
Despite the city being one of Europe’s top cultural attractions, people in Edinburgh don’t seem to appreciate it, as it finished bottom of the pile.
Wokingham finished above Bracknell Forest, which was 190th, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, which was 192nd, and Reading, which was 256th.
Councillor David Lee, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said: “These surveys are interesting, one minute we are the best place to live in the galaxy and next we’re not very happy.
“I think people have a weight of things on their mind, for example the recession and house prices.
“I’ve always thought people should try to avoid working so hard they can’t spend time with their family, that would help people I think.”
Jenny Gilbert, from Finchampstead Road, has lived in Wokingham for 41 years and is a member of Wokingham Horticultural Society and the local NSPCC.
She said: “I’m always happy and I think most of the people I know are as well.
“We are not happy with the lack of action on the town centre, but generally speaking I think everyone is content.”
Cllr Bob Wyatt is a long-standing councillor, who works closely with the elderly people in the borough.
He said: “The elderly people of Wokingham are generally peaceful and content, but there is an underlying worry of what will happen if the price of energy continues to rise with the winter coming.
“They are not openly worried, but I get the impression they may get more and more concerned if the prices do go up.”
Cllr Brian Willis, mayor of Wokingham town, said: “Generally, the majority of people I speak to are happy people.
“They are not always that happy with what is happening in the town, they tell me there aren’t enough shops.
“I think people are pretty happy living here – we don’t tend to suffer from officious council rules.
“The waste collection is weekly, which people like.
“It’s just the shops people get annoyed about.”
Wokingham Youth MP Adam Connell said: “In general I would say most young people I have met through my work as youth MP seem to be happy.
“A recent school survey conducted by the council showed that 93 per cent of young people think Wokingham Borough is a good place to live.
“Most feel safe and healthy.”
Paul Woodford, landlord at The Three Frogs in London Road, said most of his punters came in with a smile on their face.
He said: “I think everyone I meet is quite happy.
“It could be just that they have seen me, but everyone seems satisfied.
“The British are not outgoing people, though, are they? They are quite reserved.”
- What do you think of the survey? Click on the link below to have your say.