Changes Start with... THE SPARK "at the heart of the alternative west country"

Readers Survey 2009/2010

Thanks to all our readers who took the time to complete the survey.
(all figures rounded to the nearest whole number)


• Spark reader profile.

Male – 19%, Female – 79%


• Age

18-25 – 8%

25-35 – 18%

35-45 – 26%

45-55 – 30%

55-65 – 11%

65 plus – 4%


• Employment status

employed – 48%

not working – 22%

running a business – 6%

self-employed – 17%

studying – 7%


• Do you have children?

no – 58%

yes – 41%


• Have you ever adopted?

Yes - 5%

No – 92%


• Academic Education

(highest level reached)

O-level/GCSE – 32%

A-levels/BTEC – 9%

Degree/Diploma – 37%

Postgrad – 16%


• Income

under £10,000 – 20%

£10-15,000 – 12%

£15-25,000 – 24%

£25-35,000 – 19%

£35-50,000 – 12%

above £50,000 – 9%


• Accommodation

home owner – 60%

tenant – 34%

other - 3%

unspecified – 3%






• Would you consider adoption?

Yes – 31%

No - 44%

Unspecified – 25%


• Continuing Education/ Vocational Training

In the last year

38% attended a regular class

28% attended a weekend workshop

13% attended a residential course

• Physical fitness

70% of Spark readers exercise regularly
According to the biggest survey conducted on exercise, the Active People Survey in 2006, more than half the population of England do no physical activity at all

• Holidays
93% of our readers holiday in UK
80% in Europe
56% elsewhere
Lots of people who read the Spark take more than one holiday a year

• Leisure time
78% list reading as their favourite leisure activity
71% like outdoor activities
67% enjoy spending time with the family
66% enjoy taking part in creative activities
62% of readers like spending time around the home or in the garden
and over a third (38%) enjoy sporting activities

• Entertainment
92% of Spark readers enjoy going out to eat
82% go to the theatre regularly
66% are regular concert goers
More than half regularly read a newspaper

• Health
more than two thirds of our readers exercise regularly
almost half (47%) take regular supplements
57% use complementary therapies

38% of our readers use The Spark to find complementary therapists
nearly a quarter (23%) use us to find teachers
17% use us to to find counsellors

• Personal development
62% of our readers have used counselling and/or talking therapies
more than a quarter (28%) of readers use other forms of therapy

• Spirituality
77% or readers tell us that spirituality is important to them
nearly half (48%) practice meditation, attend prayer groups or go on retreats

• Transport
47% said their own feet were their favourite mode of transport
followed by cars (38%)
bicycles (18%)
train or bus (17%)
62% said they had reduced the amount that they used the car or took flights over the last two years.

• Activism/Volunteering
79% of our readers have volunteered at one time or another
well over half (57%) have been involved in activism

• Issues
The major local issues which concern readers include traffic/transport, the environment, homelessness, animal rights and building on greenbelt land.
Globally, the big issues are climate change, the environment, poverty, human rights and war.

• The Spark readers as ethical consumers
When shopping for groceries 75% of readers are concerned about animal welfare

80% consider organic food

84% consider Fairtrade

85% consider local food

When buying clothes or shoes

biggest concern (44%) is animal welfare

use of organic materials 42%

child labour of concern to a third of readers (33%).

When shopping for household goods

environmental impact is the biggest concern (80%)

followed by natural or organic ingredients (75%)

animal welfare (70%)

• What our readers think about The Spark
62% of people who responded to the survey were regular Spark readers

24% occasional readers

12% new to the magazine


63% of our readers respond to the ads in The Spark - great news for our advertisers.

Finally, we asked our readers if the Spark helped them change their lives. Of those that answered this question, 73% said YES! Here are just a few of their comments:

“It (The Spark) has inspired me to do more”

Diana, Bristol

“It’s switched on, upbeat, green and inspiring”

Mandy, Westbury

“(The Spark is) a fantastic place to find out about alternative events, holistic health
options and spiritual gatherings”

Abi, Bristol

“It’s very informative and well produced”

Graham, Buckfastleigh

“It’s positivity makes me feel good. I wish it was published more times a year!”

Becky, Bristol

“It gives me a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people across the South West”

Louisa, Totnes

“I dislike the staples; because they’re unnecessary and because I use the paper to light my fire with and its a pain removing them!”

Louise, Bristol

“It makes me feel more positive about things when I read it”

Clare, Lichfield

“It’s interesting to read something that’s trying to unite so many alternative interests” Michael, Minchenhampton

“(The Spark) reaffirms what a great place the South West is, and what a good heart the place has”

Sally, Chew Magna

A few words from Spark advertisers:

‘We get five to six times the response from our ad in The Spark than from any other
publication, there is no other place to target our potential customers. Bristol would be a less colourful and positive place without The Spark.’

Phil Haughton, The Better Food Company

‘I get most of my clients from The Spark. It’s my main place to advertise.’

Em Sawday

‘The advert has proved very successful and has been responsible for 89% of all our sales, plus referrals now as a result.’

Rachel Wilson, Love Your Business

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