In May we asked people from People’s Meeples and Gamers@Hart to fill our a survey to help us know what kind of gaming and events we should be running when the social distancing measures, due to the pandemic, subside. As Gamers@Hart doesn’t have a building at the moment, we’re currently in the process of applying for funding to hire a venue to be able to run regular games nights.

So what do we know about our respondents? The majority were in the 22-39 age bracket (although, under 21s had less access to the survey because it was predominantly distributed via Facebook). 62% or respondents were male, 29% female, 1% non-binary, and 7% preferred not to say. Most people were also from Hartlepool (63%), with 15% from county Durham and 13% from elsewhere in Teesside (3% from somewhere else).

Although there was a pretty large gender split, there is a smaller gap in people looking for a place to play board games than other areas.

We also asked people to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10, where 10 was something they strongly agreed with or identified with. On average, people rated the ability for gaming to reduce isolation very highly. We also found that people were broadly positive about attending a games night and people had felt relatively isolated over the last 12 months. What is perhaps most important is that the average score for people feeling anxious about socialising after the pandemic – if ‘1’ is have no anxiety at all, people are reporting some levels of anxiousness about meeting in summer.

Finally, we found that 47% of respondents reported some form of mental health issue(s).

What does this mean?

We’re going to focus on producing funding bids for the three areas with the most interest: space for board games, RPGs, and MTG. As nearly half the people are looking for new people to play with, and there are people with differing levels of social anxiety interested, we will include funding for training volunteers (of which around 30 people were interested in helping) in how to ensure we provide a safe, welcoming, inclusive atmosphere for people who may be anxious.