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Wokingham named as best place for families – OneFamily’s annual Family Hotspots Report reveals

Posted in: Research

The historic market town of Wokingham has been named the best place in England and Wales for families to live, according to the Family Hotspots Report by modern mutual and specialist in family finances, OneFamily.

Out today, the annual report, which is now in its fifth year, helps families by revealing the best places to live in England and Wales by analysing everything from education, safety and childcare costs to local amenities, affordable property and green spaces.

With the latest technology and postcode data that uses over 70 different sets of criteria, OneFamily, which was named the best Junior ISA provider last week, has also created the Family Hotspots calculator, which families can now use to find the best places in England and Wales to live by visiting www.onefamily.com/hotspots/check-your-postcode.

Situated close to Reading and just 33 miles from London, it is the second time the small town of Wokingham has secured the winning spot in the annual Family Hotspots Report after taking the coveted first place in 2012. As the birthplace of celebrity singer Will Young and home to Olympic rowing champion Anna Watkins, Wokingham is no stranger to fame and has also featured in a number of film and TV productions including, Primeval, Superman and The Vicar of Dibley.

Once best known for its Bell Foundry, today the town owes its success to very low crime rates, excellent Key Stage 2 results and higher salaries, which average at £27,362 versus the average of £21,982 in England and Wales. It also boasts above average performing primary and secondary schools, several churches, an art gallery and regular trains to London, making it a haven for commuter families.

Philip Mirfin, Town Mayor, Wokingham Town Council, said:

“I am truly delighted that once again Wokingham has been named as the best place for families to live in the UK. We are very fortunate to enjoy excellent schools at every Key Stage, together with some beautiful open spaces and a safe town that has a genuine community spirit.

“We pride ourselves in the arts and culture we offer and this ranges from our May Cultural month through to family fun days, theatre in the park and large scale annual events such as the Food Festival, May Fayre and Winter Carnival.”

In second place in the Family Hotspots Report is the tiny village of Winscombe in Somerset. Set on the edge of the Mendip hills and close to the famous Cheddar Gorge, the village has enviable Early Years Childcare, with nearly 40% rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, low crime rates and above average salaries. The village is also known for its Michaelmas fair, held every September, which offers locals a chance to showcase their handicraft and produce.

The Oxfordshire market town of Faringdon scooped third place thanks to its excellent provision of pre and preparatory schools with above average Key Stage 2 results. In 2004 the town won the accolade of being the first Fairtrade Town in the South East of England and also hosts an annual arts festival every summer.

Karl Elliott, spokesperson at OneFamily, said:

“Life’s milestone moments are often exciting but they can also be stressful, and moving house is right up there with the most difficult.

“That’s why as one of the largest mutual insurers in the UK, which has been helping families for over 40 years, we have created an easy way to help them find the best place to live. This includes our report and the Family Hotspots calculator. Anyone visiting the Hotspots page on our website can simply enter a postcode and see how different areas fare.

“It helps answer the key questions when you’re trying to find the right home, including, are we near the right school for our children? Is it safe? Do we have everything we want nearby?”

It’s the first time Devon has appeared in the top 20 Family Hostpots Report with four of the county’s towns making the list, namely Shebbear, Cullompton, Crediton and Colyton. The small village of Shebbear boasts the highest percentage of Early Years Care that’s ranked as ‘outstanding’, and secured seventh place overall.

Devon also has relatively good access to a number of large towns including Plymouth and Taunton, making it ideal for those needing to commute. Lower than average house prices and crime rates also ensure that the county remains an attractive location for families.

Since the launch of the Family Hotspots Report in 2010, a year-on-year trend has emerged of the same towns appearing in the top 20. This year was the first time that there has been a marked change in the rankings with only seven towns retaining their top 20 status.

These included Wokingham, Faringdon and Lower Earley tucked in between the M4/M40 corridors, Clitheroe and Longridge in Lancashire, Cheadle in Staffordshire and last year’s winner, St Bees in Cumbria, which this year slipped to eighth position.

Unlike previous years, in the 2015 Family Hotspots Report the top 20 places are evenly distributed right across the UK. Last year the North of England dominated the leader board, however this year the South West, which didn’t appear at all in 2014, has crept back into the top 20 with areas in Somerset and Devon scoring highly.

In addition to the Top 20 Family Hotspots, OneFamily has also created a top 10 cities table, ranked the best locations in Greater London, and listed the best places for commuters in the Family Hotspots Report.

To find out more about OneFamily, and to get a copy of the report or use the Family Hotspot calculator, visit www.onefamily.com/hotspots.

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The table linked to below shows the top 20 ranked Hotpots throughout England and Wales. The scores each location achieved for seven key criteria are summarised below in comparison to the national average. In total, 71 different sets of official data were analysed for each location including Ofsted findings, government crime rates and Land Registry data. The overall scores (out of a maximum of 30) represent each postcode’s overall aggregated score across every criteria. To read more about how the data and research was compiled, please see the full report for more information.

References and Acknowledgements
All education data was supplied by Ofsted: 

Childcare affordability data taken from Family and Childcare Trust 2011 and weighted according to regional inflation.: 

Population data provided by the Office of National Statistics: 

Crime data was obtained from the local crime and policing information service for England and Wales: 

Property price data and average salary data was provided by Land Registry analysts Calnea Analytics. Local property information is available from their consumer website: 

About OneFamily
OneFamily combines nearly 40 years’ experience of being the trusted provider of financial solutions for families and currently has more than £6bn of assets under management and was formed by the merger of Family Investments and Engage Mutual. In September 2015, OneFamily was named Best Junior ISA provider at the Investment Life and Pensions Moneyfacts Awards, an award that Family Investments has won twice previously – in 2012 and 2014 – and been highly commended for in 2013.

History of both organisations:

Family Investments was a leading provider of children’s savings plans and has won numerous industry awards for its Child Trust Fund and Junior ISA products.  Engage Mutual offered protection, savings and investment products and has been recognised via a number of awards for its customer engagement and has a Defaqto 5 Star Rating for its over 50s life insurance product.

Together, as OneFamily, they count one in 12 UK families as customers.