Waikato Vital Signs investigates and seeks to improve the social, environmental, cultural and economic wellbeing of our communities by ‘joining the dots’ between statistical information and what matters to local people ‘living on the ground’.
The project is coordinated by Momentum Waikato using the Vital Signs strategy and narrative developed in Canada and deployed by community foundations around the world. First run here in 2016, this second outing in 2020 is also partnering with the Waikato Wellbeing Project, with both projects using the measure of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The resulting Waikato Vital Signs 2020 Report will be used to inform funding decisions by the region’s not-for-profits, charities, government agencies, impact investors, grant-makers and philanthropists.
This is all about making sure the aspirations and concerns you have for your community are factored into the local decisions that resource its social and environmental development.
The mission started with the creation of the Waikato Vital Signs Data Report that collects and collates the region’s latest wellbeing statistics. Prepared by the National Institute for Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) at The University of Waikato, its findings have been published as both a full report and as an easy-to-use district-by-district online data map (see below).
The next step was to have been ten two-hour public engagement workshops across the Waikato, to present the data report to local communities and their support sectors, and gather the insights and wisdom that comes from group brainstorming.
We want to ask local communities what can be done to improve the lives behind the numbers, to amplify their meaning by gathering the stories and viewpoints of real people in real places.
Then the Covid-19 crisis arrived just as those workshops were getting underway, so we have switched to an online survey.
Why press on with this? Because feedback told us that the very issues Waikato Vital Signs seeks to define and address will be ‘front of mind’ for many people during the current challenges. Home affordability, employment security, training, educational pathways, isolation and connectedness for vulnerable communities, and access to information are even more relevant right now.
We’re hoping that being in our bubbles is a particular opportunity, a good moment in time, to reflect on how we can all work together into the future, to realise ‘A Better Waikato for Everyone, Forever’.
It is NOT a box-ticking exercise that will take five minutes, rather it has just a few questions that ask you for in-depth written answers that unpack your insights. So please take your time and tell us what you really want local funders to know.