A vital community is one where everyone has the opportunity to feel they belong. The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta believes that a strong sense of belonging is achieved when every community member is supported and has opportunities to thrive and grow. To further explore this idea, Sense of Belonging was chosen as the theme for the 2016 Vital Signs Report, released Oct. 4.
Vital Signs is a snapshot of southwestern Alberta’s vitality and well-being; the report brings together local data and knowledge on a wide range of topics within six key areas: Community Connections, Environment, Lifelong Learning, Living Standards, Healthy Communities, and Cultural Life.
Participation in Vital Signs allows the Community Foundation to present information on important topics in southwestern Alberta and to direct its support to the charities working in those areas.
“The Community Foundation already supports important work throughout our region, however, from the knowledge we gain through Vital Signs, we are able to make a greater impact,” says Charleen Davidson, Community Foundation Executive Director. “By identifying important issues and trends we can better inform our donors about the needs of our community, spark conversation, and focus our granting programs so that we’re strategic with the funds entrusted to us.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2016 VITAL SIGNS REPORT
- Women’s Emergency Shelters
Many factors contribute to the high need for shelter space in Alberta in 2015/16.
- Alberta has the highest rates of interpersonal violence of any province in Canada. In the last five years, nearly 75,000 Albertans have reported violence by a spouse or partner.
- Did You Know? Lack of shelter space is a serious issue. On one day last year, 234 Canadian women’ shelter had to turn away 305 women and children, nearly three-quarters of those seeking shelter that day.
Local Contact: Amy Hall, Executive Director of Safe Haven Women’s Shelter, 403-223-0483
- Inclusive Communities
There is always much work being done to promote and encourage inclusive communities within our region – even if we are not aware of it.
- Often people with disabilities are less connected through naturally formed relationships than they are with people who are paid to be in their life, such as staff and support agencies.
- A focus for many organizations working in this area is something called natural supports. These are the support and assistance that naturally flows from relationships developed in ordinary environments, such as family, school, work, and community.
- The Southern Alberta Individualized Planning Association (SAIPA) serves over 1,300 individuals annually through training, education, workshops, and advocacy work.
Local Contact: Sharon Rempel, Executive Director of SAIPA, 403-320-1515
The Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta 2016 Vital Signs report is available at www.cflsa.ca, or by calling 403-328-5297. The publication is used year-round by the Community Foundation to build local knowledge, set strategic priorities, inform granting, and engage in community leadership activities.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
It’s right there in our name. Community. For the past 50 years, building stronger and more vibrant southwestern Alberta communities has been the motivation behind our work. Every year we award over $700,000 in grants to qualified groups throughout our region. We do this by connecting donors with causes that are close to their hearts. Learn more about us at www.cflsa.ca.
Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta’s 2016 Vital Signs is the fourth publication of its kind by the Community Foundation. The report received financial sponsorship from ATB Financial and McKillop Insurance & Registry Services Inc.
The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta is one of 32 community foundations across Canada participating in this year’s Vital Signs program. More than 85 communities across Canada and around the world use Vital Signs to mobilize the power of community knowledge for greater local impact. For more information about Vital Signs or to access local reports, visit www.vitalsignscanada.ca.