An in depth report looking at key areas of need in Waterloo Region was released Tuesday by the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation and the Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation.

The Waterloo Region Vital Signs Priority Report is an annual checkup measuring the vitality of the Region and identify significant trends in 11 key areas. The community foundations work with a number of different community groups, and is able to gather an extensive view into local issues.

Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation CEO Rosemary Smith tells 570 News from these 11 areas – Arts & Culture, Getting Around, Learning, Belonging & Leadership, Getting Started, Safety, Environment, Health & Wellness, Work, The Gap Between the Rich & Poor, Housing – key stakeholders identified a top 4, which is the focus of the local Vital Signs report, Belonging & Leadership, Arts & Culture, Getting Started, Health & Wellness.

In the Belonging and Leadership category, it reveals that Waterloo Region residents reports a declining sense of community and while we are more charitable than national average, we are less giving with our time.

In the Arts & Culture sector, the region has a lower employment than both the provincial and  national averages. Performances and shows were also attended by smaller profile of people.
 
Getting Started in Waterloo Region is especially difficult. New immigrants and young people/families are underemployed, while youth unemployment is double the general rate.

From Health & Wellness, it found while obesity rates are climbing nationally, the rate are even higher in this region. Stress and mental health levels were also trending higher.

Unsurprisingly, Smith hopes the data inspires action.

Community awareness is a big key and Smith says Vital Signs provides important data that can identify significant trends and make an impact on individuals and groups in need.

By keeping the focus on the top 4 issues, Smith says, eventually it will lead to more opportunities to improve the quality of life here.

The local report is also included in the annual Canadian Vital Signs Report which looks at the data on a national level.

The full 2012 Waterloo Region Vital Signs Priority Report can be found online at wrvitalsigns.ca

The National Report is at vitalsignscanada.ca