Vital Signs

What is Vital Signs?

Understanding needs and issues in a community are the first step to being able to solve them. This is what the Vital Signs programme does. It measures the social temperature of different cities and communities across the UK to uncover the areas that need most help.

Community Foundations that run this programme then guide the generosity of local philanthropists towards the areas that need it the most.  

The measures are based around nine social themes, ranging from housing and homelessness to education and learning. Vital Signs identifies how well the region is performing in relation the rest of the UK, assessing local perceptions of the key issues in the issues which matter most to them.

Vital Signs are not just based on government statistics – it also looks at the needs and attitudes of local communities. Beyond numbers and statistics, Vital Signs can also help us understand what the implications of the findings are.

How are we using Vital Signs?

To start conversations.

By measuring the vitality of our communities in key areas we hope the critical information provided will help us to:

  • Better inform our donors about issues and opportunities in the community
  • Assist us in making connections between individuals and groups to address those issues
  • Set priorities and identify opportunities

We look forward to having a conversation with you.

Vital Signs 2021

We are delighted to share our new Vital Signs 2021 report. A crucial part of CCF’s approach is to understand the challenges and opportunities that exist within communities across Cambridgeshire. This is the purpose of Vital Signs, whose goal is to “take the pulse” of our community, highlighting challenges, priorities, and opportunities for action. We welcome feedback on the report. Ultimately, the value of Vital Signs is to inform our funding strategy, to inspire new philanthropists and to build conversations with people who are passionate about making a difference most effectively.

Vital Signs 2017

Our Vital Signs 2016 research indicated that Cambridgeshire, a county associated with the highest of academic standards, actually falls below the national average on many markers of education. Following on from that, we decided to focus our 2017 Vital Signs report on education, particularly early years’ education and developmen

Vital Signs 2016

Our 2016 report looks at nine themes:

  • Fairness
  • Education
  • Health
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Crime and Safety
  • Local Economy and Employment
  • Arts, culture and heritage
  • Strong communities
  • Environment

The report highlights a number of areas where Cambridgeshire does not perform as well as you may expect. CCF plans to use this information to guide our grantmaking and future research. Download the report to read key statistics and comments from community consultation respondents.

Vital Signs 2015

Our 2015 Vital Signs mini report looks at crime and community safety in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and includes local and national statistics alongside the results of community consultation.

We will be using the results of the community consultation survey and other data we have gathered to inform our donors and other stakeholders about needs in the County and to guide future grant making strategy.

Vital Signs 2014

Our 2014 Vital Signs mini report looks at health and well being. We have selected some statistics, published by Public Health England in their annual Health Profiles, to highlight areas where Cambridgeshire performs above, and below, the national average.

In addition, in September 2014 we contacted 100 local people from the many charities and voluntary groups we support. We asked them about the contribution they felt the voluntary sector makes tackling some local health issues, and how CCF should target our grant making.

Based on the survey results and other data we have gathered, we are now set to work with our donors to target £50,000 of funding over the next 12 months towards projects in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough working to improve mental health.  This represents nearly a four fold increase in the funding we have given to such projects since April 13.

The process begins on 7 October when we will share our Vital Signs report with our donors and contacts and highlight our plans to them.  We are also inviting applications from local projects who are seeking grant funding to enable them to continue or develop the work they are doing to improve the mental health of local people.

Vital Signs 2013

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation launched its first Vital Signs Report in 2013.

Vital Signs is a program initiated by the Community Foundations of Canada and now produced annually by 20+ Community Foundations across Canada. In 2013, more than 22 Canadian community foundations are producing a Vital Sign report and, for the first time, some community foundations in the UK are taking part.

The goal of Vital Signs is to “take the pulse” of our community; to provide a sense of where we’re at… and where we might be going.

As a Community Foundation, it is essential that if we are going to have a lasting impact today and into the future, we must dig deep to uncover the state of life in our community. We believe Vital Signs has helped us do this by providing us with an in-depth look at statistics and facts gathered from national and local sources.

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Cambridgeshire Community Foundation
Hangar One, The Airport
Newmarket Road
Cambridge CB5 8TG

Registered Charity 1103314