Stakeholders attending the launch of the 2024 Vital Signs project last week in Winkler quickly identified two predominant issues in the community, 
Last Thursday's launch by the Winkler Community Foundation brought together the project's lead researcher, Kara Gray along with the majority of their stakeholders, which include civic leaders from Winkler and Stanley, business leaders, and leaders from the non-profits in the community.
Affordable housing was one topic, the other is the crunch that's being felt in the area of healthcare, for both mental and physical healthcare. 
Foundation President Corey Hildebrand says this is the third time Winkler will be having its vital signs checked.

"The first one was our first kick at the can. It was really well done and kind of gave us a baseline benchmark for where we are as a community," said Hildebrand. 

Every subsequent Vital Signs follows along that trajectory a little bit so they can compare and contrast. Hildebrand says the last Vital Signs they did was in 2018 and it identified a variety of gaps in our community. 

"What came out of that was some vital conversations, and we had a number of them, and we began to really identify some of those big needs in our community, like transportation and affordable housing with things that our community is really now trying to address. Unfortunately, COVID shut down some of those initiatives and some of those conversations that we were just beginning to have, So, we're hoping that this report actually will bring together so many of those stakeholders around some of those vital conversations."

Between now and the finished product, which will come in the fall, last week's launch started with stakeholders beginning to look through some of the domains around Wellness. More roundtables will be scheduled based on what came from those roundtables last week.

"And then there will be surveys that are sent out to our entire community and hosted in a whole variety of different ways, all the way from students to seniors, everyone in between. Kara will use that information. She'll also use information from Statistics Canada and the long-form census that came out and put together a whole bunch of data and give it to us at the end." 

Endow Manitoba, a branch of the Winnipeg Foundation was a sponsor for Thursday's launch.
Winkler is one of the only communities in Manitoba doing Vital Signs on a regular basis. Hildebrand says Endow Manitoba is using Winkler as a pilot project. He says Endow Manitoba's hope is that every community foundation in our province will eventually do a Vital Signs, which will offer a true comparison and contrast to work with.