What does ‘wellbeing’ mean to you and your community?
According to Wellbeing Waterloo Region (WWR) “wellbeing means being safe, healthy, and feeling connected to the people and places around you. It’s about the quality of our neighbourhoods, parks, and the natural environment. It means being able to express ourselves fully and participate in the activities that we love.”
But do residents of Waterloo Region feel safe and welcome in their communities? Is there anything stopping them from participating in activities and events?
These questions have been at the heart of WWR’s work since it began in June 2016. With seed funding from The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation (The KWCF), United Way Waterloo Region Communities, and the Local Health Integration Network, WWR set out to engage with the community, learn about the barriers affecting people’s sense of wellbeing, and figure out how to foster positive change in the future.
“Since our inception we have engaged over 100 local organizations and groups, and received over 3,000 thoughtful pieces of input from community stakeholders,” explained WWR.
The KWCF co-hosted four local Community Conversations—in Cambridge, Breslau, Wilmot and Waterloo—events with WWR, United Way Waterloo Region Communities, and the Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation.
During the events, participants were asked to share how they can personally help make a positive impact on the sense of wellbeing in their communities. Some answers were:
“Encourage my children to be active volunteers and engage with members of all generations.”
“Reach out to newcomers in the region and engage in conversations to make them feel welcome.”
“Focus on the important issues to better use my resources and maximize my impact (and be less busy!).”
Over the summer months, WWR will be collecting and analyzing all of the data from these events, as well as other focus groups and conversations that were held.
“Our challenge will be to identify which priorities to collectively focus on first,” they said.
An official report, including findings and next steps, will be released in the Fall. This information will help organizations and individuals identify barriers impacting wellbeing, and how to successfully foster positive change.
More information and future updates can be found online at www.wellbeingwr.ca.