By Anna Smith
The Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta wants to know; what kinds of improvements do you want to see in your community?
On June 21st, over 80 residents of Medicine Hat and the surrounding area came together for CFSEA’s 2022 Vital Conversations event, said Hannah Minor, Program Coordinator with CFSEA.
“There was quite a good range of people. So we felt that we really represented a lot of the viewpoints in the community. And then, based on the information that we gathered from the event, and from the Vital Conversation survey that we have going on, we want to take that to provide insight into issues, opportunities and solutions in the community,” said Minor.
The findings will be rolled into a report back to the community in the coming months, then that will be used to determine the CFSEA’s annual granting priorities, said Minor. They will also share it with community partners and the community as a whole.
The CFSEA has been busy as of late, with their Founder’s Day picnic, alongside the vital event and various rural events, such as the County of Forty Mile’s Rural Fund celebrating their third anniversary earlier in the month.
During conversations, CFSEA focused on their nine pillars, said Minor.
“The topics are going to range from health and wellness, which includes physical and mental health, business, employment and the economy, community connection and belonging. There’s education, safety, arts, culture, and recreation, community engagement, housing, and food security. So we really wanted to make it as comprehensive as we could and really try to cover all of the topics that people feel Medicine Hat are important to them,” said Minor. “There’s a lot to cover, and we talked everywhere, from transportation to affordable housing to rising cost of living, how people feel when they move to the city, the implications of COVID on connection. There were so many so many conversations.”
Just like every year, the 2022 Vital Conversations event was ticketed, however Minor notes that they did offer a discount code for anyone who needed it, to prevent finances being a barrier for anyone who wanted to come. The proceeds went toward the operating costs for the CFSEA, as well as for events like this and putting together the subsequent report.
The vital conversations survey is still open, said Minor, and is likely to remain open until mid-to-late June.
“We have over 400 responses, but we would like even more just to make sure that it is representative of the community,” said Minor. “what we hear is going to be used to determine our granting priorities. And then just it will be shared with the community as a whole and other partners to to really inspire that action for change.”