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Vital Signs

Learn about the issues North East England faces and how philanthropy can help.

Vital Signs

Vital Signs ‘takes the pulse’ of our region. It identifies issues we face, and how philanthropy can invest in good people, great organisations and special places to make North East England a great place to live.


Vital Signs draws on reports, statistics, local expertise and the knowledge gathered our funding across the region. We see the reports as the start of a conversation, and would love to hear your views about the ambitions of local communities, their needs and what more we could do to meet them. We also want to hear if you think we have missed an issue that is important or have made a factual error. Just call or contact Mark using the form below.


Vital Signs is based on work developed by The Toronto Foundation in 2001 and now involving community foundations across the world. You can find out more about the international Vital Signs movement here.

Vital Signs 2024 Reports

Vital Signs is made up from the following Vital Issues reports. These are being updated between February and July 2024.

The reports are the start of the conversation so please share your thoughts on the issues by filling in our survey here

An archive of all previous Vital Signs reports can be found here.


How can philanthropy help build a strong regional economy where everyone benefits from increased prosperity?

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What opportunities can charitable funding create for people to learn, develop skills and achieve their potential?

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How can charitable funding improve the overall health of our region, and reduce differences in health outcomes between richer and poorer people?

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Can philanthropists help ensure that there are decent, secure homes for everyone who needs them?

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What support can philanthropy provide to help communities look after the environment and ensure the region rises to the challenge of climate change?

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How can philanthropists help people overcome the barriers they face in getting access to opportunities and services?

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What can charitable giving do to ensure our communities are strong, welcoming and able to cope with the challenges of uncertain times?

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How can philanthropy help foster the North East’s culture, from theatres, museums and concert halls to community arts, heritage and sports groups?

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How can charitable funding support work to protect people from crime, prevent discrimination and give opportunities for offender rehabilitation?

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Living standards

How should philanthropic funds support those faced with a decline in living standards due to economic pressures and rising costs?

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Our latest reports

Here are the most recent Vital Signs reports. As new reports are released they will be added here.