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Vital Signs

Vital Signs 'takes the pulse' of our region. It identifies issues we face, and how philanthropy invests in good people, great organisations and special places to improve our communities.

Vital Signs

Vital Signs draws on statistics, local expertise and the knowledge gathered through community foundation funding across the region.

We see it 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 hope that you will consider becoming one of the exceptional people that are changing the world on their doorstep by giving to local charities.

Vital Signs North East 2024

For 2024 there are 10 Vital Signs themes and we’d love to hear your thoughts on those that interest you. They are:

  • Economy – How can we build a strong regional economy that enables everyone to benefit from increased prosperity?
  • Education – What opportunities can we create for people to learn, develop skills and achieve their potential?
  • Health  – How do we improve the overall health of our region, and reduce differences in health outcomes between richer and poorer people?
  • Homes – What can be done to ensure that there are decent, secure homes for everyone who needs them?
  • Environment – How can we look after the environment and ensure the region rises to the challenge of climate change?
  • Community – What can we do to ensure our communities are strong, welcoming and able to cope with the challenges of uncertain times?
  • Culture – How can we foster the North East’s unique culture, from iconic theatres, museums and concert halls to diverse community arts, heritage and sports groups?
  • Justice – What can we do to protect people from crime, prevent discrimination and give opportunities for offender rehabilitation?
  • Living standards – How should we support those faced with a decline in living standards due to economic pressures and rising costs?
  • Access – How can we help people overcome the barriers they face in getting access to opportunities and services? 

Please fill in our online survey here or use the QR code opposite. If you want to speak further contact Mark.

Background to Vital Signs

Vital Signs is backed by UK Community Foundations and based on work developed by The Toronto Foundation in 2001 and now involving community foundations across Canada and beyond. We are grateful to Community Foundations of Canada for the support they have provided to Vital Signs in the UK. You can find out more about the international Vital Signs movement here.


We would like to thank all those who gave generously of their knowledge and experience to enable the publication of our Vital Signs report. Vital Signs is carefully researched, but we realise that we may have missed an issue that is important, or have made a factual error. If you would like to let us know your views, we will always respond and if appropriate reflect any new evidence.


Total amount awarded by the Community Foundation since being established


Total amount of grants awarded in 2022/23


Number of grants awarded in 2022/23


Number or organisations receiving grants in 2022/23

Our latest reports

Our latest Vital Signs Reports focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. They examine the experience of five groups whose contribution to the vibrancy of our region is often inhibited by deep-seated inequalities: women; people with learning disabilities; Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.


To dig deeper into the vital issues in your community you can read our in-depth reports here.