The Acorn Foundation is delighted to publish the results to its first ever Vital Signs™ research project, Fitting the Pieces Together, which was undertaken in the Western Bay of Plenty region. The Tindall Foundation team think it is a very helpful and interesting read and encourage people to take a look.

The online survey was conducted in November and December last year. The Acorn Foundation wanted to ask locals about their quality of life and what was important to them. The survey was open to all residents of the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region aged over 17 years old with total of 1,546 people completing the survey.

Acorn commissioned the survey because the Foundation wanted to look how they could use their funds to help improve areas important to the community. The survey results will help Acorn ensure that it continues to address local needs and issues and identify new opportunities to help develop the region.

Vital Signs® is a tool developed by Community Foundations in Canada to identify issues in the community. The research measured the vitality of the region; identified trends, strengths, and areas for improvement. Residents chose grades for 12 key areas (some of which included arts and culture, belonging and engagement, economy and environment). Statistics on elements of those 12 areas were brought together to build a picture of life in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region.

Respondents were asked to name what they love most about living in the Western Bay of Plenty or Tauranga city. The top three answers were the climate, natural environment and friends and family/whanau. They were also asked to identify the main issues the local community faces.  The two things most commonly named issues were, affordable housing/housing availability, and the economy not providing enough employment opportunities.

The Acorn Foundation (established in 2003) is a Community Foundation encouraging people to leave a gift in their will or during their lifetime to benefit the Western Bay of Plenty region forever.  People leave money to the Acorn Foundation and the investment income is used to make distributions to local charities and community groups, every year – forever.  People can specify a particular charity that they want their annual distributions to go to, or they can leave it to the Trustees to decide where their money is best needed.