Let’s Start a Conversation

Posted December 7, 2018 by

Last January the Guelph Community Foundation, with local partners launched a data based report which looks at what Guelph is doing well and what needs to improve. It is called Guelph and Wellington Vital Signs – Taking the Pulse of our Community. 


Here are a few facts which directly impact the work we do at CCSC:

  • One in five residents in Guelph immigrated to Canada
  • Top 5 places of birth for recent immigrants: the Philippines, India, China, Eritrea and Vietnam
  • 3% of the population in Guelph identifies as Indigenous
  • Unemployment is low and median incomes are higher than the Ontario average but still 13% of Guelph children live in poverty
  • From 2011 to 2017, 17% of households faced some level of food insecurity
  • In 2017 a healthy basket of food for a family of four costs 27% more than it did in 2009.
  • In April 2016, 295 Guelph residents were homeless with 70 of these being youth age 16-24. The updated 2017 numbers are higher with 325 identifying themselves as homeless.
  • 10% of Guelph households with core housing issues that are not adequate, suitable or affordable.
  • Guelph is a giving and helpful community with 25% of Guelph tax-filers donating to charity for a total of $35.5 million.

Many of these statistics are not wholly surprising to CCSC who has seen its use of our services explode in the last year at Chalmers West where many newcomers are accessing our food pantry, café and clothing room.   In a year over year comparison from 2016 to 2017 there were 3000 more visits to our West location than the year before. An unprecedented increase! Our downtown location saw a decrease in yearly numbers but was was closed for 16 weeks during our move.  This shift represents the changing demographics of Guelph and the increased food insecurity in our community, in particular in our newcomer population. And we have seen our own cost rising for food as providing healthy food baskets becomes more costly.

So what do the numbers mean for CCSC? For the people we serve? As these are not just statistics but rather human beings among us, many of whom who walk through our doors, sit next to us in the coffee shop or friends and neighbours.   It is our ongoing responsibility to always be responding to our changing environment. CCSC has been growing and changing with it’s move to a permanent location downtown, an expansion of our café and our conversation circle at Chalmers West.

This Vital Signs report pushes our community  “ to ask “what?” “so what?” and “now what?”. How do we position ourselves for the future? How do we ensure everyone in our community has an equal opportunity to be happy, to be healthy and to thrive? Where do we want Guelph and Wellington County to be in five, ten and twenty years?”.

So as we finish up 2018 let’s ensure at CCSC,  we are initiating and leading conversations – what?…….so what? and most importantly …….now what?.

Please join us in this conversation!

If you’d like to know more and dig deeper here are links:

Vital SIgns

Toward Common Ground Data Portal

Heather Allan, Past Chair

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Thank you to our sponsors:

United Way City of Guelph Guelph Community Foundation Donate a Car Guelph United Ministries Flow Office Wisdom United Church of Canada Foundation