United Way Social Research and Planning Council bridges information gap

The director of the United Way Perth Huron Social Research and Planning Council recently told Huron County Council that the services they provide can be difficult for rural communities to access.

“So we’re an independent project that gets funding from the United Way through applications for grants, etc., but also through municipal partners doing local research and then doing social planning within our community,” explained Kristen Crane road.

Crane points out that this is often information that is readily available in big cities because the government collects it for them. But rural communities are harder to find, she said.

“When you’re in a rural area like Perth or Huron, it’s not as simple to access the data. When you’re in a major urban centre, it’s easy to collect that information. The government will do it for you, but the more you’re in the The more rural you are, the harder it is to find that information,” Klein said.

Crane was surprised by the number of community organizations able to use the information they provided. An example, she said, might be a local doctor’s office, “where they’re doing a needs assessment of the population they serve, so they want to create programs that reflect that population.”

“So they’ll come to us and say can you give us some information on who makes up our population and how they’ve changed. We want to reflect that through our programming,” Crane explained.

Crane said they also heard from a number of community groups that are looking at post-COVID strategic planning who are looking for help with prioritization or community organizations that are applying for grants and need data to support their grant applications.

The Social Research and Planning Council has become the go-to source of information for rural communities that have no access to that information anywhere else.

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