United Way of Central Kansas (UWCK) has released the results of the Community Needs Assessment conducted to identify the most pressing needs for residents of Barton & Pawnee Counties. This survey was possible thanks to generous support from The University of Kansas Health System and the Walmart Community Foundation.
Key findings from those who participated in the survey in the basic needs and self-sufficiency areas noted that about 48% reported some need or level or concern in meeting vehicle costs, mortgage, rent, or utilities payments. In addition to that, 46% had some level of need or concern regarding food, clothing, and/or shelter for themselves or family members. For those respondents with a child under the age of 18, 34% indicate some level of need concern in the ability to pay for and access childcare or after school care.
In the community health findings, over 50% of respondents indicate some level of need or concern over: access to fitness venues (57%), health insurance (56%), obesity (53%), physical activity program (53%), and access to healthy food (50%). Respondents in the lowest income categories expressed a high need or concern for health insurance, basic medical care and transportation, healthy food, and counseling/mental health. Health was the highest level of importance to 42% of respondents and the second most important to 40% of respondents.
The education portion of the survey touched on youth education and also adult education. Key findings for youth education indicate about 54% of respondents with children under 18 have some level of need or concern for youth development and character building programs. About 46% indicate some level of need or concern for mentoring programs for youth. Among all respondents, 52% perceive at least some concern or need for preparing young people for the workforce and almost 40% see a need for opportunities to gain knowledge/skills with the aid of tuition reimbursement, conferences, and/or skills training classes.
The data from this survey is helping to inform the Barton County Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan which is being developed with the Barton County Health Department, Aetna, The University of Kansas School of Medicine and The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus, with support from the Kansas Center for Rural Health.
Additional steps are being taken following this survey to further dive into the issues facing our community. Focus groups and town halls are scheduled for the community to provide input. The public is invited to a town hall on November 28, 2022, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Kansas Room (north entrance) at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, 2920 10th Street, Great Bend, Kansas. Light refreshments and appetizers will be served.
“We hope that the data garnered from this assessment will point us and our non-profit partners on a path to help more, do more, and find solutions to the problems that our communities are facing.
By partnering with additional key stakeholders and other non-profits we can set a course for real change.” Charell Owings, UWCK Executive Director.
United Way of Central Kansas does work in the fields of Health, Education, & Financial Stability-three core building blocks for a successful community. That is done through the funding of 22 Community Partners and numerous Impact Program which includes Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Box of Love and Reality U.
The full report can be found here.