A smile or a wave are small but underappreciated gestures – Community Matters

Some months ago, I came across a new initiative called “Give It A Go And Say Hallo” and since then have put this into action whenever I am out and about.

A simple smile and a cheery hello can not only make you feel good, but the recipient is often also left smiling, or wondering who this nutcase thought they were.

I love the short poem about a smile being infectious and when I see someone walking along scowling and lost in their thoughts, I wonder what weight of the world they are carrying on their shoulders and would a smile from a stranger make a difference?

A group that I am involved with recently had a session of Laughter Yoga – no yoga involved, but much laughter and a general feeling of wellbeing I believe. This led me to question when I last laughed…. I mean really uncontrollably belly laughed?

It is lovely to find a community or group where you can be yourself, fit in, and get support if needed. As one of a team of Torbay-wide Community Builders, one of our aims is to help you find your happy place – have a conversation and feel supported or uplifted with others.

The Dementia cafes in Paignton, Goodrington and Barton offer a safe place for both the cared for and carers to let off steam, dancing, singing, and knowing they have support. The specialist groups such as Versus Arthritis, The Stroke Support Group, and Andy’s Mans Club, to name a few, give others the chance to get support whilst feeling supported.

My colleague Jess has a six-week programme called ‘Live Longer Better’ which encourages participants to consider how to age well, and going forward, how to maximise opportunities for all areas of their lives.

The Amblers walking group has expanded their activities, and the group now get together for meals out, bowling, dancing, and Skittles (coming soon) – new members are always welcome.

So if you are sitting at home wondering when you last shared some good company and had a proper laugh, perhaps you can start with a simple smile, say hello and pick up the phone to your local Community Builder who will do their best to help you find your laughter and help keep you smiling – call 01803 446022 to get connected.

Gill can be contacted 07884 887063 or email [email protected].


  • Gill Knight

    Community Builder for Paignton South (Goodrington, Roselands, Hookhills, Galmpton, Broadsands, Whiterock and Churston)

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