By Joanna Reynolds, Community Builder for Paignton Town Centre & Clifton with Maidenway


Hello! My name is Joanna Reynolds (commonly known as Jo, but I’m happy with either) and I am fortunate enough to be the new part-time Community Builder for Paignton Town Centre, Clifton with Maidenway. You may have seen me out in the area as I walk a lot with my dog, Tegen, a Cornish name meaning ‘pretty little thing’ (or so google tells me), which is pronounced with soft e’s like Megan.

I grew up in Bristol, but headed west as soon as I left school, and have lived in Paignton most of my adult life, with short spells in North Devon, and more recently Brixham. In fact, I only moved back to Paignton a week before I started this job, which seemed perfectly reasonable until reality hit, and my life has been a whirlwind ever since!

Through the years, with several house moves, I have lived off the top of Colley End Road, down on the level near the town, at Broadsands and at Preston, so I am quite familiar with the area, but now I am digging deeper into the community and getting to know more of the lovely people therein.

I have met some of those lovely people at Paignton library café on Monday mornings where there is a drop-in session between 10.30 and 12.30 for folk to chat and get to know one another over a cuppa. Several people go regularly and have become real friends, but they are always very welcoming to newcomers. There is no agenda and no set times, so I would highly recommend it.

I have also joined in with Gill Knight’s Walking Group on a Friday morning when my hours have permitted. Another great way to make friends in a relaxed way with no pressure, meeting for a gentle walk somewhere different each week and finishing with the all-important cuppa.

Talking about a cuppa, do you know about the Memory Cafes? There is one in St George’s church hall, Goodrington, on a Monday 2-4pm, and one in Christchurch hall on Thursdays 2-4pm. I have been privileged to visit both and witness the amazingly warm and inclusive atmosphere where it is impossible to tell who has memory issues and who does not. For those who might be looking after somebody with dementia or related difficulties I would highly recommend these groups where you will make friends, relax, and forget your problems for a couple of hours.

Sometimes it can be easy to think there is nothing on in Paignton, but I have only begun to scratch the surface with the groups mentioned above. I do believe there is something for everybody, and if there is something missing perhaps we can do something about that – together.

Do feel free to email me on [email protected] – but please remember I work part-time and am still learning. I look forward to meeting you soon.