Bringing Brixham Together

Much of the work we do here at Torbay Communities takes place, as the name suggests in the heart of our Torbay communities.

Our Community Builders are at the epicentre making sure no one becomes lonely or isolated, regardless of their age. This is no mean feat in an area with more than its fair share of deprivation coupled with an older-than-average population.

The topography of the Bay, which is so attractive to our visitors, can also be a hindrance, if mobility is compromised and some people find themselves virtually marooned at the top of a steep hill, with no bus service to transport them into our towns.

But our Community Builders seek out those people with the help of others in the community and seek to help connect people with like-minded groups or organisations and there are plenty of them out there; sometimes it just takes a little time to find the right one, to make the right match.

Helen Ambler is one of our newer Community Builders who has been working in Brixham for a little over three months, where she has discovered a strong and resilient community that looks out for its own.

That is not to say that some people do not fall through the cracks, and whilst you may not know it, they may be one of your neighbours or someone a little further away who you see in the street, always alone but giving nothing away.

It is difficult to find that we concentrate many of our efforts on relying on what we call community connectors, people who know their communities inside out and know everything that is going on in their area.

Once discovered, we explore their strengths, skills and interests, and plan how they can be shared to help work out how to take positive action on things people would like to change in your area. Our job is to help harness what is already strong in the community and promote it; if it is not already there, help create it.

Lives are transformed and positive changes happen when people of all ages work together. New friendships are formed, activities happen and neighbours help each other with simple tasks on a day-to-day basis, an amazing thing to behold.

The power of personal connection is proven to reduce isolation and transform the quality of life for many people and we encourage individuals to follow their passions or, as is so often the case, reignite the passions of their younger years.

Helen has already recognised that there is so much going on in Brixham that many people do not know about and whilst the Brixham Town Council community newsletter, The Signal is a fantastic source for finding out, sometimes people need a little nudge or support to take the first steps.

There isn’t a day that goes by in the town without some sort of social gathering and the majority are either free or affordable. They cover everything from board games to dances, from coffee mornings to afternoon teas and that is just for starters. For more specialised groups get in touch with Helen who will either find it for you or failing that work with you to create one.

Already Helen has introduced someone to the music sessions at Yes!Brixham and is hoping to find other model railway enthusiasts to join someone with a layout in his garden that he wants others to enjoy.

Among many other success stories, she has also found someone who has been able to drive one woman to Torbay Hospital for her much-needed appointments because she cannot use the buses and taxis is, to her, prohibitively expensive.

More people are coming forward daily with varied needs, but all have one thing in common: they enjoy the company and want to get out more to spend time with others with lots in common.

If you have a good idea that will enhance your local neighbourhood or have some time to give to your community or know anyone needing any help to get out and about and make new friends, then please feel free to call Helen on 07469 660873 or email her: [email protected]

You can also follow Helen on Facebook, where she will keep you updated with everything that is going on: www.facebook.com/HelenAmblerBrixham

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