Call our community helpline if you need a happier new year

We made it – another festive season over and another year to look forward to.

Hopefully, it was a happy one full of joy and laughter spent with those you love the most, but I am also painfully aware that for many people it was sad, lonely and seemingly interminable.

Many of us stretched the purse strings to ensure we had nothing but the best for a few days at the end of a difficult year. Some might call it overindulgence, but after the last twelve months who can blame anyone just for a short time?

However, some simply dreaded it. The cost of living crisis, which already meant hardship for thousands across the Bay, hit hard across the board, whether that be food or fuel, and some families had to choose between the two this year.

Gifts and extravagances for loved ones were not even on the distant horizon, and simply putting food on the table this Christmas was down to the kindness of others via the foodbanks.

Our call handlers on the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022 are braced for an increase in calls from people desperately worried about their prospects for the New Year.

Thankfully, for all sorts of reasons, Christmas and New Year were slightly better than expected for many families, as unseasonal temperatures did not lead to the predicted terrifyingly high energy bills, which would have left no money in the kitty for the festive season.

Nonetheless, as we enter 2024, we are ready on the Torbay Community Helpline for pleas for help from people who have never had to ask for support before and for most, it will be around food, finance and fuel.

We know to prepare on the Helpline for calls from people who did overstretch, which means that the worst is yet to come when credit card bills drop and the weather gets colder, as it must at some stage this winter.

We can provide help and support for those who need access to the foodbanks or advice on their finances and we promise all will be delivered without judgement and in a friendly understanding way.

We know only too well that the last few years have delivered blow after withering blow to some individuals and families through no fault of their own and realise that given a twist of fate, it could be any one of us in that position.

No matter how bleak the outlook might be, you are never alone and our communities in Torbay are poised to step in to help in whatever way they can with donations of food, toys and the all-important gift of time for those who are also lonely.

There are those who choose to be alone at Christmas, but they are few and far between and there are so many complex reasons why some find themselves in that position when all around them there are people coming together to celebrate.

Bereavement or estrangement can leave people feeling desolate at the best of times, but with a whole new year stretching out in front of you, that can feel beyond daunting.

Again, our friendly team on the Torbay Community Helpline are just a call away and they can help with most things. They can put you in touch with the food banks, or provide access to financial advice. They can also help with loneliness with a telephone befriender or putting you in touch with your local Community Builder.

If everything seems bleak, your mental health has taken a knock and you need further help, then we can triage you into the right service, making sure you get the help that you need.

We can help with most things on the Helpline; if we do not know the answer, we will find it for you. It is not lightly that we make the boast, One Call – That’s All.

And finally, if you are looking for new things to do this year, then we can help with that too. Volunteers are needed in groups, services and organisations across the Bay and not much happens in Torbay without them.

So, if you need help or want to offer help – call 01803 446022. We are here for you.

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