13 Dec Continuing to build communities
Our team of community builders are working in neighbourhoods across the Bay to help build stronger and more resilient communities – essential in these difficult times.
We have repeatedly proved that communities in Torbay are probably among the most supportive in the country. Whether you live in Brixham, Torquay or Paignton, there is a robust network of people watching out for each other.
Weaving those networks together are our Community Builders who firmly believe that in every area, neighbourhood and street, we have what we need when we share what we have.
Using a method called Asset-Based Community Development (which leads to the acronym ABCD) they seek out strengths in communities and bring people together to make amazing things happen.
They work with individuals and groups in communities to identify the needs of the people who live in it, particularly those that need reconnecting with the people who live there.
Folk of all ages can sometimes need a little help and where better to start than seeking support from the very people that live alongside them. Loneliness, which can often lead to isolation is no respecter of age or status. It can happen to anyone.
We have literally thousands of tales to tell of people who have found happiness or been revitalised with the help of Community Builders who have worked with them and other people in the community to bring them back into the fold and surround them with companionship, which often leads to friendships.
Our Community Builders are experts at encouraging interaction and creating a sense of belonging at a street, neighbourhood or community level through groups and organised activities.
Last year alone we worked with 1,189 isolated people – from a population of just 136,000 – 1,189 people who otherwise might have fallen between the cracks and suffered from all the inherent problems that loneliness and isolation bring.
When running the Ageing Well project, we proved that working with lonely and isolated people aged over 50 had momentous health benefits, significantly reducing visits to the doctor and hospital stays.
It has long been recognised that tackling loneliness and isolation is crucial for mental and emotional wellbeing and in a world that has been buffeted by decades of crises, addressing it in our communities is more important today than it has ever been
Since the Ageing Well project came to an end in 2022 our Community Builders have widened their reach to take in everyone in every part of the Bay, thankfully funded by the foresighted Torbay Council, who recognised the efficacy of the work at every level.
To get an idea of how the work our Community Builders do impacts on people, here are a few quotes from those whose lives have been enhanced as a result. The breadth of those effects might surprise you:
“These meetings have helped me get back in the community again and meeting some lovely people after years of caring for my husband who sadly passed away recently.”
“Marina has opened up our social lives and put us in touch with local people we would never have met. The Shiphay community meetings are what we really need, most of us are on our own and don’t like the loneliness some days could bring.”
“Ceri has offered me her utmost support and trust throughout my coaching practice, which aims to empower people with mental strength and facilitate positive change in life. Her dedication and passion to helping people truly inspired me to pursue my work with a shared purpose. Her professionalism and guidance in business start-up is so insightful and valuable to me. She is wonderful with people and for the people. I personally cannot describe how much gratitude I owe her”
“The work of the TCDT has been crucial in my role as a town centre councillor. The community builders go above and beyond in order to enable communities to come together and promote what is good in the Bay while also providing support for those experiencing difficulties. Thank you to you all. You are a fantastic team.”
“I discovered during COVID just how strong my community is, and I’m very proud to live here. Our Community Builders do exactly what their job title says, and Usha has inspired me to help with Telephone Befriending – my plan is now to develop it nationwide to attack the curse of loneliness.”
Watch out for more on this in the Herald Express in two week’s time.