Don’t forget your circumstances or your community on 4th July

The battle for the top – the seat of Government continues apace.

Would-be MPs of all colours are out campaigning and are joined by party workers on the streets and the doorstep, trying to convince us that they are the person for us…

But for the rest of us, daily life continues unabated.

Everything remains the same. If you were struggling a few weeks ago before Thursday, July 4th was etched indelibly into the calendar, then nothing will have changed and charities and voluntary organisations across the Bay continue to deal with the same issues as they were then.

Our Community Builders are out and about dealing with some of the most vulnerable in society and preventing people from succumbing to loneliness and isolation.

They continue to connect people, helping them forge new friendships and rekindling old interests, hobbies, or activities ranging from coffee mornings to craft workshops, dancing, and exercise.

The Torbay Community Helpline (on 01803 446022) is still dealing with a daily barrage of calls from people who need help of all kinds, whether that is from the foodbank, our team of befrienders, our mental health triage service or debt counselling referrals.

We recently launched a Home from Hospital Discharge scheme to get people back where they most want to be – the comfort of their own familiar surroundings, and demand for the service is rising as quickly as we can roll it out.

For far too long, people who spend more time than they need to in hospital have been derided as bed blockers, but nothing could be further from the truth; the fact is they cannot go home without the support of relatives, neighbours, friends or failing that the unfailing efforts of volunteers.

Can you volunteer to spend a few ad-hoc hours preparing for someone’s homecoming by getting food in the cupboard and milk in the fridge and perhaps rearranging the furniture a little to help them move around more easily?

Or perhaps you can be the person who picks them up from the hospital and delivers them home in your car? You will never understand the gratitude that will be met with. Not until you do it and are on the receiving end.

As always, we are looking for volunteers across our projects, and you can find the volunteering opportunity that suits you by calling the Helpline (again, 01803 446022) and one of our friendly call handlers (some of whom are also volunteers will talk you through them.

The Imagine This team continues to work with young people to deliver on five major initiatives they chose to provide safer streets, greater access for all, more spaces to hang out, a reduction of stress and anxiety and protection of the environment.

Some of them are first-time voters and those subjects are at the forefront of their minds when deciding which candidate they will be putting their crosses next to in a little over a week’s time.

Our colleagues at the YMCA South Devon have even organised a hustings event this evening aimed at young people to help them make their minds up. It starts at 6.30pm at the YMCA in Goodrington.

Elsewhere, our participation officer Jess Slade continues to deliver health lifestyle tips through the Live Longer Better project (the clue is in the name) and is about to launch a summer of events, classes and talks. For more details or to join, drop her an email at [email protected]

The Torbay Assembly continues to advocate for Torbay residents, regardless of age, to discuss what’s important to them and share those views with peers from around the Bay.

Their next open meeting is at People’s Parkfield in Paignton on Friday (28th), which will focus on public transport, highways, parking and road maintenance, featuring talks about Parkfield House and a Tai Chi taster session. Call Jess on 07772 023170 for more details.

So, election or not, life goes on across the Bay, and much of it is supported by the voluntary, charity, and social enterprise sectors. How you vote on July 4th is down to you, and your circumstances will influence that; it is not just a vote for your country but also potentially one for your community.