Dozens of volunteers celebrated, with many more deserving recognition in Torbay


Last week, I was lucky enough to be in a room full of volunteers – what’s not to love about that?

Every conversation I had was with someone who has given something back to their community, and their contributions were as varied as you would expect.

All they really had in common was the fact that someone, somewhere had appreciated their efforts enough to nominate them to receive a cream tea laid on by the Redcliffe Hotel in Paignton.

Even though there were more than 120 people in that room, I am very aware that it did not even represent the tip of the iceberg, which is a shame because every volunteer deserves a cream tea every now and again.

In fact, it wasn’t just a cream tea (cream first, before you ask); they were also presented with an enamelled Torbay Volunteering badge and a certificate of appreciation and thanks.

If only we could do more, it is one of those insurmountable conundrums because if funds were limitless, we would not always need volunteers. Having said that, people would still get involved unpaid because they care.

Each week, I host a three-hour radio show on Riviera 107.9FM (between 10am and 1pm on Tuesdays) when I have the chance to chat to volunteers and the organisations that are fortunate enough to have them.

Just hours before joining the cream tea, I was enjoying a chat with Ian Cawley from Babbacombe Bay Bloomers, who, along with a team of volunteers, keep their patch looking clean, tidy and colourful all the year round.

Residents of Babbacombe and St Marychurch probably don’t often stop to think about it, but they live in some of the prettiest areas of the Bay because of the efforts of dozens of volunteers.

Yesterday, I was joined in the studio by Torbay Stroke Survivors Group representatives, a local community of stroke survivors, carers, and supporters who meet regularly to offer friendship and share experiences and knowledge.

Next week, it is the turn of Paddy from the community garden at Cricketfields, yet another group of gardener volunteers providing something that is appreciated by their community. The opportunities in volunteering really are endless.

It is no wonder I have a long waiting list of groups wanting to come onto the show to celebrate the work of volunteers. I only wish I had more time.

Then again, there will never be enough hours to cover them all.

This weekend, pirates from all over the world descend on Brixham for an annual celebration funded, organised and delivered by a dedicated band of volunteers. Their efforts will provide days of enjoyment for young and old alike and numerous business opportunities early in the tourist season.

Torbay Council has just put out a press release from organisers of the English Riviera Airshow, who are looking for enthusiastic volunteers and supporters to join the crew and help make this year’s event a huge success.

The two-day flying spectacular returns to the English Riviera on Saturday June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd . This year’s event is being delivered in a new way, which means support from community members, organisations and businesses is vital.

Volunteers are crucial to the smooth running of the event. They help with everything from selling programmes, collecting donations, and helping the ground crew to offering information to the public. Members of Torbay Sea Cadets and 200 (Torquay) Squadron Air Training Corps have already pledged their support and will be volunteering at the event, but organisers are looking for more people to join them.

You can sign up to volunteer on your own, with a friend, relative, or perhaps your local community group. And you can choose how long you want to volunteer for, whether it’s just a half day or the whole weekend – it’s completely up to you.

For organisations and charities, with enough collectors, organisers are offering a fundraising share so you can also raise money for your own local community projects.  For more information, visit or email the Volunteer Co-ordinator [email protected]

So there you go; no matter how big or small your organisation or your event, we all need volunteers. To explore a world of volunteering opportunities, visit or call the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022.