Every penny raised helps Torbay residents in need

The cost-of-living crisis continues to wreak havoc across nearly all sectors of our society, and thousands of people are suffering as a result.

Calls to the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022 continue apace as the crisis creeps insidiously through our communities, taking its cruel toll everywhere.

What started as a perfect storm sending energy and food prices rocketing has become a tsunami engulfing all aspects of life, fuelled by higher interest rates and high inflation.

Eighteen months ago, we saw queues at food banks and our Helpline was deluged by families having to make a choice between putting food on the table and heating their homes.

Whilst the energy crisis has eased, many still find it excruciatingly difficult to pay the electricity and gas bills, even after a relatively mild Winter and a good Summer.

Thousands across the Bay are praying for another mild Winter.

However, fuelled in part by the continuing war in Ukraine, food prices continue to rise, making all but the most basic of provisions unattainable for some residents.

Inflation, running as it is at 7.9%, down a little from the May figure of 8.7% and significantly down from its peak of 11.1% last October, drives the rest adding substantially to everything else.

More recently, interest rates have risen, which is good news for those lucky enough to have savings accounts, but those with mortgages are wondering how they will keep the roof over their heads, in particular those who have been unlucky enough to have the rise coincide with the end of a fixed term contract.

Not surprising then that the calls to our Helpline are dominated by three subjects, food, finance and mental health, the latter being escalated by problems associated with the first two.

Some families face poverty for the first time in their lives and need support they have never before dreamed of seeking. And some of them are desperate and desolate.

If you are one of those families or an individual, you are not alone; we are here to help you. Make a note of this number now – 01803 446022. Someone will be at the end of the phone, ready to help in a caring and non-judgemental way.

No one chooses to put themselves in a position whereby they feel the need to ask for help, but the fact is that help is out there, and it is only one phone call away.

It sounds almost patronising to say that our call handlers, some of them volunteers, have heard it all before, but they probably have, which means they know where to find the best help for your situation, no matter how dire it may feel from your perspective.

Sad to say that the food banks and the baby bank remain busy, and it is safe to say that we expect them to continue to be so for years to come as the fallout from the latest phase of this rolling calamity continues to show itself.

For many years our team at Torbay Communities dealt mainly with an ageing population and were well versed in the needs of that age group whether that be pension poverty, mental health, mobility issues or loneliness and isolation. We used the lessons learned to take a holistic approach to the whole community.

It put us in a strong position when COVID struck back in March 2020, leading to the first lockdown. Back then, we were able to cut through the chaos and seek out the most vulnerable to make sure no one went hungry and no one became isolated, thanks in the main to our experience and the decision to set up what was then called the Torbay Community Coronavirus Helpline.

We have all been through a lot in the last three years and we have developed our offer to meet the changing needs of our communities, standing alongside every step of the way.

We now serve the whole community from the youngest to the oldest and are well-positioned to see the effects of the crisis across the board, regardless of age or social standing.

We are here for you Again, if you need help pick up the phone – One Call That’s All – 01803 446022.

We are not a statutory service, and we are not Torbay Council; we are a charity and rely on donations to continue. If you can contribute, please go to www.torbaycommunities.com/donate/. Every penny raised is spent in the Bay.