Got time to spare for your community groups and fundraisers?

There is never any shortage of things to do in Torbay, and there are numerous opportunities to volunteer to help organise them.

The Torbay Together platform is the best place to keep abreast of what is happening in your area (just put those words into your search engine and Google will take you there). Not only does it provide a long list of things happening, but it also lets you know about numerous support groups there are out there.

Support group is a wide-ranging term and might not be what you think. On the one hand, there are groups in Torbay for people living with chronic pain, experiencing grief, or who have a loved one with dementia, but there are also dozens of events and gatherings that happen daily in towns, villages and communities across the Bay.

Or maybe you are part of a support or activity group looking for new members or volunteers? It is all at your fingertips on the Torbay Together platform.

In a nutshell, Torbay Together enables individuals and organisations to interact to support the development of a connected community. At its core, it is a searchable database of groups, events, activities, and volunteer opportunities.

It’s free and easy to join, and once you have, you can connect with more than 1,200 other members across the Bay and browse the database to find local activities that match your needs or interests.

If you run a community group or organisation – of any size – you can promote your group or venue, advertise your events or call out volunteers. In addition, your events, listings and calls for volunteers will be shared on the Torbay Together Facebook and Twitter feeds, helping your message reach even more people.

A long list of regularly updated volunteering opportunities is advertised on the platform, allowing you to get involved in a wide range of organisations.

Torbay Together is also where you can join the Timebank, a skills-sharing program where time spent helping others earns you time spent on yourself. The Timebank works very simply. Let’s say you’re a keen gardener: you could lend a hand to someone who has problems looking after their own garden or needs some advice on putting the right plant in the right place. In return, you might get help putting up that shelf you have been needing at home.

You don’t have to be alone and there are lots of other people of all ages just like you who want to share their time doing things for themselves or for others and Torbay Together is what we like to call a gateway to a world of opportunities.

Check it out today and join in the fun by going to: www.devonconnect.org/torbay

One event that is coming up in a couple of weeks is one that I took part in a few years ago and whilst I am unable to take part this year, you might want to because it is for a fabulous cause.

Nightstop is run by YMCA South Devon and has successfully kept dozens of young people safe, preventing them from becoming homeless, and keeping them off the streets and out of shop doorways for the past three and a half years.

It has provided more than 300 safe nights in the homes of volunteer hosts who throw open their doors to provide somewhere warm and safe until other arrangements can be made.

As a result, dozens of young people aged between 16 and 25 years have been helped, most of whom are now in supported living or are in a better position with housing – all thanks to the Nightstop project and its dedicated volunteers.

Coming up on Friday, March 22nd Sleep Easy is not quite as it sounds, in fact, some might say it is the opposite of an easy sleep – a challenge to bed down anywhere other than your usual room with efforts locally being focussed on one night sleeping on the outdoor tennis courts at the YMCA’s Goodrington site.

If you can face a night in the open then you can register via the website at www.ymcasouthdevon.org.uk/sleep-easy.html. or call 01803 551578. Each year, the sleep-out raises thousands of pounds for this sadly much-needed project.

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