By Matt Saunders, Marketing & Communications Assistant


Figuring out what on Earth you want to do with your time, or what you can do with your time, can be the bane of many people’s existence. Something which, ironically can take up too much time as well, trying to make a decision – especially if you’re not sure where to begin.

One thing many find meaning from is giving their time to help others, with a plethora of opportunities out there. But how do you begin to get involved? What suits you? And so on…

And the same with social opportunities and events (as someone who’s not exactly the biggest socialite, I’ll try and keep this brief…) trying to find a match for your interests, your requirements, your needs can begin to look too confusing to begin navigating.

We here at Torbay Community Development Trust agree that trying to find out just what’s going on out there can be confusing, and so a few years back, we established a website called Torbay Together, THE sharing website for Torbay. The aim of the website is simple – it’s somewhere people living or working in Torbay can look up what’s happening locally in terms of events, social groups, services, and volunteering opportunities. Not only that, but the key element is that anyone can join the website to share opportunities as well.

To get started, you can go to www.devonconnect.org/torbay, and sign up from the “register” button in the top right. From there, you can explore the website, and use the listings (with various categories, filters by interest/location within Torbay, etc.) to find what you’re looking for, and get engaged. It could be anything from joining Maria’s Bridge Group or Dylan’s Hiking Club, to volunteering to deliver leaflets for a local charity or help out at a local festival. Likewise, if these are the kind of opportunities you want to share with the good people of the bay, you can sign up to share your own opportunities, or as a representative of a group/organisation, to get the word out.

But we are more than aware that as soon as we mention having to use the internet, this will immediately dissuade some, as many in Torbay are still uncomfortable using the world wide web or technology in general. Luckily, we have our Timebank Coordinator Ruth, who regularly hosts meet-ups in Paignton to help people get started (for more details on these meet-ups, contact Ruth Tshoukas by phoning 07703 715 236 or emailing [email protected]) or get in touch with Paul, our Information Officer, who can guide you through and troubleshoot on starting your Torbay Together journey (phone Paul on 07971 951429 or email [email protected])

A crucial element of the Torbay Together website (which pre-existed the website itself) is the Torbay Timebank, which following on from my introduction on “what can I do with my time?” takes this in a quite literal direction. Timebanking is a means of “trading” time – offer say an hour of your time helping someone, in exchange for an hour owed of help from anyone on the timebank, all via the time credit system (1 hour = 1 credit) meaning no other payment is necessary for services!

Recently, this has included our Big Exchange events, which follow the philosophy of “We have what we need if we share what we have” by welcoming the people of Torbay to come along, donate unwanted, preloved, or unused items and perhaps find something they were (or perhaps weren’t) looking for to take home for free.

To find out more about timebanking, you can contact your local Community Builder – find their contact details on the Torbay Together website’s homepage under the Community Builders tab or call us on 01803 212638/email [email protected].

Torbay Together is now part of Devon Connect – a platform run by Made Open, who aim to connect communities throughout Devon, with locals being able to find out what events or volunteering opportunities are on in their neighbourhoods with ease. So, watch this space, as Torbay Together and Devon Connect continue to expand and improve…

Man with clock photo courtesy of Freepik.com