By Andrew Wade, Community Builder Lead Coordinator


So, I am just starting my second month as Community Builders Lead Co-ordinator – a role that I share with Amanda Lynn. It is my first job with TCDT, although I have worked in community development for over a decade. I continue to work with YES Brixham, which is a thriving community wellbeing organisation that operates on the same asset-based, glass-half-full principles as the Community Builders.

Now, as we all know, people are struggling with; rising food prices, rent and mortgage increases, utility bills, and general inflation and cost of living problems.

In this environment, it can seem that community building and community development are luxuries and that we should all be concentrating on alleviating the symptoms of the economic crisis, but we see the crisis as an opportunity to make change happen and bring communities together.

The view of the community builders is that the choice between short-term crisis help and building community resilience is not a zero-sum game. The stronger and more connected our communities are, the better they will be equipped to weather the storms of this and future crises.

So, if that all sounds a bit theoretical, and a bit divorced from real life on the streets of Torbay, perhaps a way to think about it is by looking at examples of what this kind of strength-based work involves.

Previous community builder articles in this space have spoken about clubs, groups, projects, and activities, that are community-led and run. When people come together in this way due to a shared interest or passion, there is an improvement in both their physical and mental health. It works for all activities; a group coast walk, coffee cake and a chat, art, craft, cooking, gardening, and especially projects caring for our shared environment.

If you are interested in starting or joining a group and need some advice or help with setting up or promoting, contact your local community builder – you can find who that is on the Torbay Community Development Trust website at (look for us under the “About Us” section)

Of course, our community builders use their connections and local knowledge, where they can, to support the important work of food banks, food clubs, advice and information centres. These services cater for immediate needs and are essential.

In the next two months, I will be out and about with the individual community builders on their ‘patch’ so that I can experience the wonderfully diverse neighbourhoods of Torbay. I look forward to meeting you.

You can get in touch with Andrew by emailing [email protected].