By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead


All good things must end, or so the saying goes, but it is never easy to wind down a project and say goodbye to all the people involved.

Sadly, it is common in the charitable sector where funding comes and goes and funding moves onto new areas, organisations, and fresh focuses.

After years of hard work, all that we have left is the knowledge that we have made a difference, and people in communities across the Bay have been supported in their lives.

The pot of money that one day can be a lifeline for a deserving cause is also, more often than not, a time-banded results-driven fund with a strict start and end date.

For those involved, it means walking away from years of helping and supporting others, but not until they have ensured their charges have been equipped with ongoing coping strategies to let them down gently.

Rarely does the work cease completely. On the contrary, the seeds that are sown continue to flourish long after they have been planted, and the true value of the work is sometimes not seen until long after the formal part of project has finished.

The Positive People project is another example of a project that has helped hundreds and probably touched thousands of people in Torbay who have struggled in life for whatever reason. It has meant that they have needed help building confidence and skill, giving them new hope for the future.

At the core of the six-year project was the belief that no individual barriers should stand in the way of people achieving what they want and providing the support to overcome them.

With a minimum number of staff, the programme has, through an imaginative range of workshops that have included photography, pebble painting, self-awareness, sand art and computer skills, to name but a few, prepared people to return to the workplace, increasing self-confidence.

The courses and the programme have been so successful that some who began seeking support and help have gone on to be the very people who have delivered the courses to their peers.

In the words of just one of those that have been helped: “Having been through the positive people programme and attending the self-development courses, I have been able to equip my mental health toolbox with some amazing tools.”

“I progressed from initially attending the courses to developing into becoming a peer facilitator who co-designed and co-delivered courses to others. I have built such strong relationships that are more positive, I understand that life isn’t always rosy and I now can reframe the negatives, avoid toxic situations and am much more resilient.”

“Positive People has given me the ability to fill my life with people who build me up, not knock me down. It’s been an amazing journey and I am surrounding myself with people who are able to support me, and as I am so much stronger myself, I can support them too.”

“Because of multiple traumas I was in therapy for eight years but because of the Positive People programme and seeing the other peers who had been in the programme longer than me, hearing their stories and seeing that they could do it, that inspired me that I could hope for that myself.”

“I now no longer need therapy as I feel strong enough to manage life myself. I’m brave and confident enough to live my life without the constant need for hand-holding”

Natasha Talbot who has run the project from the beginning said: “I’d like to thank all of the individuals, groups, organisations, and services I have had the pleasure of working and collaborating with. It’s been an amazing six years and I’m inspired by every single person who showed courage and resilience on their journey to building a more healthier and happier life. I’m humbled and privileged to have been part of their journeys.”

Sadly, whilst the work could go on forever with new people learning new skills, re-joining the workforce, and enjoying more fulfilled lives, the money has now moved onto other equally deserving causes. If only there was enough to go around. Or even better, if it were never needed in the first place, but alas that is not the world we live in.