29 Nov Showcasing what’s next for our sector and Torbay Communities
Once a year, we get to stand back and consider for a few moments the impact our work at Torbay Communities has on people and organisations across the Bay.
It tends to be around our Annual General Meeting, which falls this Friday, December 1st when all are welcome to come to the Assembly Room at Torquay Town Hall, where we will showcase our work and reflect on its impact from April 2022 to March 2023.
It will be an opportunity for you to see how we spend our money and upon whom, and to meet those who both deliver and benefit from our services.
As a charity, we inhabit a fast-moving world where the goalposts, the need for our services, and the people we serve constantly change. But one thing remains constant: the challenges we face, in whatever form.
A few years ago, we were all about older people aged 50 and over who potentially faced loneliness and isolation. We also worked tirelessly to get those furthest away from employment into jobs. A few years ago, we began to work with young people either in the school or alongside, helping to make Torbay a great place to grow up in.
And then along came COVID and all our lives, including those of our team were thrown up in the air and whilst so many organisations struggled to survive, we were busier than ever with the Torbay Community Helpline.
As life settled back into a new rhythm post-COVID we realigned our offer to ensure we were working for everyone in the Bay regardless of background and regardless of age. The golden thread that runs through all these changes is our brilliant team of Community Builders.
They had been actively working with the most vulnerable through the lottery-funded, Ageing Well project, and came into their own again during the coronavirus crisis emerging at the conclusion of both as the go-to people in the Bay if you needed help and support.
Whilst so many projects come and go due to changing needs and reallocation of funds our mission has remained constant – not only have we adopted a new title, Torbay Communities – Stronger Together we have stood by our long-held mission to bring people together.
On Friday between 5pm and 7pm (teas, coffees and networking from 5-5.30 and then the formal AGM bit from 5.30-6pm) there will be a huge showcase of our work, which no matter how hard we try will not totally reflect the true impact of everything we do.
I could write pages about the work of the Torbay Community Helpline and its dedicated team of volunteers and staff who have continued to run it and expand its services and advice – no wonder we proudly boast that when dialling 01803 446022, it is one call, that’s all.
One day someone will write thousands of words about the innovatory Helpline that was born out of crisis but has been built on out of necessity to meet the needs of a sometimes battered, but always resilient community.
As with so many organisations in the Bay, we rely heavily on volunteers and we will introduce just a handful of them to talk about their work and share their passions. We will also be on the lookout for more to join them through Torbaytogether.org.uk, the Torbay Timebank or VolunteerTorbay.com
Volunteers have been working to make the vaccine roll out at the Riviera Centre in Torquay the efficient, well-oiled machine that delivers hundreds of thousands of injections in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
We will also unveil our plans to install Friendly Benches across the Bay where people will be encouraged to stop for a while and talk with strangers. No one should be lonely or isolated.
Additionally, we will be showcasing our work with Local Motion Torbay, the home from hospital programme, the community bus service, and foodbanks to name but a few. There will also be a scrolling list of all the organisations we have worked alongside in the Bay in recent years, which already adds up to more than 1,200.
We are proud of our work and the teams that deliver it. Please come along and chat with them about it. Everyone is welcome – 5pm, Friday, December 1st, in the Assembly Room at Torquay Town Hall.