Steps forward to help with family, financial and food-related struggles in Torbay

By Jo Curtis, LocalMotion Torbay Systemic Change Partner

LocalMotion works in six towns up and down the UK, including Torbay.

LocalMotion came from a group of six funders, the City Bridge Trust, the Esme Fairburn Foundation, the Lankelly Chase Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the Tudor Trust who came together to try and achieve more than they would by working on their own.

Funders collaborating in this way is unusual and they are keen to learn how this can be different. It’s about making sustainable long-term, social, economic, and environmental changes. The funders are keen to explore how power can be shared more with those who are not perceived to have it.   This includes how funding systems can be changed.

The root causes of issues need to be addressed to create this long-term change. In Torbay, we chose to focus on strengthening families and improving outcomes for children, food insecurity, and financial wellbeing. In all areas, services are set up to deal with immediate problems. LocalMotion aims to find out more about the causes of the problems by people living and working in Torbay, exploring a topic they care about and want to take action on. It’s about creating the conditions for people to get involved and make a change. It is not a project funding pot and it’s not a consultation where people say what they think and someone else goes away and does something about it.

So how do we create the conditions for change? By testing and learning, bringing people together and working together, developing people’s skills, and adding capacity to step aside from the day job and think into the future. This is hard to do when people are working so hard to deal with crises or difficult situations in front of them.

What’s been happening so far?

We’ve held workshops to co-design a way of working, a family-friendly action change event where people could say what they care about and want to get involved with doing something about. A food system event where we generated ideas for a future food system in Torbay that leaves no one wanting, invitations to our local groups to bring the voices of the children, young people and families, and their supporters into this process of discovery. Financial wellbeing workshops where people working in and around the financial advice sector could suggest how things can be improved and where we could invest to experiment with how change could happen.

Thus far we have divided our work into the following workstreams and themes:

Strengthening families

Co-designed Action change event. Young people saying they have been heard in a way not experienced before. Stepping into roles of leadership.

  1. Young people aged 16-25 – held by Imagine This
  2. Environment – held by Taleblazers
  3. Aspiration for young people in Torbay, using art as the vehicle – Doorstep Arts
  4. Mental health general – Children’s society
  5. Feeling supported at school – Children’s Society
  6. Additional needs – Play Torbay and the Children’s Society
  7. Parkfield – Torbay Youth Trust
  8. Communication and connection – Held by Sound Communities


In terms of financial wellbeing, we have been looking at how we financially skill up and create opportunities for people in Torbay, emphasising Community wealth building, keeping money local, and supporting our neighbours.

  • Collaboration and sharing the resources we have – community wealth building
  • Cultural narrative and norms – raising aspirations of young people to know they have the potential to achieve in Torbay.
  • Education – how we can develop positive financial knowledge in everyone, encouraging self-employment and apprenticeship opportunities,
  • Household/personal resources – how can we get people out of financial holes, and into a position of planning positively for the future. Looking at the possibility of a savings club. More people being paid the National Living Wage.
  • Funding models – inviting a dragon’s den of social investors to grow small groups and organisations.
  • Housing – exploring a community land trust opportunity, looking at tiny homes, social lettings ‘plus’.
  • Reputation and needs of Torbay – telling positive stories about Torbay.


Food inequality

How do we bridge the gap from ‘food crisis’ to self-sustaining? Developing education and skills, community connection, and support to food enterprise.

What can people get involved with

We want to get more people involved. There’s much more we can do to bring people’s ideas and expertise in. Do we have anyone in the Bay looking to make a social investment?

If you are interested, please do get in touch, email [email protected] or call 07821 663379