Struggling with a New Year’s resolution? Consider volunteering

TEN days into 2024 and whilst it is probably time to stop wishing people a Happy New Year,  it is never too late to make a resolution.

It doesn’t take a fresh start or the dawn of a new year to decide that this is the time that you should sign up as a volunteer and begin to make a difference in your chosen community.

Your community can be anything – the neighbourhood in which you live, the town or village you call home or a collective of people that have an interest in common and that can cover multiple things from sports to hobbies or a mutual delight of something.

So many organisations in Torbay rely on volunteers for their very existence. Put another way, without them, many organisations and the events they help create would simply not take place.

Volunteers are everywhere, some obvious, but many more are behind the scenes, often working long hours without the recognition they deserve and they do it for little more than the occasional thank you.

Here at Torbay Communities, we like to celebrate our volunteers and give them the recognition they warrant because they are the glue that holds so many things together, the oil that keeps the cogs turning, the often unsung heroes in our society.

Think of an event you have attended and enjoyed in the last year, and you can almost guarantee that volunteers were involved somewhere along the organisational line.

It is doubtful that the annual airshow in Paignton which attracts tens of thousands of visitors and brings in hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy could go ahead without them. Just marshalling an event on that scale takes many people prepared to give up their own time to don a luminous jacket and ensure the safety of the crowds.

The same goes for other large-scale gatherings like the Pirate Festival in Brixham, the first big event of the year in the Bay, attracting locals and visitors in their thousands. Without volunteers organising and overseeing the event, there would be no Pirate Festival.

But it is not just very public events that need volunteers; how many fetes, fayres and carnivals take place each year in towns and villages across the Bay? Dozens and not one of them would be possible without volunteers who work so hard, often all year round, to deliver them.

So many charities exist only through the goodwill of their volunteers. They are always on the lookout for more, enabling them to deliver not just existing services, but also fundraise to provide more.

Visit Torbay Together or go to VolunteerTorbay.com and discover a world of opportunities where you can help out and make a genuine difference in the lives of your friends, relatives and neighbours.

Right now, there are more than 80 volunteering opportunities on Torbay Together and we know that is only the tip of the iceberg but take a look – some of the roles on offer may well surprise and challenge you. Furthermore, there may be something there that will fuel your passions.

For instance, Remap is a charity that helps disabled people of all ages to live more independent lives and they have a network of skilled volunteers who design and custom-make equipment.

Their inventiveness helps to improve the quality of life and increase independence for disabled people by providing bespoke solutions to everyday problems where there is nothing commercially available.

If engineering is not your thing, then perhaps you could help form a group to run the community magazine that covers Hele, Watcombe, Barton and the Willows. The community has already produced two quarterly magazines and distributed them to 4,500 homes in the area, keeping people informed about local events, happenings and issues.

It is already a success, but going forward, the team behind it need help with distribution, talking to local businesses about sponsorship, as well as someone to help with the finances and others to be part of the editorial steering group.

We do not boast lightly that volunteertorbay.com offers a world of opportunities; there really is something for everyone there and at the start of 2024 it could be the chance for you to make a real difference.

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