By Matt Saunders, Marketing & Communications Assistant

We are officially in Spring – t’is the session for new life, growth, renewal…all that jazz. Be it spiritual, religious, or not, this time of year is one many mark as a point to get out and about, try new things, and begin a new chapter.

Somewhere definitely worth looking into opportunities to give something a go is the Torbay Together website (found at www.devonconnect.org/torbay) a website dedicated to share means of getting more involved in all sorts of goings on around Paignton, Brixham and Torquay.

For instance, the website shares groups, activities, and events, and one event that the Torbay Together team are hosting is the next in the Big Exchange series of events. These are a chance to give an unwanted/unused item a new lease of life, a new home, or to see what fascinating finds you may discover, donated from another home somewhere in the bay.

For any wishing to take part, clean clothing, books, plants & seeds, and home-grown produce are amongst the many offerings that are up for grabs (please note, electronics and furniture are not allowed) completely free of charge! So don’t bring your cash, just bring yourself, and feel free to bring along anything to give away. Taking place Saturday 8th April, 11am-2pm at The Willow Tree pub in Torquay.

As well as finding activities on Torbay Together, you can also use the website to list your own – some of what’s currently been listed by people and groups around the bay include Community Craft Sessions with Make Torbay (3rd, 6th, 13th, 17th & 20th April), a Stop Motion Animation workshop at Torquay Museum (tying in with their Star Wars-themed series of events, this one taking place 15th April), Connecting to Nature 8-week walk and talk around Oldway Mansion’s grounds, with Nuture by Nina (starting 3rd May), the Coronation Big Lunch on Sunday 7th May on Torre Abbey Meadows, and Unleashed Theatre’s community drama “Prisoners of the Pure” showing 8th-10th June at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Abbey Road. These are but a few of what’s on offer.

A vital part of Torbay Together is the volunteer opportunities section, all about finding out where, when, and how you can lend a hand to all sorts of causes in Torbay. For instance, the Coronation Big Lunch mentioned previously is looking for volunteers for the event itself, as well as being part of events that will promote many more volunteering opportunities the following day, as part of the national Big Help Out. Read Easy are seeking a treasurer for their charity, dedicated to aiding adult literacy, Sanctuary Supported Living need a range of volunteers to help support victims of domestic abuse, and Cricketfield Community Garden needs any spare green thumbs, of all ages to help out.

Timebanking has always been a big part of what Torbay Together offers – for those unfamiliar with the concept, you exchange time, rather than money, for services. Say you might need help with painting a wall in your home, well someone could lend some time to help you with that/do it for you, in return for any time you might have earned (through the timebank’s time credit system) by helping someone else using your skills and passions. So in short, a literal way of giving your time to help others, and vice versa.

Some of those already offering their own time include Paddy‘s offer to make badges for events, Bob’s offer to do small handyman jobs such as fixing shelves or changing lightbulbs, Leanne’s offer to teach people how to create their own leaflets and marketing materials online, and Anna’s offer to help any who don’t speak English as their first language to learn it as a foreign language.

With anything involving the internet, we appreciate that not all are a fan of using it for extended periods, or those who are interested may sometimes need a hand navigating that great big worldwide web. If you’d like any help with Torbay Together (www.devonconnect.org/torbay) contact our team – Paul on 07971 951429 / [email protected], Theo on 07599 993987 / [email protected] or Ruth on 07703 715236 / [email protected].