Torbay Assembly – Continuing to be a voice for the people of the Bay

The Torbay Assembly has been working hard behind the scenes for several years, after being set up as part of the Ageing Well Torbay programme to help progress the Bay’s ambition to become Age-Friendly.

Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) was a programme which began in 2015 and came to an end in 2022 (after a one-year extension due to the COVID-19 Pandemic) with the aim of reconnecting communities and reducing social isolation experienced by Torbay residents over the age of fifty. AWT was one of fourteen programmes funded across the UK by the National Lottery Community Fund. The programme came to a close, with a local legacy left to the people of Torbay including the Community Builders team, Torbay Community Helpline (of which AWT had played a crucial role in establishing) and of course, the Torbay Assembly.

Despite the AWT programme ending, the Assembly was already embedded in various high-level organisations, particularly those concerned with service delivery such as the NHS and Torbay Council. So, it was decided to continue, on behalf of people of all ages.

Assembly members have ensured that Torbay residents’ voices continue to be heard when important decisions are being made on their behalf. In a nutshell, the Assembly aims to:

  • Influence decisions regarding local services and policies so that they take into account the needs and interests of Torbay residents
  • Ensure that locals have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience to improve current services
  • Provide feedback on changes to services and policies
  • To support and drive the local authority, statutory, voluntary and private organisations to achieve and maintain Age-friendly Status
  • Represent all Torbay residents
  • Celebrate people of all ages


In fact, the next Torbay Assembly Open meeting will be on Friday the 1st of December from 2-4.30pm in the Garden Room, Paignton Club, 1 The Esplanade, Esplanade Rd, Paignton TQ4 6ED and everyone is welcome to attend.

On the agenda:

2-2.10:  Welcome – Action Group

2.10-3:  Citizens Advice: Help that’s available for the winter and beyond,  with Naomi Milward

Info and advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau on cost of living, energy grants/support, benefits and entitlements and alike

3-3.30:  FREE Refreshments & networking

3.30-4:  Libraries Unlimited: What’s happening across our libraries, with Eve Ashton

Winter activities and facilities available across Torbay’s four libraries (Brixham, Churston, Paignton & Torquay)

4-4.15:  Winter and cost of living support, with Jess Slade

What’s available from local groups, services and the council to support you this winter through the cold and the cost of living

4.15:     Thank you & close

Members of the Assembly work alongside other groups and organisations to ensure everyone’s voice is heard but to be able to continue to do so, they need your support. They need to know what issues need tackling and what are the biggest challenges you face.

Jess Slade, Torbay Communities’ Participation Development Lead, helped set up the Assembly and has been on hand to provide support ever since: “We have come a long way since it was set up to represent over 50’s in Brixham, Torquay and Paignton.

“We realised when Ageing Well Torbay concluded that there was still a need to amplify the voice of Torbay residents regardless of age to influence local decision-making, be heard, counted and celebrated, working alongside local services, authorities and organisations.”

“But we do still need to push for the completion of a three-year process for Torbay to become Age-Friendly – for everyone. When designated Torbay became one of only 30 places in the UK to achieve Age-friendly Status. It joined 700 places around the world that have already received the coveted designation.”

“It is a process that can take up to three years but has the backing of both Torbay Council and the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and has been put forward as part of the legacy of the National Lottery Community-Funded Ageing Well Torbay programme.”

“There is a lot of work to be done and we will continue to push forward,” she added.

For more information about the Torbay Assembly or the upcoming open meeting, contact Jess on email: [email protected] or by calling her on 07772 023170