By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead


THE Torbay Assembly is back and is once again holding meetings around the Bay – both in person and over zoom.

The Assembly, originally called the Torbay Over 50’s Assembly, was launched with the help of Ageing Well Torbay three years ago and was progressing well. And then – yes, you guessed it – COVID struck.

But the work continued behind the scenes. Members supported the Torbay Community Helpline (01803 446022), volunteered as call handlers, and telephone befrienders and matched up in local communities with vulnerable individuals helping people with practical tasks and emotional support.

Crucially members continued to lobby and be consulted on a wide range of subjects, including transport, employment, wellbeing, open spaces, housing, communication, and inclusivity.

The Assembly Action Group have also pulled together an action plan regarding an Age-Friendly Torbay, using the learning and contributions from the Ageing Well Torbay programme and feedback from members.

Their work was part of an official application submitted to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to become an Age-Friendly Area, and the application was accepted.

Since it launched in 2019, the Assembly has changed in one important detail in as much as it now represents the interests of all age groups, not just the over 50s.

The vision remains the same to be the inclusive, respected, and independent voice of all Torbay residents which consults, informs, and drives the strategy, planning, and delivery of voluntary, statutory, and commercial services, ensuring that Torbay is indeed a happy, healthy, and prosperous place to live, work, retire and thrive.

The Purpose of the Assembly is to:

  • Communicate clearly and regularly with Assembly members
  • Ensure members’ comments and concerns are always heard
  • Provide the conduit between Torbay residents and service providers by maintaining representation on Torbay’s decision-making bodies
  • Drive the Age-friendly agenda (alongside the Child and family-friendly agenda)
  • Ensure the embedding of the Positive Ageing Charter
  • Encourage active and effective membership of the Assembly

The Action Group is very keen to engage with you, the people of Torbay, regarding any themes or areas of interest.

A spokesperson for the group said: “There are several updates you should be aware of starting with Torbay Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board which brings together statutory and third sector providers so that they can measure and monitor the health and wellbeing of people in the Bay. The Assembly is pleased to have now established representation on this Board by gaining seats, as it is influential and impacts on all our lives, where we can contribute the voice of our members and the wider residents of Torbay.”

“Secondly, every year the local Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, publishes an Annual Report on a selected topic of key importance to Torbay. This year, he is focussing on mental health, which was already a major concern pre-lockdown, and has escalated to catastrophic levels post-lockdown.”

“The Assembly was pleased to be asked to contribute to this report and give its feedback on these two questions: Why mental health is important to us as individuals and communities, and what should be our priorities within the Bay? We would like to ask you if have any comments or thoughts about this as residents of Torbay.”

“And finally, a new initiative called the Optimal Ageing programme is about to land in the Bay in the next couple of months. The brainchild of Professor Sir Muir Gray, the purpose is to inspire us all as individuals to get involved with Living Longer Better.”

“The aim of the Optimal Ageing programme is to help you lead a life that is full and rewarding, for as long as possible. Does this sound familiar? As the Assembly, we are keen to involve our membership in how this develops.”

It’s probably just what we need to get ourselves going again after these lockdowns, to be inspired and the opportunity for some meaningful engagement on how this is developed within our community.

If you would like more information or to feedback regarding the Torbay Assembly or would like to become a member, please contact Jess Slade by either emailing: [email protected] or calling 07772023170.