Torbay’s volunteers continue to shine

A big thank you to all our volunteers who celebrated Volunteers’ Week last week.

Your contributions to communities and causes across Torbay are invaluable – what would we do without you?

So many events, organisations, clubs and societies would simply not exist without this small army of people who give up their time and expertise for free.

Last week was the 40th anniversary of Volunteers Week, but it shouldn’t take a designated seven days for us to stand back to celebrate and thank all those who work tirelessly, often in the background.

In the last couple of weeks, we have seen the English Riviera Airshow take off and climb to new heights, thanks in large part to the numerous people who gave up their time to ensure it all went smoothly on both days.

They donned fluorescent tabards, shook collecting buckets and were on hand to shepherd the huge crowds that gathered on Paignton Green for one of the most spectacular events of the year.

Torbay Council has been quite open about the need to rely on volunteers to help deliver the event, and their efforts have helped keep the costs down to £100,000 from the public purse – a third of previous years.

It meant that all those people who came in their droves from outside the Bay could have a great couple of days out and bring their much-needed spending power into local businesses.

In Brixham, the 80th anniversary of Dday was celebrated in the town, which did so much when troops were gathering in their thousands before their voyages across the channel.

Brixham Future was the organisation behind a whole series of events spread across the week, all delivered by volunteers to ensure the town’s role in the invasion was celebrated, commemorated, and remembered down the generations.

Volunteering is nothing new; people have stepped up for so many things down the years and yet only a handful are remembered and those tend to be those who could afford to match their efforts with monetary legacies.

That is why it is important that we appreciate volunteers and celebrate them in the moment; right now, they all deserve our thanks and appreciation.

We recently organised a cream tea at the Redcliffe Hotel in Paignton to say thank you to more than a hundred volunteers, and all appreciated the gesture. We just wish we could do it more often.

Many times in this column, this column has written about the need for more people to find time in their busy lives to volunteer, knowing that their efforts make a real difference.

Every week on my radio show on Riviera FM, I invite volunteers and organisations that use volunteers to come on and talk about their work, and I am always taken aback by their selfless contributions.

The show, called appropriately enough the Volunteering Show goes out each Tuesday between 10am and 1pm on 107.9FM or via the internet. If you want to talk about your organisation or want to celebrate your volunteers, get in touch – my email is [email protected]

Riviera FM, a truly community radio station is staffed exclusively by volunteers and we are always on the lookout for new presenters. Get in touch if you want to apply.

In the meantime, if you want to explore a world of volunteering opportunities, then the best place to go is Torbay Together, click on Volunteering and a regularly refreshing set of opportunities is displayed.

Alternatively, if you want to speak to someone, you can ring the Torbay Community Helpline (run in part by volunteer call handlers) on 01803 446022. You will not regret it.

It doesn’t matter what your interests or passions are, we will be able to find something for you, and many of them are entirely flexible with the time that you have available.

As of today, there are lots of opportunities available on Torbay Together and you will find organisations advertising their vacancies and, if you are an animal lover, then you can’t go wrong. There are volunteer openings to work with horses, cats, and hedgehogs, to name but a few.

Go on; you can join the thousands in Torbay who give their time and expertise to make a difference. Sign up today.