Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, for all sorts of causes

Winners of the Torbay Children & Young People’s Awards 2023

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, with every level of expertise and interest, and involve all ages.

Each year, we endeavour to organise a few events when we thank our volunteers for all that they do for us and reflect on the fact that without their help, so many events would not take place in Torbay and dozens of organisations would cease to exist.

In a nutshell, we cannot say thank you enough or praise their efforts enough. No matter how hard we try.

We celebrate all things volunteering as often as we can, whether that be in this column, on the weekly Good Morning South Devon Volunteering Show, which airs every Tuesday between 10am and 1pm on 107.9, or online.

Last week, I was joined by Peter Thorp, chair of the Torbay RNLI Fundraising Group who talked about the work of the lifeboat on and off the water. Did you know that the Torbay lifeboat, itself crewed mostly by volunteers, costs £200,000 a year to run? Where would we be without it?

I was then lucky enough to chat to Jack Read who is fundraising to take ten youngsters from the Hele area to Brazil next year for the football Go Cup. After his 12-year-old son Oscar received 25 per cent burns in a horrendous accident last year, the community rallied to send him and his dad to this year’s Go Cup and this is one of the many ways Jack and his team of fundraisers are paying back the kindness.

Last year, I was lucky enough to be at the Children and Young People’s Award presentation during Children’s Week and go to interview some of the deserving recipients.

This year, the Imagine This Youth Council has taken over the Awards and taken the time to reimagine them from the perspective of young people. The Awards are as follows:

Environmentalist of the Year Award 2024
Awarded to a young person with a strong passion and enthusiasm for the environment.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2024
Awarded to a young person who finds opportunities to start and help further businesses or enterprises in Torbay.
Volunteer of the Year Award 2024  
Awarded to a young person who takes the time to get involved and stuck in volunteering around the bay.
The Trail Blazer Award 2024
Awarded to a young person paving the way for other young people.
The Leadership Award 2024
Awarded to a young person who uses their experience and skills to help empower other young people.
The Hidden Gem Award 2024
Awarded to a young person with a hidden talent or skill that betters the community.
The Odyssey Award 2024
Awarded to a young person who hasn’t let life’s challenges hold them back from doing incredible things.
The Community Star Award 2024
Awarded to a young person who is actively involved within their community.
The Radiator Award 2024
Awarded to a young person who radiates positivity, kindness and gives strength to their friends.
The Spotlight Award 2024
Awarded to a young person doing amazing work within an organisation.

The nomination form can be found at https://bit.ly/CYPAwards

Finally, we are launching a new sitting service to allow the higher-than-average number of unpaid carers in the Bay to take a break, safe in the knowledge their loved ones are being looked after.

Time For You Torbay is a sitting service designed to give carers in the Bay a worry-free break from their role. It allows them to attend appointments, socialise or simply take time out.

Hundreds of people across the Bay are full-time carers providing thousands of hours of care, and they often struggle to step away from their responsibilities even for the shortest time.

Time for you Torbay is looking for people prepared to provide companionship for an agreed number of hours, They are not required to provide personal care.

The pressure on carers can be intense and it is important that they are able to look after themselves too. They still need to be able to attend appointments or meet up with friends, just like everyone else.

We are looking for volunteers who can sit for as little as one or two hours. We will provide the training and ensure everyone is DBS-checked.

Call the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022 to volunteer for this new service.