Who can you turn to this Christmas?

MORE than ten weeks to go and already we are being bombarded with messages about Christmas.

We are being urged to have a wonderful time, spend lots of money and gather our loved ones around us. Fine sentiments, but they are a long way from reality for lots of people.

The excitement of the countdown to the big day can just as easily be turned on its head, to be replaced by a creeping sense of dread for what promises to be a miserable and lonely time.

Given the temperatures this week it is hard to once again envisage a time when the heating needs to go back on and individuals and, indeed families, are faced with making stark choices between putting food on the table and keeping the house warm.

Christmas is a cruel time for many when everything that is wrong with their lives is thrown into sharp focus. Not enough money, no friends, and no one to share it with. It can be a desperate time, but it doesn’t have to be.

Now might be a good time to look around your community to see what is on offer and to begin to make new connections that, once made, will last not just for Christmas but all year round.

A great starting point, no matter what it is you are looking for – a friendly voice, financial support, companionship or help with deteriorating mental health, is the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022 – one call that’s all, and if we can’t help you, we will find someone who can.

Our Community Builders also provide support where it is needed most and we have one in each and every neighbourhood across the Bay. They specialise in bringing people together and creating a sense of togetherness.

They have been busy all summer helping communities create and deliver events of all sizes from coffee mornings to afternoon dances to fayres and fetes.

And now, they are looking forward to Autumn and Winter and how to help people through the colder months and help prevent isolation and loneliness, particularly at Christmas.

Read on to find out who your local community builder is and how to contact them.

Hele, Watcombe and Barton have two Community Builders – Theo Tanser, who can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by phone 07599 993987 and Dan Best, whose email is [email protected] and his phone number is 07905 765263.

Elsewhere in Torquay, Wellswood’s Community Builder is Marianne Parker whose email is [email protected] and her phone number is 07469 660875. Ellacombe and Plainmoor are looked after by Usha Garrattley whose email address is [email protected] and her phone is 07702 557723.

Joey Damiral is the Community Builder for Cockington, Chelston and Livermead and can be reached at [email protected] and on his mobile 07754 609494. The Willows is represented by Helen Kelly – [email protected] and 07548 704876.

Jennie Langridge looks after St Marychurch, Babbacombe and Maidencombe and you can contact her via email on [email protected] and by phone on 07469 660888. Across town in Shiphay is Marina Zapata and she can be contacted via email [email protected] and by phone 07548 704878.

Central Torquay is the domain of Ceri Silk, who looks after the town centre and her email address is [email protected] and her phone number is 07931 567885 whilst Torre and Upton’s Community Builder is Tracy Pleece whose email address is [email protected] and whose phone number is 07977 187138.

Paignton has five Community Builders with Paignton town centre and Clifton with Maidenway being represented by Joanna Reynolds – [email protected] and 07716 074903 and Leah Whitcher whose email [email protected] and whose phone number is 07703 715235.

Preston has Christine Durrant whose email is [email protected] and whose phone number is 07469 660887. Kings Ash and Collaton St Mary’s Community Builder is Nina Cooper – [email protected], 07929 335915. Paignton South, Goodrington, Roselands, White Rock, Hookhills, Broadsands, Galmpton and Churston are looked after by Gill Knight who can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone on 07884 887063.

And last but not least, Brixham’s Community Builder is Helen Ambler, who would love to hear from you by email:  [email protected] or by phone on 07469 660873.

Remember, you don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to be and Christmas need not be miserable, well, not if we can do anything about it; it doesn’t. Get in touch today.

Image by Freepik