By Tracey Cabache, Community Development Manager at Torbay Community Development Trust
The more eagle-eyed reader might have noticed the emergence of a new friendly space in Torquay – upstairs at Fleet Walk Shopping Centre, we have created a community lounge – ‘The Lounge’ for short!
The Lounge is there for any member of the community to pop in and find out what is going on in their local area, link up with their Community Builder and offer their own time to their community. It’s a laid back, flexible, fun place made possible by the kind generosity of the Fleet Walk owners – Edinburgh House Estates – who have provided us with Unit 28 for free. The Lounge is open 10-4pm on Monday – Saturday, information is provided every day but we also have some regular activities.
Monday is for volunteering – find out what volunteering opportunities are available in the Bay, Tuesday is art and craft day for those who like to make a thing or two, Wednesday we have IT people from Healthwatch Torbay on hand who can help you link up to the internet, on Thursday we have knit and chat – neither are compulsory – but we do have a volunteer present who can teach those who would like to learn to knit (and she is also a great chatter!). Friday we have some relaxing live music. Saturday is a general pop-in day.
During February we are also encouraging people to come to The Lounge to join up to their local Timebank. We have 13 neighbourhood Timebanks covering the whole of Torbay. They provide people with the opportunity to do something for someone in their local area and earn a credit – which can be ‘spent’ in a similar fashion when someone does something for you. 1 hour = 1 credit regardless of what you offer or receive. So if I give an hour of gardening I can take an hour of any other offer, whether it be sewing, ironing, dog walking whatever. We have over 250 people on the Timebanks so far and over 3,000 hours have been exchanged. Simple things – like sitting with someone who lives on their own and having a conversation for an hour – are really making a difference to people’s lives. And you can give as much of our time as you want, when you want. Pop into The Lounge to find out more (or visit the news section on https://www.torbaycdt.org.uk).
The Lounge is being run by the community for the community, so we are open to any ideas you might have for the use of the space. Charities and Community Groups are also welcome to set up drop-ins at The Lounge to share the work they are doing.
For more information call Amanda Lynn on 01803 212638 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). Last but not least – and the clue is in its name – The Lounge is full of sofas. So if a comfy seat is what you need after a few hours shopping come on by – but no feet allowed on the coffee tables. It’s just like home!