Buddy system and shielding hours for trips out

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

If you are one of the lucky ones who is no longer self-isolating, you could be forgiven for thinking that everyone else is out and about too.

After all, Torbay is busy, particularly given the recent good weather, but what you can’t see are those that are choosing to continue to shield or are choosing to avoid crowds of people, even in the open air.

With that in mind, our community builders have been on hand to buddy up with people who remain nervous about leaving the safety of their homes having perhaps not  left their homes since the start of lockdown nearly five months ago.

The idea of the buddy system is to accompany anyone who might want to go to the shops, visit a tourist attraction or simply go for a walk in the open air –  not easy when there are so many tourists around.

Bright yellow lanyards have been provided for those who want to continue to social distance. Hopefully, they will serve as a useful reminder to everyone when they are out and about. Please watch out for them and respect the message.

But for some after more than 150 days of self-isolation that is not enough and as a result, some public places and tourists attractions are opening up at set times only for people who are shielding (and where appropriate their carers).

Community builders or volunteers are on hand at each of the venues to act as stewards to ensure that those that have been shielding are able to exercise in peace and to help ensure they remain separate from others, keeping risk to an absolute minimum.

In Torquay:

  • Our Space at the Acorn Centre, Lummaton Cross – Wednesdays 2pm to 4pm
  • Steps Cross, off Teignmouth Road – Thursdays 10am to 12noon
  • Cricketfield Community Garden, Cricketfield Road – Fridays 10am to 12noon
  • Tessier Gardens (adults only), Lindridge Road, adjacent to Furrough Cross Church – Tuesdays 10.30am-12.30pm and Thursday 1pm to 3pm.
  • Kitson Park, Cadewell Lane – Tuesdays 11am to 12noon
  • Brewery Park (Top), Lower Ellacombe Church Road – Mondays 2pm to 4pm and Thursdays 10am to 12noon
  • Millennium Copse, between Chilcote Close and Rowley Road, St Marychurch – Wednesday 11am to 1pm

In Paignton:

  • Preston Gardens, Torquay Road – Tuesdays 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • Hollicombe Park – Thursdays 2pm to 4pm
  • Young’s Park near the bandstand, Goodrington – Tuesdays 11am to 1pm
  • Palace Avenue Gardens – Wednesdays 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • St Michaels Field (with play park), St Michael’s Road – Mondays 2pm to 4pm
  • Stanley Gardens (with play park), – Thursdays 2pm to 4pm
  • Primley Park (with play park), off Totnes Road – Fridays 11am to 1pm

In Brixham:

  • Bonsey Gardens, off North Furzeham Road – Mondays 2 to 4pm
  • St Mary’s Park (with play park) – Thursdays 10 to 12noon
  • Shoalstone Picnic Area – Tuesdays 10am to 12noon

Kents Cavern: is offering pre-booked tours only for a maximum of ten people, and special tour slots for vulnerable groups. Tel: 01803 215136

Cockington Court : the two main galleries and visitor welcome point at Cockington Court will be open on Wednesday afternoons (1 to 4:30pm) following a deep clean for people who have been shielding. The Seven Dials cafe is open for takeaways with plenty of outside space to enjoy. Tel: 01803 607230

Torre Abbey: The Abbey will undergo a deep clean whilst closed each Monday, and then will just be open just to those who have been shielding each Tuesday. Tel: 01803 293593

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust: TCCT has created special guidance on how to safely visit their sites such as Berry Head and Saltern Cove, including a COVID Countryside Code offering advice on staying safe when visiting Trust sites. Tel: 01803 520022

Artizan Gallery, Lucius St and Fleet Walk, Torquay:  is offering morning bookings exclusively to vulnerable groups/individuals 9 to 11am every weekday they open and 9 to 10am on Saturdays. Tel: 07762 921571

Reach Outdoors, Seashore Centre, Tanners Road, Goodrington: For fans of paddleboarding and kayaking, Reach Outdoors are offering an early bird slot between 9 and 10am to people who have been shielding. Private group sessions for a ‘shielding circle’ of up to five people are also available for up to 3 hours. Tel: 01803 524950

If you require any more information – please contact the venue directly, but if you need more information about the stewarded public spaces and the buddy system, please call the Torbay Community Helpline on 01803 446022.