I’m really proud of the co-operation and human kindness seen over last 12 months – Community Matters

By Simon Sherbersky, Strategic Director for Ageing Well Torbay & Torbay Community Development Trust

Last week, I heard some very powerful storytelling to inform better ways of working together to support people in Torbay.

The messages are not new but were really moving from people who have struggled with issues of violence, abuse, complexity, mental health and addiction.

They showcased the value of local community groups who had helped them with their difficulties, the importance of connection and caring relationships.

They highlighted that services are too narrowly focussed around specific issues and this led to them being passed around and falling in between.

They gave some very powerful messages for providers of support to consider.

We want places that we can access, where we are welcomed and the support needed is enabled in the way that works for them – based on the needs of the individual.

So, support needs to be better joined up so that no-one falls through the gaps.

The most powerful message I received was the desire for places of hope rather than services that make people feel judged!

This process was funded by a new initiative called Local Motion, which is a collaboration of six national funders who have decided to work with Torbay to create lasting change to tackle inequality and disadvantage.

Exciting times here in Torbay, which has the most amazing appetite for collaboration – developed through our collective responses to Covid!

Let’s build on the amazing partnership work that created the Community Helpline – one call that’s all.

It allows people to be put in touch with the best support available to meet their needs, whether that’s a neighbour who keeps in touch and helps with practical tasks, an advisor who assists with financial issues or someone to provide support around food or mental health.

I have been working in the social space in Torbay for more than 20 years and I can honestly say I am really proud of the level of co-operation and human kindness I have seen over the last 12 months.

Let’s build on this and ensure no-one gets left behind, that everyone has the opportunity for a great life, thriving and growing in Torbay!