Tribute to Community Builders moving on to pastures new – Community Matters

By Christine Durrant, Community Builder for Preston, Paignton

Today, I would like to pay tribute to three of our community builders who will be leaving us this month for pastures new.

We wish them well in their new roles, knowing that they will bring the same passion and energy to their future as they have over the past years here in Torbay.

Marianne Parker has been working in Wellswood for five-and-a-half years.

She was the mastermind behind the flash mobs that have been popping up everywhere from the seafront to the town centres and all because a lady of mature years said that she would love to be part of a flash mob.

Marianne thought it a great idea and set about making it happen.

Working with exercise and dance groups across the Bay, she found brilliant dance leaders who choreographed the routines, led rehearsals and made YouTube videos, so everyone had the opportunity to learn them.

Suddenly the over-50s had a way of showing their community that life does not stop at 40. We can still have fun and dance at whatever age we are.

I hope a volunteer will come forward and keep the flash mob going.

Tara Acton has been working for five-and-a-half years in Chelston and has been instrumental in much of what we have seen happen there.

One legacy I think will remain visible for many years to come is the transformed Goshen Triangle.

Once a derelict piece of land covered in rubbish and rusty cars, it is now a wonderful community garden with a play area for the children.

Sally Farrant started working with us just before Covid and the lockdowns.

Despite barely having time to find her feet, she has forged strong relationships with the community groups in Shiphay and The Willows.

She hopes people will continue to meet for exercise and socials in Kitson Park, Shiphay and local residents will enjoy getting to know each other through ‘Community Clean Ups’ in The Willows.

They have all made countless other less visible differences in individuals’ lives, as I am sure many members of their communities will testify.

Our Ageing Well funding has been extended to March 2022 but after that, if we cannot find new means of paying our community builders, we will have to say goodbye to them all.

I would hate to see that happen, so let’s put our thinking caps on and come up with a plan.

You can help us. I invite you to contact our communications officer David Gledhill with your story of the difference your community builder has made in your life.

This can be your way of thanking them for the passion and commitment they have given.

Every story you tell us can be used by us as evidence that the work of the community builders transforms both individual lives and our communities.

Please send them in to

Thank you, Marianne, Tara, and Sally. We are going to miss you!

If you have what it takes to be a community builder, we will be looking to fill these roles so keep an eye on the Torbay Community Development Trust website for new job opportunities, or on Facebook and Twitter @TorbayCDT