Celebrating the power and strength of local community

People power creates a beautiful well-used community garden space from a piece of wasteland

People power creates a beautiful well-used community garden space from a piece of wasteland - Credit: TCDT

Tara Acton has been the community builder for Chelston, Livermead and Cockington:

I’m writing this as it is officially the end of my time in Torbay. I have worked in, lived in and loved communities across Brixham, Paignton and Torquay for almost ten years and what an utter pleasure it has been.

I am so privileged to take with me a concrete foundation of knowing that people are good and, not only that they really do care.

They care enough to volunteer on community adventure playgrounds in some of the most deprived areas in the country; they care enough to commit time and effort to making sure hula hooping sessions - mainly for over 60s - happens every week; they care enough to voluntarily make carnivals happen which bring everyone together and when a group of people really want too they can find a real-life Mystery Machine for their Scooby Do.

I have seen that: when boundaries are removed, people instinctively want to do the best things for others; laughter is the root of success.

An invitation to see that something different can lead to a piece of wasteland become transformed to a beautiful well-used community garden space.

Street parties are the best at creating energy and enthusiasm – even when the alternative punk version of God Save the Queen is played in one of Torbay’s wealthier areas.

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Finding common themes that people really care about leads to Community Sheds changing the world one hand-crafted item at a time – be that toys for the nursery or theatre props for local adventure experiences.

I really could go on and on and on about how amazing being a community builder is, what a privilege it has been spending all this time here and how many hundreds, if not thousands, of phenomenal people I have met over the years. No doubt I probably will.

How lucky am I to have been on the side-line witnessing the power and strength of the local community and all that they have achieved?

To use a quote from Margaret Mead, which will hopefully summarise my ramblings: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Torbay has an abundance of these types of people; I hope you continue to find each other and carry on smashing those waves of change over the whole of the Bay or even gently roll it across bit by bit with each new tide.