'We have all been in this together like never before'

Head and shoulders of female community stalwart

Tracey Cabache - Credit: Torbay Community Development Trust

Community leaders have paid tribute to the people of Torbay after a year of ‘community strength and generosity’. 

Torbay Council and key partners have been crunching numbers to share the selfless generosity and hard work. 

They say the results demonstrate the exceptional strength of the Bay’s community spirit and its commitment to working together in the face of the greatest of challenges: 

  • £87.8 million in restrictions grants and business rates relief to businesses affected by the lockdowns. 

  • More than 470,000 food parcels sorted, packed and distributed by Torbay Food Alliance which started in March 2020 as a direct response to COVID-19, with 12 community organisations coming together to meet demand for food from those facing food poverty or needing extra help due to shielding or self-isolation. 

  • 28,958 contacts made by council staff to offer people clinically vulnerable to the virus and advised to shield from the virus, help and support. 

  • 18,500 calls taken by volunteers at Torbay community helpline, which is a group of organisations from the charity and voluntary sector led by Community Development Trust. 

  • 7,000 local children, young people and their families provided with vouchers over the school holidays. 

  • Nearly 7,000 businesses contacted directly about restriction grants, support and guidance throughout the pandemic. 

  • 1,688 ‘rapid responses’ made by volunteers for people who cannot leave their home and needing urgent help with shopping and prescriptions. 

  • 1,500 volunteers offering their help, including 323 people helping get people to and around the vaccination centre in Torquay, 245 people signing up to be community champions who help share key information with friends and family, and 81 volunteer drivers. 68 new Good Neighbour schemes have also been established

Torbay Council leader Steve Darling said: “The past year has undoubtedly been the hardest most of us will ever face and the generosity of ordinary people who have chosen to step up and support others is remarkable. The numbers tell part of the story but the impact on those who have needed our help is immeasurable.” 

Deputy leader Darren Cowell said: “ The impact of COVID-19 has been brutal and the £64 million in financial aid we have delivered, along with COVID-19 guidance and support, have been a lifeline for so many. 

“I urge our Torbay community to get behind our local businesses as they start to re-open, remembering to stay COVID-19 safe.” 

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Tracey Cabache, Operations Director of Torbay Community Development Trust, said: “We could not have achieved all that has been achieved without our partner organisations working alongside each other in a way that has never been seen before and an army of volunteers from across the Bay who have stepped up time and time again. 

“We have all been in this together and together we are coming through it.”