Saying thank you to our army of volunteers

Geoff 'the Sandman' Ward's handiwork on Torre Abbey Sands to celebrate National Volunteers' Week

Geoff 'the Sandman' Ward's handiwork on Torre Abbey Sands to celebrate National Volunteers' Week - Credit: Archant

Torbay is preparing to say a massive thank-you to the amazing volunteers who have made such a significant contribution to community life during the Covid-19 crisis. 
Organised by Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust, the event is being staged on Paignton Green on September 18, when community and neighbourhood groups are also being encouraged to organise their own celebrations ,such as street parties. 
Thousands of people across the Bay have been helping their neighbours and friends, and even strangers by signing up to the Torbay Community Helpline or through the NHS volunteers and helping out at the Torbay Food Alliance Foodbanks. 
On the Helpline alone, there were, at the peak, more than 1400 helping out, and never before have so many people stepped up to help to make sure that no-one in the Bay went hungry, or left lonely and isolated, using the new hashtag #TorbayKind. 
Tracey Cabache, operations director from TCDT which set up the Helpline one week before the first lockdown in March 2020. said: “It has been a tough year for so many people, but it would have been even harder without our team of volunteers who stepped up during the crisis. 
“Without their help, we could not have staffed the Torbay Community Helpline, we could not have done shopping or prescription deliveries, and we could not have marshalled the vaccination centres. 
“Our volunteers have worked tirelessly, and we want to show our appreciation, as well as enabling many people to meet each other face to face, perhaps for the first time.” 
Words echoed by the leader of Torbay Council, Councillor Steve Darling, who said: “The whole council and I want to let all our volunteers and community groups know how we appreciate all the hard work you have put in over the past 15 months. Without your help and support, so many people would have been isolated and struggling through what was a difficult time for us all.”  
Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, added: “Everyone has worked so hard supporting friends, family, neighbours and even strangers over the past year; thank you for everything you have done.”