Your smile and kind words or actions could make a big difference

The Torbay Community Helpline logo

If you need help or support over the Christmas period, call the helpline - Credit: Submitted

Christmas is upon us, and although things will be different, we hope that many of you have found a safe way to celebrate, either using technology, social distancing, meeting outside, or taking advantage of the relaxed rules to see family or friends.

While you do so, however, please spare a thought for others who may not have the good fortune of health, family, friends, and finances.

I have spent a good part of the last nine months working on the Torbay Community Helpline, alongside an army of volunteers who have generously given up their time to take phone inquiries, collect prescriptions, shopping, food parcels, make befriending calls, find furniture, plus many other activities to keep the community of Torbay connected.

The nature of requests has changed, from loo rolls and shopping, to the more recent emphasis on mental and financial health, and foodbank requests from families and individuals. 

While the resilience of many has become apparent, what has really struck me is the need for connection, and people calling are so very pleased to have the opportunity to chat.

I regularly pop by and say hello to an elderly lady in her 90s who is profoundly deaf.  She hasn’t been out since before the first lockdown, and is now very scared about the world outside.

Yesterday, while processing a foodbank request, I spoke with someone who told me that during their adult life they had never spent Christmas Day with anyone or received a Christmas card... this struck me deeply, as either of these people may live around the corner from me or you.

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I also spoke with a parent struggling with the thought of Christmas for their five year old with no food or presents. 

They found standing at the school gates listening to other parents discussing their festive plans upsetting.

If like me, you are affected by any of these situations happening here in Torbay,  please take action.

Your smile and kind words or actions could make a big difference, and it is needed more this year than ever.

If, however, you need help or support over the Christmas period, the helpline is open between the hours of 10am to 2pm  from Monday to Thursday next week and back the week after (weekdays 10am to 6pm and Saturday, 9.30am to 12.30pm) on 01803 446022.