Torbay Assembly, back in action

By Jess Slade, Participation Development Lead

The Torbay Assembly (formerly known as the Torbay Over Fifties Assembly, or TOFA for short) is now back in full flow. Our Action Group are finding practical opportunities for members to be involved and ensure the voices of Torbay residents are heard.

A lot has been going on behind the scenes during the pandemic – assembly members have been supporting the Torbay Community Helpline (01803 446022), volunteering as Call Handlers, Telephone Befrienders and matched up in local communities with vulnerable individuals, to support people with practical tasks and emotional support.

The Assembly Action Group have also pulled together an Action Plan regarding an Age-Friendly Torbay, using the learning and contributions from the Ageing Well Torbay programme, and feedback from our Assembly members Pre-Covid. This, as part of an official application, was submitted to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to become an Age-Friendly Area, and the good news is that application has been accepted.  Fantastic news for Torbay. If you want further information, to see the full Action Plan, or discuss any particular areas of interest, please see our contact details at the end.

We have also updated our Vision, Mission, and Purpose:

Our Vision 

For the People of Torbay, by the People of Torbay.

The Mission of the Assembly is to be the inclusive, respected, and independent voice of all Torbay residents which consults, informs, and drives the strategy, planning, and delivery of voluntary, statutory, and commercial services, ensuring that Torbay is indeed a happy, healthy, and prosperous place to live, work, retire and thrive.

The Purpose of the Assembly in a timely, transparent, and effective manner is to:

  • Communicate clearly and regularly with Assembly members
  • Ensure members comments and concerns are always heard
  • Provide the conduit between Torbay residents and service providers by maintaining representation on Torbay’s decision-making bodies.
  • Drive the Age-friendly agenda (alongside the Child and family-friendly agenda)
  • Ensure the embedding of the Positive Ageing Charter
  • Encourage active and effective membership of the Assembly

Our Action Group are very keen to engage with you, the people of Torbay, regarding any themes or areas of interest.

Here are several updates you should be aware of:

First, Torbay Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board brings together statutory and third sector providers, so that they can measure and monitor the health and wellbeing of people in the bay, to plan strategically and make improvements of services for us all. The Assembly is pleased to have now established representation on this Board by gaining seats, as it is influential and impacts on all our lives, where we can contribute the voice of our members and the wider residents of Torbay.

Second, every year the local Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, publishes an Annual Report on a selected topic of key importance to Torbay.  This year, he is focussing on mental health, which was already a major concern pre-lockdown, and has escalated to catastrophic levels post-lockdown.  The Assembly was pleased that it was invited to contribute to this report and give its feedback on these two questions: Why mental health is important to us as individuals and communities, and What should be our priorities within the Bay? We would like to ask you if have any comments or thoughts about this as residents of Torbay.

And Finally, a new initiative called the Optimal Ageing programme is about to land in the Bay in the next couple of months. The brainchild of Professor Sir Muir Gray, the purpose is to inspire us all as individuals to get involved with Living Longer Better. The aim of the Optimal Ageing programme is to help you lead a life that is full and rewarding, for as long as possible.  Does this sound familiar?  As the Assembly, we are keen to involve our membership in how this develops.

It’s probably just what we need to get ourselves going again after these lockdowns, to be inspired and the opportunity for some meaningful engagement on how this is developed within our community.

If you would like more information or to feedback regarding any of the above to the Torbay Assembly, or would like to become a member, please contact Jess Slade by either emailing:, or calling 07772023170.

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