Across Torbay is a wealth of talent just waiting to be tapped into, a series of events needing people to go to them and a whole host of organisations offering and wanting help.
Run by Torbay Community Development Trust using Made Open's tech, Torbay Together is a social networking platform that leads to community action. It's a simple concept – all those conversations, events, opportunities and social groups that are posted on national or global platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Do It or Instagram, to name a few, are channelled instead onto one platform specific to Torbay and surrounding neighbourhoods. A platform for friends across the Bay.
Torbay Together is a place where people can exchange ideas, skills, information and knowledge in pursuit of answers to their own day-to-day challenges. Members can use the platform to meet new friends and make positive connections, earn time credits and connect with a whole variety of support services, social groups and volunteering opportunities.
Community builders from TorbayCDT meanwhile use timebanking to help people change their neighbourhoods into the positive places they would like them to be. The platform's licence is part-funded by the Ageing Well Torbay programme whose aim is to reconnect people to their communities and reduce social isolation amongst the 50+ generation.
To date, Torbay Together has amassed 950 new members who have earned 11,000 time credits (equivalent to 293 working weeks). It is, as Simon Sherbersky describes it, "the missing bit of the jigsaw". And that's why, from a base of 1,500 people, timebanking has helped the Trust to evidence the following key indicators:
- ✔ Self-reported loneliness has reduced from 59% to 29%;
- ✔ Social interaction has increased by 10%;
- ✔ Befriending has increased from 23% to 36%;
- ✔ Problems with mobility have reduced from 70% to 54%;
- ✔ GP visits have been halved;
- ✔ Hospital admittance is down by 60%;
- ✔ Extreme anxiety and depression is down from 20% to 8%.
Whilst many software solutions support a clinical system whereby healthcare professionals provide a well-being service to their 'patients', Made Open puts the tools directly into the hands of communities themselves. This enables supporting organisations like TorbayCDT, and in future their partners too, to raise the bar in terms of how they support people who are isolated in one way or another. Torbay Together lets people make a difference to themselves and others in their community.