Real Help for Torbay's Homeless

(Last Updated On: July 15, 2018)

Healthwatch Torbay’s survey of young people’s views about life in Torbay – what they love, what they’d change – is well under way, with Torquay Academy’s students, for example, completing well over 400 questionnaires.

So far we’ve received lots of very interesting feedback, and there’s still time for others to share their own local experiences. We’ll be attending lots of events in the coming weeks to gather feedback, but if you’d like to fill the survey out online or want further information, please visit

Lots of local people are particularly concerned about their environment, with many – including a group I chatted to walking from Teignmouth to Dawlish the other day – commenting on what they see as the rather run-down appearance of Torquay in particular.

One cause for concern I keep hearing from young and old is the high number of, in their words, ‘beggars’ on the street. (Some use the less PC term, ‘druggies.)

With that in mind, it’s good to hear about a Torquay project spearheaded by local businesses aiming at helping the homeless while avoiding simply handing over cash without knowing where it might end up. Dot’s Pantry’s John Docherty spoke about it on Radio Devon this morning, telling us that the idea is that people can donate in shops where there will be collection tins, the money going to provide genuine help for those genuinely in need.

Seems a great idea to me.

Bob Jope Healthwatch Torbay

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!