Safe spaces and buddy scheme for Torbay's shielding residents

Shielding at Hollicombe Park.JPG
(Last Updated On: August 17, 2020)
Hollicombe Park, Torbay Road, Paignton
Parks and tourist attractions across the Bay are being used as safe spaces in a unique scheme to help vulnerable people emerge from shielding in a safe and controlled way.

Government support for the most vulnerable people who have been self-isolating since the start of lockdown ended at the beginning of August, but some people are still reluctant to emerge.

Callers to the Torbay Community Helpline have said that although the restrictions have lifted, they would prefer not to return to normal routines until a vaccine is available.

In what is believed to be the only scheme of its type, parks, gardens and some tourist attractions are opening across the Bay, at set times, exclusively for people who are shielding.

Where appropriate the venues are carrying out deep cleans in the hours before opening with stewards on hand to ensure that only vulnerable people and their carers are allowed in.

Community Builders and volunteers have also set up a buddy scheme to accompany those who are worried about leaving their homes for the first time in five months.

Tracey Cabache, Torbay Community Development Trust’s community development manager, said: “From the conversations we are having it is clear that some people do not want to risk going out in public and are afraid to go into shops.”

“Having safe spaces in beautiful settings across the Bay will hopefully allow those that want to get out, but want to remain careful, the opportunity do so.”

“Others are ready to take those first steps, but would need just a little more confidence, which our buddy system is there to provide.”

For a full list of the venues and the hours of opening, go to: or call the Torbay Community Helpline 01803 446022



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!