Tips and Advice from Healthwatch Torbay

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Multi-agency group to tackle loan sharks

Organisations have come together to form The Torbay Financial Awareness Group to share information and protect individuals at risk of financial abuse and take action against the perpetrators who prey on the vulnerable and elderly.

The group which includes Torbay Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust, and Age UK, are working with the national Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).

“It’s our priority to protect communities from illegal money lending and this new partnership helps by ensuring vital information is shared between the necessary organisations and robust action is taken against unscrupulous loan sharks” said Tony Quigley, Head of IMLT.

The group has been raising awareness of the issue of illegal money lending across Torbay, providing training for frontline workers and local residents, placing banners in prominent locations and organising a social media campaign.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, you can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team on their 24-hour hotline 0300 555 2222

Time for a nice walk

You don’t have to spend lots of money to keep fit and have fund. The NHS website Get Fit for Free says, “Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more activity into your day, lose weight and become healthier. Research shows people who fit moderate activity, such as walking, into their daily life burn more energy than those who make weekly visits to the gym.

But if you fancy something a bit more demanding and a lot more fun, why not try one of the many organised walks that take place every week around Torbay and South Devon.

To whet your appetite, you could join the National Trust English Riviera group on Sunday 2nd February for their 4.5km walk which starts from Noss Marina on the Dart Estuary at 11am and takes in Longwood plantation.

Their Facebook Group recommends you book your free ticket early because demand is high. They also encourage you to bring waterproof footwear and remember dogs on leads are very welcome.

Bob Jope HEALTHWATCH TORBAY

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(Author)

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!