Kev's Column: A Shop That Serves

My Second Kev's Column for the Torbay Times was published this month and covers my reasons for opening @201Torbay my new Community Campaign Centre in Torre:

The last month has been a busy one for me as I have been preparing for the opening of a shop @201Torbay, our new Community Campaign Centre, this month. 

Located in the heart of Torre’s popular shopping area the goal of this latest outlet is not to make money, but to make a difference.  A centre that has the Bay at its heart.

The format will be open and welcoming, the key being that this is not an office for a political party, but a facility we can all use. There will be information available from a range of organisations, not just a collection of political leaflets, plus facilities for filming items for the web and the opportunity to use the shop area for community or charity events.

The inspiration for this new project comes from examples like Time Out Café, Sturcombe Avenue , Paignton, where local churches are reaching out into the community.  Many voters do not identify with a particular political party in the way their Parents or Grandparents may have done. Therefore a visit to a political party office with closed blinds and piles of literature waiting to be delivered, is not an attractive prospect.

Yet single issue campaigns or organisations that champion a range of member generated issues are bigger than ever. The expansion of groups like 38 Degrees via the internet and the use of online petitions is the largest example of what can be achieved via Social Media and new technology that can rapidly spread a message.

The @201Torbay project is therefore about campaigning with the community on specific issues, whilst also allowing opportunity for engagement in political debate and activity. Some of the events we are planning include work experience days, charity fundraisers and debate nights covering local subjects, where not just my own views will be put forward.

The support so far from volunteers to get this centre up and running has been overwhelming. This tells me that it is a much needed facility in the Bay.

We are kicking things off with an open evening to welcome both local residents and businesses to @201Torbay. This is taking place at 7:30pm on Saturday 19th October at 201 Union Street.  Parking is free on the road outside and regular bus services pass through the area. Why not stop in and have a look and see for yourself?