St Luke’s Road Residents’ Association was formed in June 2013 by Pauline Baker and Julie Brandon, two local residents who wanted to improve community adhesion. They formed a committee which established three guiding principles, as follows: by ensuring the area in and around St Luke’s Road, together with the roads leading off it, are maintained and well looked after, and to ensure the residents views are represented in any major decisions needed (planning or otherwise) concerning the St Luke’s area, and in dealing with these issues to help build a stronger community spirit in the area. Since that start, we now have a committed and helpful membership of local residents but always hope for more!
We do not have a strategic plan as such, but respond to items that are important to residents which includes dealing and mitigating anti social behaviour and planning applications that could affect our residents, The SLRA came into particular focus during lockdowns when the members rallied around to do the all important regular shopping runs for those deemed too frail to be out in the community. There was a weekly Zoom quiz which really tested the brains and memories of our members and reinforced the community spirit. Thankfully ,now that normal times have resumed, we again hold annual tidy up days, where our members get out their trowels and brooms to clear the pavements and roads of weeds and litter, which helps keep the area looking tidy.
The SLRA has a number of annual events, which last year included a Jubilee Picnic which, with their kind permission was held in the communal grounds of Waldon Point, one of the larger sites in our area. We are fortunate to be allowed to hire their communal meeting room where we hold our AGM, along with other social gatherings during the year. One cold evening in December last year we also held an outdoor carol singing event in the Waldon Point garden which was well attended despite the extremely cold weather, so obviously the promise of warm mulled wine and mince pies worked wonders!
One of the major ways I recently started to support my neighbours and SLRA members is by volunteering to drive the number 61 bus (please note this these are Nancy’s words, not mine!). There are now two of us from SLRA who regularly volunteer to do this on a weekly basis: Andy Baker, who has been driving the bus for several years now, and myself, who because I was trained by him consider myself to be Andy’s apprentice! (again, Nancy’s words!) Number 61 is a community bus that runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This bus runs on an hourly schedule and collects passengers from St Luke’s Road, North and South, and then drives down to Torquay library, which is currently a warm space arranged by Torbay Council, then down through Union Street into Fleet Walk, around the harbour and up to Livermead and back. If you have a bus pass the journey is free, but for others it costs around £1.50 for the trip down to Torquay town, and another £1.50 across to Livermead. It is very well used, and in my short time of helping out have found it to be a little bit like a social club on wheels! It is a very good way of getting to know local neighbours, so much so, that Ceri is currently leading a discussion with Torbay Council to check the feasibility of running the bus along Warren Road, in order to widen the catchment area. It would be interesting to see a show of hands of people here tonight who might be interested in using the bus if this extension to the service was trialled.
Finally, we are very happy to be included in THE POINT TORQUAY website and are happy to continue the dialogue in future in order that both Melville and St Luke’s become really good neighbours and joint hubs of friendly communities where we are all proud to live.
Nancy Kavanagh – Chair of St Luke’s Residents Association