Who are Newquay Purple Angels?
At the end of last year, we had the pleasure of meeting Lynn – the Newquay Purple Angels ambassador. Purple Angels is a campaign that aims to create more dementia aware communities. Lynn and the other ambassadors bring businesses on board by educating them and their staff about dementia and how we can all be more supportive to those living with the condition. Dementia is a condition that we hold very close to our hearts, so we were keen to get involved.
Dementia and the Purple Angels campaign
What is dementia?
Dementia is the collective term for a whole array of progressive conditions that affect the nerve cells in the brain. The four most common types are Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies, but there are more than 200 types in total. Although common amongst over 65s, dementia can affect people of all ages. We were shocked when Lynn told us that one of the youngest people living with dementia was only two years old.
There are many symptoms of dementia, often differing between individuals. Common symptoms include memory problems, loss of cognitive abilities and difficulty communicating. One of the most difficult aspects of dementia is the progressive nature of the condition, often leaving those living with it confused and frustrated by being unable to perform tasks that were once easy.
By 2021, there are estimated to be over one million people living with dementia in the UK. It makes sense to make our communities more inclusive.
What does the Purple Angels campaign do?
Purple Angels Global is a campaign that help create more dementia-inclusive communities across the world. The prime goal of Purple Angels is to educate businesses and their staff about dementia, and how to make life more enjoyable for those living with the condition.
We met Lynn at a coffee shop where she spent a little while running through some facts about dementia. However we learnt the most from Lynn’s personal stories of people in her life who are living with the condition. Lynn delivers information with the perfect mix of seriousness and humour, with her passion for the cause clear to see. Lynn taught us how to make situations more pleasant for those living with dementia- both at work or in day to day life. This could be something as easy as offering someone who is struggling to find something with help looking, or simply being a friendly face for somebody who is lost. Our chat with Lynn really has helped us to see the condition in a whole new light.
Purple Angels also provides free MP3 players for those living with dementia. Musical memories have proven to be accessible at almost all stages as the condition progresses. Listening to a selection of favourite songs can be a great sense of comfort and familiarity to someone with dementia. Not only do Purple Angels provide these MP3 players for free, they also load a personalised playlist of the person’s favourite songs onto them. The ambassadors of Purple Angels often organise fundraisers to help make this possible.
Building the Newquay Purple Angels website
What did we do to help?
Lynn asks for absolutely nothing from any prospective businesses other than the time required to become more educated about dementia. However after talking to Lynn, we realised we could contribute a bit more. Lynn works tirelessly to bring new businesses on, fundraise and promote all these businesses on Facebook as Purple Angels businesses. Although the Facebook page is great for showing those within the group who is on board, it isn’t helpful to others in the community or those visiting. We decided to donate a website, including a business directory and map, to Newquay Purple Angels.
Making a website dementia friendly
We wanted the website to be accessible to everyone, especially those with dementia. For those in the earlier stages of the disease, being able to look on a map or look for Purple Angels businesses before heading into town can be reassuring. After doing some research, we opted for a simple design with a clear sans-serif font and descriptive calls to action. We also ensured that text was always on a plain background and that the site was easy to navigate. Naturally, purple was our primary colour.
How you can help
Lynn is one of the most compassionate and dedicated people we have ever met. We are delighted to have given her hard work a better online presence.
If you are local to the Newquay area, we cannot recommend becoming a Purple Angels business enough. Together, we can all make the community a better place for those living with dementia. Lynn’s contact details are available on the website or the Facebook page.
If you are not a Newquay business, there are other ways you can help. You can search for your own local Purple Angels group, or do some of your own research. You could also donate to the MP3 player fund, or attend one of the fundraisers.
We hope to see more Purple Angels businesses in the future!