The community spirit lives on  

A poster advertising the The Purple Angel memory cafe in Barton Baptist Church, Torquay

The Purple Angel memory cafe is open to all - Credit: Submitted

Hi all, yes, it's true this awful pandemic has brought the best of the best out of people by helping where they can, when they can, but in my humble opinion the community spirit has always been here in Torbay.

As you know, I have been here for the best part of 23 years - and still called a grockle - after emigrating from Lancashire where the community spirit is so very strong.

But not long after moving here I soon realised that one of many reasons for moving here was just that, the community spirit in Torbay is incredible.

I know some will ask 'where?' or say 'well it used to be but not so much now' but if you just scratch the surface you really will find it alive and very much kicking.

One of our main priorities after moving here was to get involved with the local community groups and offer our help.

Up in Lancashire we were heavily involved with helping the homeless and thought we would do the same here but sadly I was diagnosed with dementia which took us down a different path but one now I am so very pleased we took.

It has been an absolute honour on my part to meet so many incredible people who work within Torbay in the community, far too many to mention, but all worth their weight in gold.

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Yes, some have their differences and, yes, we all have our own way of doing things but at the end of the day, it's all about helping each other so we can help those less fortunate than ourselves.

The Purple Angel campaign has long been about much more than dementia, but helping where and when we can.

When the memory café was open before the Covid-19 pandemic, we took the members on two or three trips a year to different places around the county and you can guarantee we could quite never fill the 50-seater coach so we always offered places to other groups around Torbay rather than take a half-empty coach, and not forgetting all came for free!

Why wouldn’t you? It’s not about us and them but about trying to improve the lives of many who live in Torbay.

Our memory cafe , which we can’t wait to open again, has always been open to anybody and not just for those with dementia.

It's open to all those who are feeling a little bit lonely and want some company as well as carers who need a couple of hours of respite or those who just want a little information about dementia.

Our café is also free to attend and includes coffee, homemade cakes, games, hobbies and some incredible entertainers who put on such a good show.

We are very proud to say we use local entertainers from around Torbay and believe me when I say there are some very talented people out there.  

We have volunteers from the police cadets and also include the schools around us who also come and volunteer some Saturday afternoons.

The sight of young ones giving their time to help at the cafe always gladdens the heart.

When open, we run from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Barton Baptist Church every Saturday except the first Saturday of the month and all costs rely on public donations.

The community spirit really is alive and well here in Torbay , please don’t forget that, and usually help is only one phone call away.