Purple Umbrella

A community based enterprise run by and for people with disabilities and their families

Purple Umbrella is a new and exciting voluntary organisation for people with disabilities, their families and support staff who are looking for more meaningful daytime activities and personalised quality care and support.  We are set up particularly to support people with higher level needs, who require one to one support, their families and staff members.    Our philosophy is that all our members should have opportunities to lead full and active lives as individuals, and that whether you are a PA/support worker, a family member or carer or the person supported, we are all in a better place with mutual help and support from our peers. 

Our board members are all local people with a passion for good support and are

Tess Reddington, Chair,  Parent Carer
Jane Greenwood, Secretary, Parent Carer
Anja Byrne, Treasurer, Health and Social Care Worker
Jan Fitzsimons, Board Member, Development Worker
Sandra Kershaw, Board Member, Health and Social Care Worker
Claire Cooper, Board Member,  Teacher


Here at Purple Umbrella, we support each person, regardless of level of ability or disability, to join in, make friends and feel included.  Some groups are just for fun or exercise; others provide opportunities to learn new skills or volunteer.  Staff and family members too have opportunities for training and developing and together we share best practice. The people we support generally need space and time to settle in, and to be listened to, so groups are small and activities are designed with each person in mind. Before you attend for the first time, we will come and meet with you to talk about what you want to achieve and how you are best supported.

Purple Umbrella’s mission is to enable people who access direct payments and who have quite substantial or specific unmet support needs  to lead a full and active life in their community.  We do so by providing meaningful daytime activities and opportunities for new experiences, and by ensuring well-trained and motivated staff are always available to support them

We have Vacancies for Sessional Coach, Tutors and Support Staff:

Are you passionate about good support and helping people to be the best they can be? If you would like to help us grow our organisation and make a difference to people’s lives, get in touch. We are looking for

  • Coach/tutor to run and develop our physical activites programme. The group meets weekly at Abbey Lane Playing Fields in Burscough for 2 hours on Thursday afternoons, and there will be occasional longer trips out to lead. Our client group have significant and varied health needs and the job will include liaising with families, support staff and professionals to ensure the best of support and a valuable experience for all our group members.
  • Art Tutor, to lead our group to produce Awesome Art and to develop saleable products that will help to fund the group in the future. Meeting on Weds afternoons, twice per month at the Ecumenical Centre.
  • Enthusiastic and energetic Support Assistants, to support our tutors/group leaders and to help ensure that everyone is fully involved and getting the most out of the group.


Our Art Competition is now closed and choosing one Winner has proved incredibly difficult. With the help of a graphic artist, the designs have been used to create greeting cards which can be sold to help the group fund itself. Our range of cards will be available soon to buy, and this is a great way you can support our work. Group size is small so that each person can be properly supported to fully engage, make friends and get the most from the sessions. Activities are tailored to each person’s ability and interests. Sessions will start soon at the Ecumenical Centre in Skelmersdale. If you think it might be for you, please in touch.

Purple Umbrella is also looking for a tutor artist to join our small team and support our group. See details above.


For many people, isolation is having a severely detrimental effect on health, and our group may be particularly vulnerable.  With careful planning and covid-safe policy in place, we meet each week either in Abbey Lane Playing Fields in Burscough or locally for an active day out, to help keep us fit and healthy both mentally and physically.


Fitness Programme

Come and join us to keep fit and healthy. 

Our weekly socially distanced sessions are for individuals with complex disabilities, and include activities such as chair yoga, jenga, bowls, ring toss, walks (weather permitting) and a monthly dance exercise and disco.

Sessions take place from 2 to 4 pm on Thursdays. Get in touch for details.

Please bring your own support & face covering.We can also provide visors if needed.All venues will be thoroughly disinfected and a strict infection control policy is in place to keep you safe.  Any questions please email us at sandraanja21@gmail.comOr Telephone; Sandra – 07758 079709 or Anja – 07914 842506.

Please bring your own support & face covering. We can also provide visors if needed. All venues will be thoroughly disinfected and a strict infection control policy is in place to keep you safe.  

For more information, please email us at sandraanja21@gmail.com Or Telephone Sandra – 07758 079709 or Anja – 07914 842506.


(Key Word Signing and Electronic Speech Support) 

This group is for you if you use key word signing,  either Makaton or Signalong, or you may use an electronic speech aid to help with communication.   Whether you use any form of AAC yourself, or you are a support worker/ PA or family member wishing to develop your skills, join us for a fun and friendly session where everyone learns together.  We meet monthly either in person or via Zoom.


A disability needn’t stop you making plans and enjoying yourself.  Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to do, you can bet there is someone else who wants to do that too, and you can be sure it will be more fun, and probably less cost, if you buddy up!  

Current Opportunities

  • Buddy up with 1 or 2 members and their support staff for weekly swimming in private pool
  • Join us to plan big days out to look forward to when times are better
  • Fancy Coffee and Cake, or a gentle walk in the park: get in touch to arrange a meet-up with other members, and make friends


Working as a personal assistant (PA) can be a very rewarding career and there are lots of opportunities to progress.

As a PA you’ll work directly with one individual to support them with various aspects of their daily life. This would usually be in their own home, in the community, at leisure or at work, including join in with Purple Umbrella daytime activities.  Working 1:1, you get a chance to understand and know how best to support that person, and so you can make a real difference to their lives.   Working for a small service doesn’t mean that there is no support. Its likely that support will be just as good or better than working in a large organisation: Staff working for our members share activities and help each other with opportunities for training and mentoring and take pride in being part of a group of professional caring people who look out for each other.  By working together, we can all do a better job.

If you’re interested in becoming a PA, we shall be delighted to hear from you.

Members can advertise their vacancies for free here. See current vacancies here


We are grateful to our funders without whom we would be unable to operate

  • Peter Lathom Charitable Trust
  • Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund
  • Communication Matters
  • WLBC Community Chest
  • Active Lancashire


Each person who joins us is unique, and for some people, settling in to meet new friends is a big step that takes time and careful planning, for both the person and for their family.  

Call or email for an informal chat about what you are looking for and what we can offer.  The next step is a visit to ask about how best to support you and what you would like to do.  That way you can know us a little and vice-versa.  

When you are ready our Membership Form is available here.   Membership is a nominal £5 per year.   

Anja Byrne170 Falkirk Grove, WiganWN5 9XUTel 07914 842506
Tess Reddington172 Bescar Brow Lane,Scarisbric, OrmskirkL40 9QHTel 01704 880971
Jane GreenwoodBriars Lane, BurscoughL40 5TGTel 07966 445812

Tel: 01704 880971 or 07518 347559                               

Email: Contact@purpleumbrella.org.uk


We take all complaints and comments extremely seriously.  You can be assured that all such communications will be discussed at board level and a response will be provided at the first opportunity.   Please address your comments to Tess Reddington who is Chairperson.  07518347559 or contact@purpleumbrella.org.uk.  You can also use the contact form here on the website.   If you wish to discuss a safeguarding issue, please contact Sandra Kershaw, 07758079709 or email sandracstaff@gmail.com

sandracstaff@gmail.com who has responsibility for safeguarding.