Promas – supporting carers in Cornwall

Time to introduce a guest blogger…or two. Bernie DeLord and Jenny Tarvit are the Directors of Promas, a Community Interest Company in Cornwall. They created it to provide vital support to unpaid carers in the county, offering advice, skills development and knowledge through free courses.  Here they talk about how it began, how they are continuing to support through the pandemic and exciting future plans:

support is vital for carers to experience good health

Promas CIC started in 2013 after identifying a need for support for carers in Cornwall and for the past two years, in partnership with Devon Carers, we have extended our face to face courses into Devon to give carers there the opportunity to attend our training.

It all began with a pilot programme of courses which proved extremely helpful to carers and provided much needed evidence that this was essential support. A successful lottery grant meant we could start a programme and suitable courses were identified through consultation with carers. The most exciting thing about the grant was finally being able to get an office and move out of Bernie’s front room and gain Admin support!!

The organisation supports carers through free face to face courses, social events, and online courses. Participants have shared their stories with us and helped us to develop even more services by sharing what they need and participating in our research.

Since March and Covid 19 we have introduced a helpline, developed our online courses (dementia online courses coming soon!) and are running many courses on Zoom.

We have also been talking to people who do not enjoy Zoom or online and trialing one-to-one sessions by telephone starting in November through to December. Carers can choose the course they want to do, pick three dates and three times. We realise the difficulties they experience so want to support them in a variety of ways.

Starting in February 2021 we are running a new activities project for carers who are isolated and/or lonely to help them make connections in their communities.  This will enable them to take part in regular activities be it photography, walking, tai chi or swimming or attending a support group on a weekly or fortnightly basis. This will give people the opportunity to be with other carers and have fun, relax and take part in activity of their choice.

Jenny and Bernie,

You can find out more about Promas courses on their website:

email: Telephone helpline: 01736 339226

mobile: 07775 756457 or 07435 870587


Mandalas – Batteries for the Brain

The word mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit and is the name given to geometric patterns that Buddhists have used in the practice of meditation for centuries.

Making a mandala from natural materials is an activity that enables the brain to restore its batteries.  Focusing on an activity such as this requires little attention. At least, it doesn’t require the same fixed attention as, say, making sure appointments are met or needing to remember what medication is taken and when. It helps our minds and our bodies to relax and allows time for the brain to re-charge its batteries ready for when it needs to focus on more demanding tasks.

Think of making a mandala as a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.  You can make them in one go or take time over several days, adding to it now and again. Useful if you feel you don’t have time to do one in one day; you can stretch it out and enjoy the activity over several days. Either way, the time spent in is relaxing and fun and can be done by an individual, as part of a one-to-one or group session or as a family activity. How large it becomes is entirely up to you. Here are some examples of mandalas made by carers:

If you would like to create your own mandala, just look around your garden or whilst out on a local walk for berries, leaves, twigs, grasses etc that you can use to create circular patterns as in the images above. Here’s a short speedy film to demonstrate how we make them in our sessions…although perhaps not quite as quick as this!

Wendy Brewin, Creative Spaces Project Manager

Sensory Trust


Time Out

Spending more time at home without opportunities to visit family, friends or other places has impacted on people in many ways.  For some, it is frustrating and can lead to feeling isolated, anxious, and lonely.  For others there have been unexpected benefits.  

Some people have found their attention being drawn to their own home environments, particularly their outside spaces. These have become places to revisit, to explore again, to re-connect with and see things afresh. People are enjoying the benefits of the outdoors, whether that’s breathing in fresh air, absorbing much needed vitamin D, listening to the sounds of nature, or just taking in the view.

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Empathy stones

We can all find it difficult at times to talk about feelings or thoughts, particularly if they are negative. This activity helps people to express those feelings without vocalising them. Writing words, drawing colours or images onto stones and then throwing them away can be a cathartic release of negative feelings and thoughts which, left undealt with, might otherwise create health problems. 

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Humanitas: a home with a difference

st4 copy

Guest blog by Ellie Robinson Carter

Humanitas Deventer is a world-renowned care home in Holland where students live for free to support the older people who live there. Humanitas has been praised for its forward-thinking approach to finding innovative ways of supporting older people as well as its Adelbold project which supports younger people with additional needs to gain independence and self-confidence. Continue reading


Lets go nutting!

flowers in pot on windowsill

Earlier this year we supported Katherine Hathaway with her award-winning border at BBC Gardeners World Live Show. Katherine’s design, which centred around dementia and nature was inspired by her mother’s positive reaction to a vase of sweet peas.  This got Katherine thinking;  how could plants support people living with dementia by stimulating their senses and memories? Continue reading


The nature of sleep


In the 2017 State of Caring survey 7 in 10 unpaid carers said they found it difficult to get a good night’s sleep as a result of caring. 

Everyone occasionally has a bad night’s sleep, it becomes a real health issue however when lack of proper sleep occurs on a regular basis. It can lead to issues such as poor concentration, depression and high blood pressure.

What are the causes of poor sleep?

We all know that anxious thoughts can keep you awake. Depression and mood changes Continue reading