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


Q&A with Sydenham Garden; dementia, nature & outdoors

Outdoor activities at Sydenham GardenThis month we chat to Rose Pickering – dementia project lead at Sydenham Garden. Rose works to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia by incorporating nature and the outdoors.

Can you give a brief outline of what you do at Sydenham Garden and the type of people you work with?

Sydenham Garden is a unique wellbeing centre utilising its gardens, nature reserve and activity rooms to help people in their recovery from mental and physical ill-health in Lewisham, London. Continue reading


Using your garden throughout the seasons

collecting flowers at Potager garden

As autumn approaches it can often feel like the garden is winding down for the winter. While there are many clearing and pruning jobs to be done it is also important to remember that the garden and in fact any outdoor green space can be an important indicator that the seasons are changing.  Gardens provide us with a wealth of sensory experience, and when caring for people with dementia, gardens can be used Continue reading


Rainy day activities – Guest blog

Using a nature spotting postcard

Our Clays dementia friendly walking group has been up and running for almost 12 months;  they’ve done over 50 walks and have become close friends that share laughter, fun and support each other through tough times.  We’ve been lucky with the weather over the past year; only having to cancel 3 walks – much to the dismay of the group.  So with winter being so wet and damp it was time to develop a Plan B, we’ve arranged walks in locations where Continue reading


Animation project

animation filmingA few months ago we started a mini animation club for people with dementia and their carers.  We decided to use the regular walking group as inspiration and then just let things run to see what happened. We enlisted the help of Karen Hayes a librettist (she takes words and puts them into poetry, operas and much more) and she chatted and listened to members of the group as they explored some local clay landscapes as part of their weekly walks. Continue reading


Guest Blog – why walking works

walkers at bodmin beacon

This week we’re pleased to invite guest blogger TK to write about his time spent with our dementia friendly walking group.  We always enjoy welcoming members of the community along to our walks as this project is about people with dementia and their carers making new social connections and in turn showing their community that there is more to dementia than a diagnosis. Continue reading


Nature stimulates cognitive ability

Participants learn about using outdoor activities for MCST sessions


Its true, nature can stimulate cognitive functions, and we’re spreading the word.

Last month we led a training session for 8 MCST (that’s Maintaining Cognitive Stimulation Therapy) facilitators from Age UK Cornwall.  CST, or ‘Cognitive Stimulation Therapy’, is a pyschosocial treatment for people with mild to moderate dementia Continue reading