New people, New Respite, New Experiences.

The PROPS group of carers heading out for a day of relaxation had never met each before and so naturally it took a little time for conversations to start between the carers. Once they started to talk however, the carers began to find out a little more about each other their experiences of their personal journey’s to and with PROPS.

When we arrived at Minsteracres we were welcomed by the friendly team who provided an outline of the day’s activities; luckily all indoors because it had been raining non-stop for a few days. During the meet and greet and a welcome ‘cuppa’ and biscuit, the carers chatted to each other about what life was like for them at home. The team at Minsteracres were brilliant, they at noticed individuals who were more reserved and they purposely initiated gentle conversations with them.


Complementary therapy treatments were on the menu for all. The results of taking a little time out to focus on only the warmth and guidance of the therapist was nothing short of miraculous. I was amazed to see carers returning from their therapy visibly more relaxed.

One carer mentioned that she had never experienced complementary therapy before and was nervous because she wasn’t sure what to expect from the treatment. She added that, for a long time, she hadn’t been able to relax. This really highlighted to me how much carers put themselves after their family member and so hearing many of the carers commenting on ‘doing something for themselves’ was moving.

The discussions about the therapies were all wonderfully positive and the group became more relaxed and even the most reluctant carers began to open up.


Leading into lunch, the meditation was a lovely experience that relaxed everyone even more. It was a useful way to show that being still and present for a few moments can be hugely effective and beneficial when life is chaotic.

Lunch was fantastic and the chef did a wonderful job. On the menu for our day was fish, chips and peas with home-made Tartar sauce. A vegetarian option of roasted Moroccan spiced vegetables with mini vegetable samosas was also available.

Time to be Creative

The cheery disposition of all of the staff at Minsteracres was infectious and really contributed to the group relaxing further.

After lunch everybody had fun making room sprays using essential oils and some very touching conversations began with everyone supporting one another offering lots of useful suggestions and affirming points of view.

As the carers started to get to know each other more, and they were feeling relaxed after such a soothing day, some tears were shed as more experiences were shared. It was lovely to witness and be a part of the valuable words of comfort and support from the carers towards each other.

During the day I came to realise that not everybody on the respite break had been involved in groups at PROPS before. I hope that the positive experience they had will encourage them to participate in PROPS CRAFT and peer support groups in the future, and indeed other respite activities.

What a turn-around on the return trip. Everyone seemed jovial and definitely relaxed. Everyone was keen to return to Minsteracres on future trips and the carers were all incredibly grateful and happy to have been invited today.

Lasting Thoughts of PROPS Respite Day

On reflection, Minsteracres is a valuable resource that provides much needed relaxation and a calming experience for respite from the carer’s daily challenges. The staff are all fantastic, and the beautiful calm surroundings are a treat for the senses too.

Deborah RossPROPS Volunteer Family Intervention Worker