Penny’s Blog – Can a Cake say more than we think?

It is vital that we continue to challenge the stigma, misconceptions and stereotypical images around Mental Health and enable people to speak out about their experiences, find the support they need and get on with leading an independent life with the same opportunities as everyone else.

Today I am catching up with Ren who has set up the Back on the Radar group for young people who are feeling isolated and want to talk to others in a similar situation..

Ren 21, set up the group after experiencing for herself that it was difficult for her to find somewhere where she could communicate with others her own age around Mental Health when she needed it.

Later diagnosed with Agoraphobia, Ren just wanted to talk to people in a similar situation.

Ren valued the online support she had with many others going through the same experience but felt that having somewhere to go and meet others face to face could be beneficial and so began “Back on the Radar”.

“As cheesy as it sounds, you are not alone, there are people who are there and you are worth the help. When you’re young and going through this, it feels like your life is over before it’s really started. Agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, as well as countless other physical health issues hinders our chances of getting a fair start in life, and those people do not deserve to suffer in silence. Just getting to hear other young people’s stories further helps to prove that we are out there, and we are valid and deserve to be helped. The idea of being able to create a safe space for us to chat or even meet could be the very thing needed to help those suffering to want to make a change.”

To read more about Ren and the beginnings of Back on the Radar then read:

To join the group search ‘Back on the Radar’ on Facebook, or email

Sing your Heart Out

Now a real treat for you all as I am about to sing….. No keep reading…. Only joking well sort of!

This week I received the new Press Release and dates for the latest addition to the very successful award winning Sing Your Heart Out workshops.

As well as Norwich, Attleborough, Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth they are launching their new season in Sheringham following the success of a pilot there early this year.

If you have never been to one of their workshops then you should go along and I guarantee you will come out feeling more positive and with a smile on your face, and not just from the chocolate biscuits they have in the break.

You don’t have to be able to sing or read music, you can just be yourself and join in, in whatever way suits you and I bet you will be smiling and laughing in an instant.

The songs are easy to pick up. They cover pop, spiritual and a wide range of music from around the world. Although being blind I can’t read the words on the sheet, I usually manage to get most of the words right – either that or everyone else gets them wrong.

It’s like when you are listening to a record and don’t quite know what the words are. You sing what the words sound like, only to find out what they really are later on- which is usually a source of amusement.

My previous guide dog Betty used to love the sessions and would be found chilled out with all four legs in the air at the front of the group. People would start laughing and I would think… Oh Betty’s doing her party piece again!

I shall be off to one of the Sheringham workshops in September so we will see how Winnie behaves.

So why not join us, just follow the link below and we will see you there:

Please see Full details and list of term dates on

Sing Your Heart Out LogoPicture from Sing Your Heart Out meeting

A bit of cake

Now as promised I will of course find a way to bring cake into the conversation….

A couple of years ago I was doing a project around Mental Health in rural communities. Part of which was around raising awareness and challenging some of those misconceptions and stereotypes. During this work someone came in with a “depressed cake”.

No I didn’t know what one was either but they were taking it to an event to make people think more about those living with Mental Health.

The cake is completely grey on the outside – depicting that this is the way people can view those living with Mental Ill Health as though their lives are dull and drab…

But cut into the cake and you find an array of different coloured layers – which represent the person inside, a person who has plans, dreams, skills, interests, families etc.

So don’t just look at someone and put them into a box. Get to know them and you will find not only are they colourful,  but they will make your world more colourful too!!!


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