A Plymouth based foster carer is about to make her mark on the world

    Susan Clements-Loftus believes her invention - the ZenCube - is her way of "giving back" after years of being a foster carer

    Plymouth based foster carer Susan Clements-Loftus proves that life stage and care responsibilities needn’t be a barrier to achieving personal goals and making a positive mark on the world as ZenCube invention is launched.

    The demands of an ‘always on’ modern world can make it harder than ever to take time out in order to maintain health and well-being.

    Having cared for 15 children needing a safe and loving foster family home in as many years for the National Fostering Agency, as well as experiencing a mental health related family tragedy during this time, Susan has gained a vast amount of knowledge on the impact of early-life trauma and the importance of self-care.

    This has led to the creation of The ZenCube, which is a therapeutic, nature-focused private space that she hopes will make a significant difference to those who are experiencing, or wish to help prevent, symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression.

    Each person entering The ZenCube, which has since been adapted to work in environments as wide-ranging as indoor office spaces to outdoor lodging retreats, becomes immersed in a relaxation room appealing to all five senses; including calming sounds, herbal teas and natural fibre throws.

    The initial concept for The ZenCube arrived during Susan’s second year of studying Interior Design at Plymouth College of Art, which she completed while fostering 14-year-old Callum, as well as still having her teenage son and daughter living at home.

    Commenting on how she was able to organise her life during this time, Susan said: “There were times when it was really hard, but sometimes I would just take Callum down to college with me and he always enjoyed that because he was then exposed to all the interesting and creative things that are going on there.

    “Callum is very much involved with everything that goes on - all the children are. When I first came up with the concept of The ZenCube, he came down and helped while we built it, as he’d always been in and out of the college for the three years with me anyway, so he’s definitely been on the journey."

    After a crowdfunding effort to allow expansion of her idea, Susan has received notable interest from businesses across South West England, with a Crowdfunder installed last month at The C Space in Newquay overlooking Fistral Bay.

    She also has an upcoming showcase of The ZenCube planned for John Lewis in Exeter from Monday 27 January until Saturday 22 February.

    When considering how her work ethic has rubbed off on Callum and her children, Susan concludes: “I think it’s really important that my children and any young people in fostering households are able to see that you can achieve things like this at various points of your life."

    The National Fostering Group is the fostering division of NFA Group, the leading children’s services provider in the UK – with two decades of experience in providing high-quality foster care, educational and residential to vulnerable children and young people.

    You can find out more about fostering and the NFA here.

    Listen to Susan and Sharon Woodhams - who's from the National Fostering Agency - chat more about the ZenCube and the NFA:

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