GROWING WELL Creating Hope, Transforming Lives

Mary Houston profile

Project by Mary Houston

GROWING WELL Creating Hope, Transforming Lives

Mary Houston profile

Project by Mary Houston

Always on

£36,455

raised in 94 days

324

supporters

Help us to secure the future of our farm-based mental health charity so we can continue to assist people in need of this vital lifeline

New stretch target

We've been overwhelmed by the support for our campaign, hitting our £25,000 Crowdfunder target with more than a week to spare. Thank you to everyone who has donated! We were cautious in setting our target but our appeal is going towards bridging a £60,000 funding gap this year, so we are stretching our Crowdfunder target to £35,000 in the hope that we can raise another £10,000 in our final week. This extra money will make a huge difference to securing our future so we can grow and thrive and help even more people!


HELP OUR GROWING COMMUNITY TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE The need has never been greater for our unique mental health service. We offer a holistic approach to mental health recovery through activity, training and support at our six-acre organic fruit and veg farm in South Lakeland.

We need £25,000 to address an urgent funding gap so that we can help all of the people in our area who need our immediate support.

We provide a lifeline to so many people already and that’s why its so important that we are able to keep going. Our volunteers tell us that we have the ability to rebuild and save lives. We know that now, in spite of public cuts to our funding, a growing number of people need our help.

We inspire people to find ways to improve their physical and mental health, and continue this independently. There's also the opportunity to develop and practice life skills. and achieve formal qualifications, to help people start or return to work.

We’ve become such a valuable part of people’s lives. They come here to socialise again, sometimes after long periods of isolation and loneliness. We empower people from all walks of life to join in, help each other and build hope for the future.

We’re aiming to raise at least £25,000. This money will secure our future and enable us to help the growing number of people in our community who can’t easily access the support they need anywhere else. Our six-acre plot only generates around one sixth of the £300,000 income needed to provide our specialist support to our volunteers so fundraising is essential. 

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What We'll Do With The Funding

 All money raised will:

- continue to fund our dedicated staff in growing, volunteer support and occupational therapy for the remainder of the year;

- help more people who need our unique service;

- cover essential, capital expenditure to maintain the volunteer experience and ensure we can continue to help people from as far and wide as we currently do.

£10 could pay for lunches for 5 volunteers, 2 pairs of gloves or daily fuel for our minibus.

£20 could plant one 70-metre row of potatoes. Or it could pay for a volunteer's regular one-hour support session with our Occupational Therapist, or a pair of workboots for one of our volunteers

£50 could pay for a hot lunch for all our volunteers for one day, the weekly fuel bill for our minibus, or pay our monthly bill for repair or replacement of our tools.

£100 could pay our monthly electricity bill, fund a morning's cooking and training in our catering unit, or pay for all our tomato seeds for a year.

£200 could fund a Return to Work activity for up to 8 volunteers. It could pay our firewood bill for a year, or fund the growing and support staff we provide for a morning session on the field for our volunteers.

£500 could buy seed potatoes for twenty five 70-metre rows - our annual crop, or it could fuel our tractor for a year, pay for all our training materials, or for all our Soil Association organic standards certification.

£1,000 - Give A Day to Growing Well!  £1,000 could pay for all our specialist support and running costs of our charity for one day. It could pay all our annual bill for boots, waterproofs and gloves for all our volunteers, or pay all our rent and utilities bills for a month.

£2,000 could pay for all the water we use on our field and in the polytunnels, or our accreditation fees as a horticultural training centre.

£5,000 could pay for a volunteer to attend Growing Well for one day a week for a year. It could buy us a new polytunnel or pay all our seed costs for a year - resulting in our annual crop worth more than £50,000.

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Our Impact

Every year we survey our volunteers. 

100% of respondents felt that Growing Well has helped them achieve or work towards their goals.

This is what some of our volunteers said at the end of 2018 about how Growing Well has helped them, and what they like about Growing Well:

  • 'Gives me a reason to get out of bed. Gives my day structure. I feel less isolated. I enjoy working as part of a team.'
  • 'Growing Well has helped me to build up the confidence to start attending college again with the goal of eventually moving on to uni.'
  • 'Chance to be myself and feel that is enough.'
  • 'It's given me a start – a template for life.'
  • 'Having a structured day that keeps me occupied without me having to do it on my own.'
  • 'It's just so good to get away from home/town. Great to do something active and physical. Makes me feel included and involved.'
  • 'Forming good connections with people at Growing Well has helped me work through food issues. I can now eat in front of other people which I couldn't do when I started.'
  • 'It's such an open and understanding group of people who are really supportive and open about their own experiences with mental health.'
  • 'The support is amazing. Nobody judges.'

Sarah's story

‘I didn’t want to live. Thanks to Growing Well I spring into work’

Sarah Hill came to Growing Well as a volunteer. Now she’s Catering Manager and helping others recover and learn new skills at Growing Well. She spoke to Kendal-based broadcaster Caz Graham for a recent episode of Radio 4's On Your Farm. Listen to the programme here.

'I worked in the medical field, at BAE Systems as an occupational health practise manager, and before that I did 23 years in the RAF.

'I basically had a nervous breakdown, was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, and unfortunately I just totally isolated myself, tried to commit suicide, I just didn’t want to live.

'I thought I was useless, worthless, didn’t want to be here. I lost my daughter as a result of it – she’s now back home, thankfully – which is as a result of all the help and support that I’ve had whilst I’ve been on this journey at Growing Well.

'When I first came here I didn’t want to walk up the path. I was so nervous because I didn’t want to socialise with anybody and I certainly didn’t want to be present in meetings because that brought flashbacks and severe anxiety for me.

'But now I kind of spring into work because it’s something that I love. I love helping other people with their mental health journey as well. Lunchtime is the social hub. It gives the volunteers the opportunity to all get together, and discuss not only the food, but around their own mental health journey and the healing.'

Sally's story

'Growing Well has brought me back to life'

Sally Ineson, featured in our Crowdfunder video at the top of this page, came to Growing Well after losing her son Ben in a road traffic accident 10 years ago. She spoke to Kendal-based broadcaster Caz Graham for a recent episode of Radio 4's On Your Farm. Listen to the programme here.

‘The gladness of my life became a sadness. After we lost Ben I was able to go to back to work, but I was just running on adrenalin and all of a sudden I came to a full stop, and I got shut in this black box of depression.

‘But then I was introduced to Growing Well. It’s like your soul is a vulnerable seed and through this cycle of sowing vulnerable seeds, watching the cycle of the seeds growing into vegetables and fruit and salads it’s grown my inner soul back, to where life is gladness again.

‘Growing Well has helped me on this journey of grief and bereavement, through actually getting your hands in the muck, and the camaraderie of the volunteers.

‘You go home at the end of the day feeling satisfied that you have done something. When you see the vegetables and the fruit harvested, selling it on, that gives you a really big wow factor.  You think wow, Growing Well, and everyone that’s here, we’ve produced this food for people, and it’s just given me that joie de vivre, of coming back to life.

‘It’s a rollercoaster journey. It will always be with me, but now, this very minute now I can say Ben’s sitting here on the tractor with me, saying ‘go on mum, well done mum.’

‘I can’t say enough how Growing Well has really brought me back to life.’

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Find out More

Through this Crowdfunder campaign we want to let many thousands more hear our message and understand our work, to make more friends, enlist more long-term supporters and corporate partners.

If you've made a one-off donation to this Crowdfunder campaign but want to get more involved with supporting Growing Well on a long-term basis then please get in touch at mary@growingwell.co.uk

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