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Mental health charity Growing Well launches £25,000 appeal

Farm-based organisation reveals big funding gap for 2019

More than £8,000 was raised for the Growing Well Crowdfunder at two Summer Feasts for friends and supporters held in one of the polytunnels at the charity based at Low Sizergh Farm

Farm-based mental health charity Growing Well, near Kendal, has launched a £25,000 appeal to plug a big funding gap.

The charity, which provides a holistic approach to mental health recovery through activity, training and support at its six-acre organic fruit and veg farm at Low Sizergh, launches the eight-week ‘crowdfunding’ campaign today (TUESDAY JULY 16) at the Lakeland Book of the Year awards lunch in Kendal, as the event’s chosen charity for 2019.

Although Growing Well stresses there is no immediate threat to its future, it says the loss of Big Lottery funding and an NHS contract has put this year’s finances under severe pressure, at the same time as more and more people want to use the free service, which relies entirely on charity grants and public support.

“The need has never been greater for our unique mental health service. We need £25,000 to address an urgent funding gap, 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,” said manager Mary Houston .

“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.

“We provide a lifeline to so many people already and that’s why it’s 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.

“Mental ill health touches one in four people over their lifetime. We’re calling on the whole community to watch our video, look at the support we provide to people from all walks of life, and make a pledge, however large or small, at crowdfunder.co.uk/growingwell to support our vital work.

“It’s gratifying to see the issue of mental health having a higher profile, and beginning to be destigmatised in the workplace,” said Mary.

“We’d love businesses and offices to get involved too and hold collections and fundraising events through the summer and to channel the proceeds through our Crowdfunder page.”

The Growing Well appeal opened on the Crowdfunder website this morning with a film outlining the charity’s work and featuring people whose lives have been saved by its support.

Sally Ineson, who began volunteering at Growing Well 10 years ago after she lost her son Ben in a road traffic accident, is one of those featured.

“I managed for two years to keep on working, but I think sadness suddenly hit me and literally swept me off my feet. Sadness became depression and I just got locked in this big black box,” she said.

“I found out about Growing Well from my GP and I just thought this will be just the job being outside, and what GW’s done for me, its created that proper medium for my soul to regrow, to mend my heart.

“What I’ve got through GW is the camaraderie between the other volunteers and the love and support that you get from the staff here, and it’s all such a lovely mix, like the compost, that helps you grow again and gives you that environment and the time to get better again, to recover.

“I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for Growing Well, and we need more Growing Wells, and more funding here so the good work that’s helped me and others can carry on. It’s just wonderful.”

The charity video was premiered at two Summer Feasts held in one of Growing Well’s polytunnels on July 5 and 6. More than £8,000 was raised to kickstart the campaign at the events for friends, supporters and guests.

Diners enjoyed a multi-course menu of salads and vegetarian dishes using Growing Well produce, prepared by Growing Well catering manager Sarah Hill and her team of volunteers at the charity, helped by chef Jim Metcalfe and his team from Chesters by the River, near Ambleside.

To support the appeal go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/growingwell. Also see growingwell.co.uk, or get in touch via [email protected].

The Growing Well page shows what different levels of donation could fund at the charity and everyone who donates gets a reward back, from digital recipe cards, to cooking experiences at the charity’s on-site catering unit.

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