Growing Well wins another award - but what does it recognise?
By Beren Aldridge, 19 September 2012 –
Those of you who have been following the progress of Growing Well for the last few years will know we are no strangers to awards. Last week Hazel was on hand at the Castle Green Hotel when we won Social and Community Development Award at the Westmorland Gazette Business Awards. It's always an enormous boost in morale to have the work of Growing Well recognised externally. Our team always enjoys seeing a new award on the lunch table in the yurt, but what does an award like this one actually recognise?
When we were awarded British Rural Enterprise of the Year last year one of the judges said "...Growing Well has had huge success, giving many people a new confidence, and ...[has] generated a unique business model." I think our awards recognise that Growing Well is not quite like other businesses, or other mental health charities, or other social enterprises or other community farms. If you spend some time here, you'll notice that we feel a little bit different.
We always hoped that Growing Well would feel like a place where people could simply be themselves, not defined by the role they might play or the issues they once had. From talking to our volunteers, staff, students and visitors I know that for many of them they feel that this is true. When I show a prospective volunteer around the farm, and they see busy people in Growing Well T-shirts packing produce, mending tractors or digging in polytunnels they often remark on how Growing Well feels like one big team.
By parceling up a mental health charity, within a social enterprise that runs a community farm, we have made Growing Well a little bit unique, and that is felt by our volunteers and by award judges too!