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Growing Well 20 For 20

Growing Well is celebrating 20 years of supporting people with their mental health recovery through horticultural activity and, in celebration, twenty of the charity’s closest supporters are embarking on a variety of fundraising challenges with the aim of raising £20,000. The “20 for 20” campaign will showcase and champion the fundraising efforts of these amazing local individuals and groups.

1500m Epic Swim in Ullswater

Alice Pattinson

Our first 20th anniversary fundraiser Alice has been a volunteer at Growing Well Tebay since October 2023. She’s happy to share her struggles with mental illness, the impact it has had on her life and what it is that helps her as "being open and honest about mental ill health is important in removing the stigma and helping others get the support they need."

Since coming here she has found that her Growing Well day gives her an invaluable sense of purpose, "I love the sense of community and belonging, working alongside other people who I know are having similar struggles really helps. I leave at the end of every day proud of what I have achieved and what we have achieved as a group. I want to fundraise for Growing Well because they have supported me, seen potential in me that I couldn’t and help me every week to set and achieve goals. Raising money for them is a way of thanking them for their incredible concept."

It was a sponsored swim for another charity three years ago that inspired Alice to do the same this year for Growing Well’s 20th birthday. ‘I swam for a charity that supported mums with mental health problems and found that through publicising my swim I was also reaching people who either needed support themselves or knew someone else who did. I hope I can do the same for Growing Well this year and get the word out about just how beneficial it is and how their hands on and personal approach really does work.’ Alice photographs each of her days on site and shares them with friends and family on her social media, both to show them what she’s been doing and to bring Growing Well’s activities to life. ‘It’s only by being here that you really understand how amazing it is.’

Alice has been a keen lake swimmer for the last 10 years and finds it very beneficial for her mental health, so a swim seemed like the perfect challenge for her to set herself and use as a mechanism to raise funds and awareness for us, but she’s not stopping there. To celebrate 20 years of Growing Well, Alice is also going to walk 20 miles. As someone who suffers from hypermobility and the physical difficulties it brings, she has decided to challenge herself with walking this distance throughout June in a series of shorter stages and now her children are joining her too. She said "It’s been great for them to understand why mummy goes to Growing Well, where and what it is. Now they’re getting involved too and really enjoying it."

To sponsor Alice and help her raise vital funds for us you can go to her Just Giving page here:

Sinead’s Great North Triathlon

Sinead McCann

Sinead McCann is the Manager at Growing Well Kendal, where she works full-time overseeing the day to day running of the site, supporting staff and volunteers who grow all the amazing produce that comes from the largest organic vegetable farm in Cumbria.

When she turned 50, Sinead did a Half Ironman in New Zealand, with another big birthday looming in November, she is going to undertake her own swim – bike – run challenge to raise funds for Growing Well.

Sinead’s Great North Triathlon (GNT) will involve swimming across the 5 largest bodies of water in the Lake District, cycling coast to coast and then completing the Great North Run on consecutive weekends this summer (in August & September).

Sinead says “Doing my own Great North Triathlon will be tough – it’s a while since I’ve done anything so physically challenging. I’m looking forward to doing the swim and bike ride with friends and have always wanted to take part in the Great North Run. Raising money for Growing Well will hopefully give me the motivation I’ll need to get to the finish line – wish me luck!”
Click on the LINK BELOW to support Sinead's challenge and support Growing Well 20 For 20.

Singing in Support of Better Mental Health

Growing Singing

Growing Singing CIC aims to encourage and enable a growing number of people from around Kendal and the South Lakes to find their voices and enjoy the benefits of a blooming good sing. It’s a not-for-profit business run by Clare Elleray and Rachael Wadey, who are both evangelical about how good it is for people to sing together.

The Growing Singers is a 60-strong fundraising community choir. Founded in January 2023, it donates a percentage of fees and all the money collected from performances and community events to Growing Well. During its first year Growing Singers donated over £1500 towards the costs of running Growing Well.

As well as being enthusiastic about the benefits of singing, Clare and Rachael both see the benefits that Growing Well brings to it’s volunteers.

“My first job in Kendal was at Growing Well” says Clare “and over 7 years there I often used to say that I’d hit the job jackpot, so much did I love the work and being there. When I moved back into choir leading it felt really good to continue the connection with such a worthwhile local charity”.

Rachael wholeheartedly agrees: “We are both well aware of the mental health and other benefits of singing with others in a group and we love supporting Growing Well in this way with the choir. We’re also enjoying exploring other connections that Growing Well and Growing Singing may develop over the years”.

Tebay Services to Low Sizergh

20th Anniversary Sponsored Walk

A key event of Growing Well’s 20th birthday celebrations this year is a sponsored walk on Saturday 15th June between two of our sites - Tebay Services and Low Sizergh near Kendal.

The route totals just under 20-miles and has been planned by two of our Tebay minibus drivers, Jon Tombs and Joe Faulkner, both passionate and experienced outdoor instructors.

“It is an obvious statement that exercise is good for us - physically, emotionally, and mentally.” says Jon, who has had a lengthy career working with young people in outdoor activities.

“Working outdoors every day I see for myself how spending time in nature is great for everyone’s wellbeing. Whether it’s walking or more vigorous exercise, it gives us a powerful and very welcome dose of mental goodness.”

“I’m really looking forward to being involved in the anniversary walk for Growing Well. We’re all hoping it will encourage and inspire people to get out and exercise in Cumbria’s beautiful countryside, whilst raising vital funds for the charity.”

Proud supporters of Growing Well

Westmorland Family

Westmorland Family have been proud supporters of Growing Well since they started buying vegetables from us for the catering side of their businesses – Tebay Services, Rheged and Westmorland Hotel - some years ago.

In 2022 Growing Well and Westmorland embarked a major new project to open a second Growing Well site at Tebay, situated on an old caravan park adjacent to their M6 northbound services.

Growing Well at Tebay Services opened in the spring of 2023 thanks to significant funding and in-kind support from The Westmorland Family. In the following year this site has supported hundreds of volunteers in Eden and North Cumbria on their journey towards mental health recovery.

Westmorland Family Chair Sarah Dunning: “We are delighted to be to working in partnership with Growing Well on a project that will help to address one of the great needs in our community, which is mental health.”

For Growing Well’s 20th year, Westmorland have set themselves the target of raising £20,000 for our charity through a combination of fundraising events and activities at Tebay Services, Rheged, and the Westmorland Hotel.

Follow us to find out what they get up to and how they progress!

Manchester Marathon 2024

Gina Pennington

Gina Pennington is one half of the dynamic duo who own Penningtons Tea and coffee, Growing Well is their chosen charity for 2024.

On Sunday 14th April, Gina will be running her 10th marathon raising funds for the Growing Well’s 20-year appeal.

Both Dave and Gina have had their mental health challenges over the years and Growing Well as a local mental health charity really resonated with them. As well as running a marathon for Growing Well, Pennington's have created a special fundraising coffee, on sale in local shops and on their website, from which 10% of sales will go into the funds.

Great North Swim

Alison Weston

“I have always found solace and peace in swimming and being outside. Being immersed in a lake has a special way of making you feel part of the landscape and not just a bystander – which I find incredibly calming and restorative.”

She sees participating in the Great North Swim as a milestone in her recovery from a mental health crisis in summer 2023.

“The decision to try and swim a significant distance in Windermere will require commitment, mental and physical strength and a lot of training. I think that confidence and self-belief are also key”.

These are two things that Alison is working on at Growing Well Kendal, where she started volunteering in November 2023.

“At a time when I felt very low, I was referred to Growing Well, knowing that being engaged and busy as well as being outdoors was what I needed. To be accepted and encouraged to participate in physical tasks that are mentally absorbing, working at your own pace whilst being surrounded by people who understand without question has been entirely refreshing.”

As a sign of her appreciation of Growing Well and how being there is supporting her recovery, Alison wants to raise money by asking people to sponsor her Great North Swim.

She says “I hope that doing the swim will help raise the profile of a local and pioneering charity that I am lucky to be involved with. At the same time, spreading awareness of the very real need for us all to talk about mental ill-health is important to me and hopefully enable other people to experience healing the Growing Well way.”

Sand Art Mandala Workshop

Simon Wheatley

Sunday 11th August is the date for your diary if you want to try something quite unique and help create a very beautiful piece of art on one of our nearby beaches.

Good friend of Growing Well Simon Wheatley is going to be busy on the sands of Morecambe Bay at Bardsea creating one of his magical Mandalas, and he wants you to join him and lend a hand!

Mandalas are Buddhist devotional images often deemed to symbolise an ideal universe. Mandalas come in many forms, often painted on scrolls, and Simon has become something of an renowned expert for creating these on sandy beaches, not to mention his other incredible beach artworks.

“I’ve chosen the August date because of the tides in Morecambe Bay as the 11th falls in a neap tide week and, according to my tide tables, we should have a dry beach to draw on that day.”

There’s plenty of free parking at Bardsea with easy access onto the sands. It’s also where Netflix filmed Simon recently making a Mandala for National Geographic (should be on your TV screens in late summer).

There is no charge for attending or participating in this event, but there will be collection tins if you would like to show your support for Simon and his fundraising for Growing Well.

Click on the links below for the location of this event.

The Spine Challenger South

Kate Simpson

On Saturday 15th June, some of us were undertaking a 20-mile walk between the Growing Well sites at Tebay Services and Low Sizergh. But that was perhaps a little ‘tame’ for Kate Simpson who ran the Spine Challenger South fell race in aid of our charity. The Spine Challenger South is 108-mile long continuous (aka non- stop) ‘race’ along the Pennine way and, as Kate admitted beforehand, “I’m totally intimidated by it!”

“When I entered I’d just had knee surgery and been told I could never run again. I believed I’d never travel fast(ish) and light over the fells, and that I’d lose my favourite way to get lost in my head.”

Those long days on the hills with even longer conversations with friends would be crushed. I believed I’d lost something that is who I am and makes me simply and fundamentally soul-level happy.

With the support of a good physio, some boldness about what’s possible, some necessary medication and putting up with a bit more pain and Kate was back on the hills, “and that makes me happy.”

“Entering the Spine was about challenging my ability to believe in what’s possible. Through all this I realized the true impact the outdoors and running has on my mental wellbeing.”

“Growing Well is a wonderful local charity doing the frontline work to support people with their mental health and they do it through the practical pleasure of growing things to eat and the power of community.”

5 Peaks Challenge

Hill Dickinson / LSCFT

The team at the Preston offices of global legal firm Hill Dickinson, along with friends at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust, recently held a Cake & Bake Sale for Growing Well but organiser Harriet Morgan decided that she wanted a bigger challenge…

A team of six (possibly even more!) are planning an additional fundraising epic for Growing Well in the form of undertaking a 5-peaks challenge for us on 28th September.

“I have racked my brains and come up with an idea for a ‘big challenge’ and the inspiration arrived in the form of a ‘5 Peaks Challenge’ in September. We will be walking up five Lake District peaks in one day in - Rossett Pike, Allen Crags, Great End, Ill Crag and the small matter of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike.”

“In total, this represents nearly 1,400m of ascent and a walking distance of more than 20k. The intention is to complete the challenge in approximately 8-10 hours.”

If you’re inspired by our ’20 for 20′ team and would like to help raise funds for our charity then we’d naturally love to hear from you – contact our fundraising team at

Should you wish, you can make a one-off donation or register your fundraising activities for Growing Well on our 20th Anniversary JustGiving page.


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If you share our passion for improving mental health, you can help meet the increasing need in Cumbria for swiftly available, professionally governed mental health support.

Contact the Growing Well Fundraising Team

Every penny raised will go directly to supporting people who need specialist, structured support to navigate their mental health journey and move forward positively with their lives.