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Growing Well ambassadors mark inspirational Cumbrian charity’s 20 year milestone

In 2024, Growing Well is celebrating 20 years of supporting people with their mental health through our unique model of recovery through horticultural activity.

In celebration, twenty of our closest and most loyal 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.

Growing Well is also asking anyone else who shares their passion for improving mental health to join them in 2024 to raise awareness and vital funds to help them meet the increasing need in the county for swiftly available, professionally governed mental health support.

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

Founded in Sizergh, just outside of Kendal, Growing Well has provided life-changing support to thousands of people since 2004, offering hope and recovery to those for whom mental illness severely impacts their day to day lives.

Growing Well is now supporting more Cumbrian communities, operating from three sites across Cumbria; Sizergh, Tebay Services and Egremont (due to open in Spring 2024).

One 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 attending Growing Well, she finds the day on-site 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 each day proud of what I have achieved and what we have achieved as a group.”

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 the charity.

But she’s not stopping there – to celebrate 20 years of Growing Well, Alice is also going to undertake a 20 mile walk.

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.”

Howard Bell, one of the charity’s beneficiaries said: “Like many other people here I have had mental health issues, and I’ve gone through the usual trajectory of going through the GP and getting lots of little pills that really didn’t do a lot for me.”

“I came to Growing Well to do something practical and worthwhile and fulfilling. Those other things don’t change anything structurally, whether it’s talking or taking a little pill. It doesn’t change your life – your life is still there.”

“At Growing Well it’s giving you something with purpose, something to do. It’s a very, very pleasant, refreshing and alternative approach to mental health. Growing Well is, and will in the future, saving lives.”

CEO of Growing Well, Mary Smith, said: “We are deeply thankful to our founders, partners, donors, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries who formed, moulded and grew this wonderful community resource over the last twenty years.”

“We are passionate about being a permanent fixture in Cumbrian mental health provision but – as a charity – we will only be able to do so if we fundraise tirelessly to underpin our vital work.”

“We already have 20 incredible individuals and organisations signed up to help us achieve our £20,000 target, as well as an exciting, sponsored event coming up in June. So, whether you want to walk, swim, sing, cycle, or do something entirely different, we’d love you to sign up now to organise an event, make a donation, or simply to find out more and get involved. Your contribution can help us to save lives.”

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

All details on how to join in or how to donate to Growing Well in this momentous year can be found on the charity’s website: