It has been a properly busy spring so far…

It has been a properly busy spring so far (I say spring because the lambs are bouncing, which tends to be my defining ‘it’s spring moment’ rather than the weather getting any less COLD).   We had the nod from Big Lottery and Cabinet Office a month ago, so the past few weeks has seen me running in ever decreasing circles since realising that we’ve £100k to spend on future proofing. I don’t like that phrase, but it’s a closest I can get to what the LSF money is paying for – essentially loads of (probably) trial and error over the next year or so, to test new ideas, new products and new ways of working to help as many people as possible to access mental health recovery through our support. We also aim to take as much control of our income as possible, through growing and selling as many organic items as people will buy.

Fortunately we won’t have to do it on our own, which helps me sleep at night. Sam Rayner of Lakeland is lending the formidable skills of the Lakeland team, as are Impact International, Egg Homes and Solomons Europe – as diverse a range of businesses as we could wish for, with individuals committed to creating a positive future for mental health support. The greatest value in these relationships is the knowledge, opinion and experience of people who operate in completely different environments to us, and can broaden our perspective and creativity.

So, this April I’ve created contracts for consultants, we’ve found a fantastic Catering Co-ordinator who starts next week (and on that note, had the best days interviewing in my career so far – three lovely, appointable candidates who all just ‘got’ Growing Well, all with different skills – it was a shame we couldn’t appoint all three) and we’re meeting with Sue, Unity’s Occupational Therapist this week to help us draw up a job description for our own Occupational Therapist – which is a truly monumental step forward for us! I also got voted in as the latest Chair for the Cumbria Third Sector Mental Health Provider Forum (not quite sure how that happened) but it’s cool, as we’re going to make the group faster higher stronger and all that.

On a personal note, I got marginally squiffy recently and said I’d walk the Rob Roy Way with a friend in June. 77 miles plus the first 11 miles of the West Highland Way (because of train related malarky). Anyway, my impending sense of doom has led to many supportive conversations about what other stuff Growing Well could do if I survive (or, for that matter, even if I don’t). So, we’re going to do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, as well as another Cross Bay Walk with Cedric (cause the last one rocked). I was walking down Ingleborough a few weeks back (Training! Training!) when some footsore bloke asked me if I actually did this for fun? It just made me realise I need to inject more misery into my adventures and I hereby invite you all to join me 🙂

Grey, Wind and Rain

Looking out of my windows at home I see fields becoming ponds again-well lakes really!
This very wet and windy weather is having an effect on Growing Wells productivity and it has turned my mind to some vegetable comfort food. Cakes!
This weeks bag is mixed but mine includes Carrots and Parsnips, some had Squash -what I do know is that they all make very moist and tastily comforting cakes.
I have spent more that an hour surfing recipes online, there are some brilliant blogs where you can find great recipes for instance for organic vegan cooking which may require ingredients that if you are not vegan you will not have in your pantry of delights. What is a bonus about these blogs is the quality of the presentation, wonderfully appetising images and staged photographs  of the recipe in the making.

Here are a few you may like to escape to and if you are lucky it may have stopped raining and you can get outdoors for a walk- whilst you decide what to make for tea!

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/one-pot-pumpkin-cabbage-stew

/http://www.ohladycakes.com/recipes

http://www.dollyandoatmeal.com/blog/2014/10/kabocha-squash-fennel-ginger-soup-w-spicy-coconut-cream

Well back to this weeks recipes I have a lovely Chocolate and Beetroot cake care of Hazel, who used to bring one in sometimes for the level 2 students, originally from Mary Berry. I have made a classic Carrot Cake From the Cranks book – which is moist carrots and tasty with a brown flour base. But  also have anothe for you here which Suesie -who was on last years course gave me from New Zealand and it is a belter! The Christmas Spiced Parsnip Cake comes  from the Green Kitchen and that is how I got distracted – looking at all those delicious images -well that bit keeps you slim -trying them out well thats another matter. Enjoy!

Nell Dale