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Growing Well in Egremont

New Growing Well in Egremont to transform redundant Council nurseries site to help mental health in West Cumbria

Mental health charity to open third Cumbrian site with support from Copeland Community Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund and the NDA.

A major new mental health and horticulture project to help people in West Cumbria is to open in the heart of Egremont.

Cumbrian mental health charity and organic farming enterprise, Growing Well, will expand to a third site thanks to funding support from Copeland Community Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund and the NDA, announced today.

Growing Well will transform the redundant Beck Green Nurseries in the centre of Egremont, to become a thriving market garden that will supply fresh vegetables direct to the local community. The funding package from the three major funders, totalling over £600K, will also support the running costs of the charity’s therapeutic horticulture service over the next three years.

Growing Well in Egremont aims to help 100 people a year across West Cumbria recover from mental health difficulties by attending the service on one day a week for up to a year.

Under the supervision of experienced therapeutic growers and mental health support staff, beneficiaries, who can be referred by GPs, other health services, or themselves, can rebuild confidence, learn new skills, benefit from peer support and be helped to achieve their goals, such as returning to employment or education.

Beneficiaries will work in Growing Well’s new market garden enterprise at Beck Green, which will supply 100 weekly veg boxes to the local area. 50 of these weekly boxes, which each contain a minimum of eight seasonal vegetable or fruit items all grown on the Beck Green site, will be sponsored or subsidised so they can be accessed by low income families.

Growing Well Chief Executive Mary Smith said: “We are thrilled to bring our unique model to a third site in Cumbria, which will open up our service to an entirely new community in need.

“We are particularly delighted that we can tackle mental ill health through our intervention and we’ll also be able to offer nutritious fruit and vegetables to those families in the area who might not otherwise be able to afford them. Deprivation is one of the key contributors to mental ill health.

“Transforming a redundant, town centre site for public benefit presents a huge opportunity for the town of Egremont but we’ll also be welcoming people from right across West Cumbria.”

Emma Moynihan, Fund Manager for the Copeland Community Fund, said: “Copeland Community Fund are delighted to support Growing Well with their new project to deliver mental health support to our local community though a horticultural growing scheme. Improving the health and wellbeing of the community is a priority of Copeland Community Fund and our cooperation partners. The grant of £275,000 is to establish the site in Egremont and to deliver the programme over the next three years.”

Duncan Nicholson, Head of Funding for the North East and Cumbria at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re able to help continue Growing Well’s valuable work in Cumbria. This new funding will help with its growth to a third site in the region, meaning more and more people can benefit from these trusted and reliable services.

“The award fits with The National Lottery Community Fund’s four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives.

“As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, we’re delighted that our grants are being used to support inspiring projects that strengthen communities and improve lives in our region, and we greatly look forward to hearing about the development of the new community garden in Egremont.”

Jamie Reed, NDA Director of Socio-Economics, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Growing Well in their ongoing work to provide mental health support in this holistic and environmentally driven way. Bringing this successful initiative to West Cumbria will be an important and welcome addition to the support available in this area.

“The NDA is committed to creating environmental and societal benefits, building on our long history of providing value for the UK.

“We invest around £15 million nationally each year in enabling permanent, positive, and significant social and economic change in our communities, and investing in projects such as this will benefit future generations for years to come in the West Cumbria area.”

The project, which will create five new full-time jobs, will be sited at the old Beck Green Nurseries on Cross Side in Egremont. It will fully open to its first beneficiaries in early 2024, but it is hoped there will be volunteer opportunities to work on the site build and first planting of crops from October.

Cumberland Council is providing the rent-free site and support in kind to carry out initial groundworks.

Growing Well has successfully operated from its 6-acre site at Low Sizergh farm outside Kendal for 19 years and opened a second site at Tebay Services Northbound in January 2023.

The final go-ahead for the project was dependent on the success, announced today, of the funding package from Copeland Community Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund and the NDA.

Jobs at Growing Well in Egremont will be advertised for a Manager, a local Partnerships Manager, a Therapeutic Grower, a Volunteer Support Co-ordinator and an Office Co-ordinator.

Growing Well will also be recruiting support volunteers, who support the staff working with beneficiaries, volunteer minibus drivers, and volunteer community growers.

To find out more about referring to Growing Well, or getting involved in any way, please email

Main image – Growing Well CEO Mary Smith and Paul Cambre, Growing Well Head of Horticulture, at the Beck Green Nurseries site along with our project funders Andy Harper, Socio-Economics Manager, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; Alyson Carney, Community Development Officer, Copeland Community Fund; Emma Moynihan, Fund Manager, Copeland Community Fund; and also Emanuel Flecken, Parks, Open Spaces & Bereavement Manager, Place, Sustainable Growth and Transport, Cumberland Council