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Growing Well Working with People in Cumbria Seeking Asylum

In 2023 Growing Well had the opportunity to extend our provision to people seeking asylum, who were being housed in hotels in Barrow and Carlisle.

It was our privilege to work with over 200 people from over 20 different countries last year and we are grateful for the incredibly hard work and richness that they brought to both our Tebay and Kendal sites.

At very short notice the hotels we had been working with in Carlisle were closed in the lead-up to Christmas and all the residents allocated alternative accommodation in other parts of the country.

Many of those who had become regular attenders of Growing Well were really sad to be moving on and we did what we could to support them in their preparations to leave.

We are, however, committed to continuing our work with refugees and people seeking asylum, as a group in great need of mental health support. Our experience of those we have worked with so far is that they are really keen to be engaging in purposeful activities and contributing to a community as well as improving their English and gaining new skills.

We have found that many of them have agricultural backgrounds and our setting provides some familiarity and opportunity to share existing knowledge and skills as well as developing new.

The nature of our horticultural activity also enables full participation for those for whom the English language is a barrier.

We are working hard to find new ways to make our services available to asylum seekers and refugees from other parts of the North West who have been housed in Carlisle and the surrounding area in the hope that we will be able to continue this valuable work.

Instead of meeting at the hotels on Mondays, our minibus now picks up from the Greystone Community Centre, Close Street, Carlisle on Mondays at 9am

Gardening activities for people in Cumbria seeking asylum

If you – or someone you know – are interested in joining us at Growing Well on one regular day each week, then we’d be happy to have you come along.

Volunteers take part in a range of activities including growing and harvesting vegetables and learning new gardening and construction skills in a safe space where you can also make new friends.

It’s also a friendly environment for those wishing to practice and improve their English language and, importantly, it’s somewhere you can get help with your mental health if you need it.

All clothing and equipment is provided by Growing Well, along with a free hot and healthy lunch.

You can find out more about our support activities for people in Cumbria seeking asylum in our recent article, Growing Well and the North Cumbria Migrant Mental Health Project.

Photo credit: Chuck Whitehead