ON BEHALF of Growing Well, our mental health charity and organic growing enterprise at Low Sizergh, the staff, board and I would like to thank the Westmorland Gazette and all its readers for their immense show of support during the past few weeks.

In 2018, cuts to funding left us with a 2019 deficit budget of around £60,000, at a time when more people in this community are in need of our service. Eighty per cent of our referrals come from GPs in the area, who endorse our holistic “Recovery Through Activity” approach as a great success. The referrals are more frequent and the activity, accredited qualifications and life skills (including Return to Work) courses are more in demand than ever. There is no better model of “social prescribing” in action, except that in this county there is no budget to follow the people who are referred here.

We know we can’t let this setback lead to us restricting or reducing our service. Too many people in this area rely on us for this to be an option. We know what we do saves lives and we know this approach and this setting can teach people not only about themselves but also about the Cumbrian landscape, the seasons and the importance of farms and communities in this area.

We continue to grow and trade a wonderful selection of organic fruit and vegetables (see us at Kendal Farmers Market at the end of August!) but need to fundraise continuously to cover our running costs adequately each year.

Our Crowdfunding campaign (www.Crowdfunder.co.uk/GrowingWell) launched last month and is just over halfway through. More than £15,000 has been raised and we have under a month to raise a further £10,000, all of which will go directly towards core operating costs, so we have a safe site with qualified staff on hand to help our participants at every step of the journey to recovery.

Without the support of the Gazette in promoting our fundraising to thousands of local readers, I’m in no doubt we wouldn’t be as far on in reaching our campaign target as we are now. If any of your readers are compelled to know more or wish to help us in this final push to hit our Crowdfunding target then please follow the above link, watch our video and make a pledge.

Thank you SO much

Mary Houston

General manager, Growing Well