A FARM-based mental health charity is bidding for money to replace the run-down portacabins it currently uses on-site.

Mary Houston, chief executive of Growing Well, based at Low Sizergh Farm, near Kendal, said the buildings were leaky and sinking in places, and there were cracks in the floors making them “almost impossible to heat”. Waterproof material has been stuck on the outside of the cabins as a stopgap measure.

She added: “They’re not very sound proof so if people do want to have private conversations it’s not always very easy to achieve.

“We are a busy site now and more often than not we have people who need a private space so we want to be able to establish that.”

And now the charity, which gives people mental health support via group-based agricultural work, is hoping to replace the cabins to ensure it has a site suitable for its service users.

It is in the process of bidding for £20,000 in funding to purchase two shipping containers. So far, around half of the target has been reached.

Mrs Houston said the containers would be more durable, waterproof and soundproof than the cabins.

They will serve a variety of functions including being office space and a place for people to go and chat.

Growing Well, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, operates its own working farm, using agricultural work as a way to aid mental health. The majority of its service users come via referrals.

Around 15 tonnes of organic vegetables are grown at the site each year, which are then sold on. People can also gain horticultural and lifestyle qualifications through the charity.

Mrs Houston said: “Coming here is a gentle process to get people to integrate again and participate and help each-other redevelop social skills, because if you have been isolated for a very long time it can be hard to socialise when you want to try to start again.”

The charity is currently in the process of applying for grants for the shipping containers, but if businesses or individuals would like to support Growing Well they can email mary@growingwell.co.uk