Award-winning service station looking to improve mental health through kitchen garden

  • Tebay Services has launched a kitchen garden to provide mental health support.

Award winning Tebay Services has launched a kitchen garden as part of a project providing mental health support.

The service station has teamed up with charity, Growing Well to grow produce that can be sold.

There are many volunteers that are there to help or to be helped.

Oli Bloomfield is a sales manager who is there to use the garden to improve his mental health.

He said: "In August last year I had a breakdown, which was burnout related, and once I had been through the talking therapies available through the NHS, I was still looking for the next step to help me recover and help my confidence."

For Howard Bell, depression started for him as a teenager. He explains that the garden offers him a different type of treatment than what he received by going to his GP.

He said: "In a former life I was a zoologist and a scientist and like many other people here I have suffered with mental health issues.

Many people who have used the services are finding the benefits. Credit: ITV

"I have went through the usual trajectory of going through the doctor and the GP, getting lots of pills that didn’t do a lot for me. I came here to do something practical, worthwhile and fulfilling. Here is giving you something with purpose."

Both are finding support through Growing Well, a farm based mental health charity set up almost 20 years ago near Kendal. They have now opened up their second base at Tebay Services.

Mary Smith, Chief Executive Growing Well, said: “We have a team of therapeutic growers who are expert fantastic horticulturists but are also trained on mental health interventions as well.

"They are being constantly monitored to see if they need more of a challenge or a little bit less of a challenge. The really work on an individual level to help everyone with their individual needs."

Pippa Knight is an occupational therapist who believes there are many benefits to being outdoors to improve mental health.

She said: "It is a structured day for them so it is like going into work in a way.

"There are so many therapeutic benefits to being outdoors, physical work and in nature. The benefits I see include improved self care and engaging back with their friends.

"It is really having a positive impact on their lives."

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