Quince Tree Day Nursery

Rachael Hearn is a nursery teacher and fundraising coordinator at Quince Tree Day Nursery in Essex. Below she writes about why she grew a sunflower with children at the nursery.

We were doing a project at Quince Tree Day Nursery in Essex teaching the children about how things grow. We then decided to take part in a challenge to grow a sunflower and raise awareness about mental health which affects not just adults but children as well. The idea of the challenge was to grow a sunflower so that you learn how to nurture and look after something just like you should look after yourself.

Sunflower grown at Quince Tree day nursery in Essex.

We then came across The Big Sunflower Project that raises awareness about centronuclear and myotubular myopathy when looking up sunflower challenges on the internet to take part in for fundraising and thought it was a good idea to take part in this challenge as well so that we could teach the children how everyone is different and that’s ok.

We were so happy to watch our sunflower grow as it grew so big it was 9ft 2″ and it was sad when we had to dig it up but we managed to save the seeds that we found in the sunflower so that we can grow another one next year and take part in more sunflower challenges.

The Big Sunflower Project 2020


Seed distribution for The Big Sunflower Project will begin again in early 2020, which will be the tenth year of the project.  

The Big Sunflower Project 10th anniversary logo.

The Big Sunflower Project is an initiative of The Information Point for Centronuclear and Myotubular Myopathy which aims to provide information about and raise awareness of these rare neuromuscular conditions. The project raises awareness by sending sunflower seeds to people who have never heard of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy and by sharing participants photos online.

300 packets of seeds containing 50 seeds will be distributed in 2020 (one packet of seeds per applicant.) Project seeds are sent free of charge to participants but anyone wanting to make a donation for their seeds can do so via this website.

Donations are ploughed back into the project – they enable the project to send more seeds to more people and help secure the future of the project.

The Big Sunflower Project is not associated with any freebie websites. Please do not share information about the project with these organisations. The project does not have the capacity to deal with the number of requests generated by being advertised on these websites and if featured, it will force seed distribution to stop.

Anyone is welcome to apply for seeds but priority is given to families affected by centronuclear and myotubular myopathy, community groups and good causes. Previously, seeds have been donated to schools and nurseries, community groups, groups who work with disadvantaged people, hospices and youth groups to name a few, so as well as raising awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy, the project supports the activities of these groups too.

Kindness was definitely the motivation in sending the seeds. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a small person with all this chaos going on right now and on top of that, not being able to be with your friends and watching your parents go off to work too. So, I decided to send a few surprise packages to schools that I learned were still open, in the hope it might make them feel a bit special and give them something to look forward to. Hopefully staff and parents will get some enjoyment from seeing the sunflowers too.

Photos submitted to the project are shared on the project social media pages (FacebookFlickr, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) and in The Information Point newsletter Our World. Photos are also sometimes used in applications for grants and funding, without which the project could not continue.

It is only possible to send seeds to the UK and Europe but the project wholeheartedly welcomes participation from anyone who wants to raise awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy by growing a sunflower and people who buy their own seeds are welcome to join in (if you would like to do this, please get in touch advising where you will be growing your sunflowers, so you can be included on the project map.)

Sunflower seeds for The Big Sunflower Project 2020 have been donated by Thompson and Morgan and Tamar Organics.

Seeds have also been donated by Mike Rogers and Linda Fowler who grew sunflowers during the 2019 project and saved the seeds. 



Amy took part in The Big Sunflower Project in 2019. Below she writes about her reasons for taking part.

My name is Amy, I am currently studying Digital Photography at University of Chester.  At 16 I was diagnosed with centronuclear myopathy (CNM), Dynamin 2 (DNM2) mutation along with hypermobility.

Sunflower grown by Amy.

I decided to take part in The Big Sunflower Project to be more involved in the community, as it is nice to have people that understand emotions and issues that go along with the condition. The sunflower project seemed like a great, proactive way to raise awareness about the condition that I myself and people I love have (people who I have only been able to meet through online community and pages that have been set up e.g. the sunflower project, CNM and myotubular page).

Documenting my sunflowers growth and creating little updates felt like almost a way to give something back to the amazing people that run the pages, websites and projects for our community. I wanted to take part in The Big Sunflower Project because without these pages I would not have been able to meet so many amazing people around the world and probably would have still felt very isolated and scared by my condition.

NeuroMuscular Centre

The Neuromuscular Centre is the Centre of Excellence for people with neuromuscular conditions. Based in Cheshire the charity supports people across the UK and sometimes further afield, providing physiotherapy, training and employment.  Below Alison Evans from the centre writes about their involvement in The Big Sunflower Project during 2018.


Sunflower fever swept across the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC) this summer! We have loved having the bright, showy blooms livening up our grounds (and some of our homes too) but, perhaps more importantly, we have greatly enjoyed working with our friends at The Information Point.

Numerous members of staff took on the challenge to grow sunflowers to help raise awareness for centronuclear myopathy and myotubular myopathy. We took over spaces in the NMC garden, the car park, the meadow, the greenhouse and even our Sales Manager’s bedroom, to cultivate our plants and turn our vista sunshine yellow.


As a centre of excellence for people with neuromuscular conditions, we were eager to help The Information Point raise awareness. Like Toni, we believe in the power of community. Everyone can flourish given the correct support and guidance and we think that the sunflowers are a fabulous metaphor for this.

At the NMC, we offer physiotherapy, support, training and employment to people with muscular dystrophy. We believe that peer to peer support is a key part of everyone’s wellbeing and that raising awareness of all neuromuscular conditions is an important baseline.

NMC Design+Print is a graphic design and printing company at the heart of the NMC; predominantly staffed, and managed by, people with MD. We provide a friendly, professional and creative service with a healthy serving of social value! The profits we make go toward the running costs of the NMC, so by working with us you also support the charity.


Together, we want to inspire young people with disabilities, and to encourage our community to be bold and strive for their dreams. We do this by offering graphic design training, numerous creative workshops, work placements and employment opportunities to people with MD, to help them launch themselves into a career in the creative industry or charity sector.

Partnering with The Information Point has allowed us to pool our audiences across a variety of social media platforms to reach a greater number of people affected by the conditions. It has also helped us to improve our gardening skills, learn more about centronuclear and myotubular myopathies (and as a bonus, we learnt the correct spellings!).

Winter is now drawing in but the project isn’t over yet! Many of us are drying our sunflowers to save the seeds for next year.

The NeuroMuscular Centre again took part in The Big Sunflower Project in 2019, this time using their seeds as part of a seed planting workshop held at the centre. The workshop aimed to encourage staff and service users to plant seeds for growing in the centre’s greenhouse, with the plants either being planted out in the grounds of the centre or sold to raise funds for the centre.

Chloe with her tallest sunflower certificate.

Project sunflower seeds were planted during the workshop as part of a community sunflower growing project over the summer months, with people paying £1 for a sunflower seed and a pot to support the work of the centre.

Entrants were encouraged to share photos of their sunflowers and certificates and were awarded for the tallest sunflower but also the sunflower with the most sunflowers. the first sunflower to bloom and the sunflower that flowered in the face of adversity, having tried to grow around the cycle racks at the front of the building.

In September, the centre’s ‘smallest’ tallest sunflower grower was delighted to receive a certificate, together with a prize of garden tools and a packet of seeds, so she could continue gardening.

To learn more about the work of the Neuromuscular Centre and NMC Design and Print, take a look at the short film below.


Neuromuscular Centre | NMC Design and Print
NMC Training and Development