The Conservation Volunteers hire NHS staffer to push Green Gym initiative

Former NHS Health Check programme manager Craig Lister has joined The Conservation Volunteers as Green Gym managing director.

Lister will work closely with policy manager Dominic Higgins and chief executive Julie Hopes to advance the the Green Gym initiative, which offers volunteers free sessions working in practical outdoor activities while getting active, meeting new people and transforming local green spaces and public realm.

Lister brings with him more than 10 years experience in the NHS including work as head of preventative health at NHS Bedfordshire and Health Check national programme manager at Public Health England.

The appointment is part of TCV's strategy to ensure it works in the best way with local authorities, local communities and other key stakeholders to improve the health and wellbeing of hundreds of people across the United Kingdom.

Research by the New Economics Foundation found Green Gyms provide a social return on investment of £4 for every £1 spent. The Department of Health has recognised the significant impact that Green Gyms have on the health and wellbeing of volunteers, and earlier this year TCV were awarded a grant from Nesta and the Cabinet Office to extend the Green Gym offering.

Over the next five years, the funding will allow TCV to significantly grow the number of Green Gyms nationally from the current 130 to 600.

Lister said: "The an exciting opportunity to work for an organisation that does such valuable work to improve the lives of members of local communities across the UK."

"TCV's commitment to building healthier and happier communities is more important now than ever, and I am looking forward to progressing this through the strengthening of their Green Gym project."

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