Green Gyms officially recognised for health and wellbeing

Community volunteering charity The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) has had its flagship Green Gym programme officially validated at Level 2 on Nesta’s Standards of Evidence, confirming the programme’s positive impact on health, wellbeing and social cohesion.

A Green Gym in action. Image: The Conservation Volunteers
A Green Gym in action. Image: The Conservation Volunteers

TCV’s Green Gym programme sees volunteers at more than 2,000 locations participating in free-to-join outdoor activities that get them active, help them meet new people and improve the local community through activities such as tree planting, food growing and hedge laying.

Green Gym's move to Level 2 is an endorsement for the programme, confirming its positive impact on the communities in which it runs, improves the health and wellbeing of those who participate and improves social cohesion. The Nesta Standard of Evidence measures the impact of the programmes and investments made by Nesta.

Joy Beishon, TCV’s head of Green Gym research, led the National Evaluation of Green Gym that resulted in the award.  The robustness of the research in the National Evaluation of Green Gym was independently assessed by The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) who then awarded level 2 of the Nesta Standards of Evidence.

Beishon said: "The Level 2 validation by Nesta is wonderful news and we are delighted that the positive impact of the Green Gym programme has been officially recognised. We are looking forward to continuing to use the funding awarded by Nesta to further grow our Green Gym offering."

In 2014, the Green Gym programme was awarded a half a million pound investment by the Nesta and the Cabinet Office, with the aim of helping TCV grow their Green Gym offering from over 100 to 600 Green Gyms in five years so that more communities could benefit.

Volunteers in the Tottenham Green Gym. Image: TCV

This funding has been crucial to the ongoing development of TCV’s Green Gym programme, enabling it to significantly expand its evidence base and data capture methods, allowing TCV to be at the forefront of the developing health and green space agenda.

It has also allowed TCV to engage specialists in business development, helping them to move into new sectors such as the NHS and social housing.

Green Gym managing director Craig Lister said: "We are delighted that our Green Gym programme has been officially validated by Nesta. It is a great recognition of the hard work of staff and volunteers across TCV that make Green Gyms such a success.

"TCV and the Green Gym team have a genuine passion for creating healthier, happier communities for everyone, so it’s great that Nesta have recognised this great work and the impact Green Gyms have."

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