TCV created and runs Green Gyms across the UK.
Green Gyms are fun and free outdoor sessions where you will be guided in practical activities such as planting trees, sowing meadows and establishing wildlife ponds.
Unlike other conservation projects, the emphasis is very much on health and fitness - volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities.
Conservation work is my best workout each week
Green Gym volunteer
In fact, almost a third more calories can be burnt in some Green Gym sessions than in an average aerobics class!
The Department of Health and GPs recognise the invaluable impact that Green Gyms can have on those who take part.
GPs now prescribe Green Gym sessions to patients to encourage them to improve their health and wellbeing. By taking part, participants are encouraged to make positive changes to their lifestyle, such as walking and cycling more.
Green Gym helped me to regain the confidence to return to employment and I now have a full-time job
Green Gym volunteer – Portslade Green Gym, East Sussex
Green Gyms also enhance mental wellbeing through increased contact with nature, the social benefits of group activity and helping people contribute something positive to their community. TCV work closely with partners, including mental health charity Mind, to continually innovate Green Gyms to ensure that they maximise the benefits for participants.
The demand for Green Gyms is growing with more launching each year - in urban centres such as London the number of Green Gyms has grown by 500% since 2011. With the rise in physical inactivity, isolation and the resulting health issues Green Gyms provide opportunities for individuals to connect with nature and their community, and co-create high quality and sustainable green spaces.
We are also working with Mind on an innovative new project called Pro-Active Minds. This will promote individual resilience and wellbeing for people who are at risk of developing a mental health condition or who have otherwise presented with emotional distress. Funded by the Department of Health this development phase will be delivered in key areas across London (Hackney, Hounslow, Enfield and Newham), and piloted nationally. Pro-Active Minds will utilise a sustainable volunteer-led, peer support model within an ecotherapy setting based on a framework of Five Ways to Wellbeing.
Love it! You always feel so much better after being out in the fresh air, getting your hands dirty... you always have a good laugh!
Roisin from the Benedy Gardening Club Green Gym
Tempted to try it out? Why not join in with one of TCV's 100 Green Gyms across the country, get fit, meet new people and transform your local environment and community.
Would your organisation like to help the local community by setting up a brand new Green Gym? Or would you like to support one of our established Green Gyms?
TCV has a range of flexible corporate sponsorship options for organisations who would like to work with us.