For this evaluation a mixed method approach was used: a short questionnaire survey collected once a month, for 3 months (December 2015, January and February 2016) and a series of qualitative interviews with volunteers and referral partners. Twelve Green Gyms took part in the study, representing 18% of all Green Gyms in England; seven are direct delivery and five are community led. Four of the nine English regions participated in the study, with Green Gyms in London and the South-East in the majority.
The evaluation objectives were to;
A Department of Health Section 64 grant enabled The Conservation Volunteers to apply the Green Gym model to 9 primary schools between January 2007 and March 2009, thus helping to address concerns such as growing childhood obesity and depression. The Conservation Volunteers commissioned Oxford Brookes University, who evaluate the adult Green Gym, to undertake an independent evaluation of the School Green Gym pilot.
From 2003 to 2008, The Conservation Volunteers commissioned the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University to undertake a national evaluation into the benefits of participation in Green Gym.
The School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University independently evaluated the pilot Green Gym projects in Oxfordshire and East Sussex.
The first report, published in 1999, established the impact the Green Gym has on improving fitness and physical health
The second report, published in 2001, examined the positive effects the Green Gym can have upon mental health and well-being