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, clearing play areas, sowing meadows and establishing wildlife ponds.
Unlike other conservation projects, there is a clear focus on improving health and fitness. Volunteers are led through a warm up in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities, and a cool down before heading off for the rest of their day.
The Department of Health and many GPs recognise the impact that Green Gyms can have on those who take part and GPs now prescribe Green Gym sessions to patients to encourage them to improve their health and wellbeing. TCV Green Gym sessions have been demonstrated to enhance mental wellbeing due to the social benefits of outdoor group activity, through increased contact with nature and the cheerful feeling we all get when we have contributed something positive to our community.
So not only do these sessions improve your health and stamina, they also benefit local green spaces and communities too.
Conservation work is my best workout each week
Green Gym volunteer
Social prescribing recognises how social, economic and environmental factors affect people’s health, where medication alone is unlikely to provide a sustainable improvement. It connects patients with support in their local community to help address their health issues holistically and give them greater control of their own health and wellbeing.
TCV’s Green Gym programme, now in its 20th year, is already part of the social prescribing approach, reflecting its positive impact on both physical health and mental wellbeing.
Because of our experience and strong links across the health, academic and the wider charitable sectors we have been chosen to lead a national programme on social prescribing working closely with the NHS, universities and community groups across the UK. This important work is funded by a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
TCV’s guided Health Walks are short, friendly walks lasting no longer than an hour. Anyone can join in. These walks are designed to encourage active lifestyles and would benefit anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing.
The routes are easy, avoiding tricky terrain, steep hills and stiles where possible and our friendly, volunteer Walk Leaders are there to support you every step of the way.
Health Walks provide a pleasant way to gradually improve health and well-being and could be for you if you are recovering from illness or injury, getting little exercise or lacking in confidence and self-esteem. Having said that, the majority of walkers stay because they enjoy the social aspects of taking part and meeting new people! Our free Health Walks take place at various places around the country.