GoodGym is a community of runners who come together to provide social support visits to older people and manual labour for community projects.
GoodGym runners volunteer their time for social purpose activities like weekly group runs with a physical task (like clearing leaves in a local park or shifting soil in a community garden), regular weekly runs by volunteers to visit isolated older people (referred to as ‘coaches’) and ’missions’ which are one-off tasks for older people such as support with DIY or gardening. As a result, GoodGym contributes to reducing social isolation, bringing communities together and motivating people to get fit. View the full impact evaluation.
What CSAIF funded:
Good Gym were awarded £245,000 to support the scaling up of their activities across England to become operational in a minimum of 22 areas across England. This included:
Level on Standards: Level 2 - they have captured data that shows positive change, but they cannot confirm they caused this.
Aim: The main objective of the study was to develop and then test a robust evaluation framework to support GoodGym in measuring the outcomes and impacts of its activities involving runners and older people. In developing the framework, specific outcome and impact indicators were selected in order to align with relevant strategic and policy objectives and to meet funders’ preferred measurement approaches.
Methodology (Impact evaluation):
Why this Level: With support from Ecorys, GoodGym have delivered an evaluation that suggests a positive change over time for the beneficiaries that it supports, using appropriate validated tools. Strong qualitative evidence supports some detailed quantitative evidence to provide a convincing indication of impact. Overall this is a good evaluation, which successfully meets the criteria for Level 2 on the Standards.
Progress: Through this evaluation GoodGym has moved from Level 1 to Level 2 on the Nesta Standards of Evidence, reflecting the fact that they are now able to more robustly show a positive change in outcomes. They also now have a usable framework for ongoing monitoring and evaluation by developing tools that are easily integrated into GoodGym’s processes.
Lessons learned: The evaluation has deepened GoodGym’s understanding of impacts for both runners and older people, which are broadly very positive. The evaluation process also highlighted the value for money of the running element of the model, demonstrating that if the work with older people and time spent volunteering by runners can be better monitored and quantified, there will be a stronger case to be made for GoodGym’s value for money.
The biggest challenges presented during the evaluation related to survey response rates, and moving forward GoodGym will consider how best to encourage both runners and older people to participate in follow-up surveys. The evaluation framework developed during the process has been fully integrated into GoodGym's monitoring. GoodGym were pleased with the way the evaluation balanced qualitative and quantitative data and evidence, and makes a strong case despite the sample sizes being smaller than hoped for.
Next steps: GoodGym has secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund and is part of the Accelerating Ideas cohort managed by Nesta. This funding will enable GoodGym to significantly scale up its work with older people, and hugely increase the number of runners participating. As GoodGym scales there will be an opportunity to gather more data to increase this evidence base significantly, and GoodGym will be utilising the tools and processes developed in this evaluation to do so. During this next phase of organisation development GoodGym will seek to build on the evidence of improved wellbeing for older people, as well as to better understand the value of GoodGym for the runners, on whom the business model depends.