Evaluation of the Grow Well Project

Carolyn Wallace, Rebecca Nicholls, Lisa Griffiths, Megan Elliott

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This evaluation aimed to understand how, why and for whom the Grow Well project worked and to what extent? We did this by:
• Better understanding the needs of participants and staff, and fully theorising how the intervention works (Cycle 1).
• Building and refining the theory to understand how it works, for whom and to what extent (Cycle 2).
• Building the bespoke monitoring tool/framework (building from Cycle1 & 2), providing recommendations for using the tool in practice (Cycle 3).
It is important to note that major adaptations to the evaluation were necessary in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.
Key Messages to understand how, why and for whom the Grow Well project works and to what extent.

The Grow Well project has three distinct elements, the volunteers themselves, the Grow Well project (including its staff and processes), and its position within the community. We have summarised in four bullet points the answers we found to the original questions we asked at the beginning of this evaluation:
• How Grow Well works: a number of elements contributed to how Grow Well works, including the power of prescription, co-production and choice, sensory effects of green spaces - in this case the Grow Well garden, therapeutic support of trained staff and by offering opportunities for interpersonal connections.
• Why Grow Well works: several underpinning theories were identified such as Banduras Social Cognitive Theory (1986), Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory (1989), Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1954, 1962, 1987) and Deci’s Self Determination Theory (2008) to support why Grow Well works.
• For whom Grow Well works for: Individuals with health and wellbeing troubles who already have their basic needs met (such as food, shelter, safety etc.).
• To what extent: a range of volunteer benefits were evidenced in this evaluation such as reduced social isolation, improvements to mental, physical, and social health, increased social capital and a sense of belonging to one’s community.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages66
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • social prescribing
  • garden
  • realist evaluation
  • wellbeing
  • primary care


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