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Durham e-Theses
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Exploring community gardening as a complex public health
intervention: an action research study

CONNOR, NATALIE (2020) Exploring community gardening as a complex public health
intervention: an action research study.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The aim of this thesis was to involve local people in developing a tailored community gardening intervention in County Durham, to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of this intervention, and explore perceived outcomes from participation. A mixed methods approach was used, with three studies undertaken.

Study One consisted of three focus groups in community venues. Three themes emerged which informed intervention design. ‘Nourishing Neighbourhoods’ was the resultant six-month community garden intervention within which Study Two
and Three were embedded, utilising a non-experimental pre-test/post-test design.

Study Two aimed to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention across four sites. 41 participants were recruited, 36 started the project (88 %
retention) and 28 remained engaged at endpoint (76 % adherence). Attrition stopped by week eight. There was no increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, no change in BMI scores, a reduction in time spent in moderate physical activity, walking and sitting and an increase in vigorous physical activity. There was an improvement in both physical and mental components of quality of life, with strong emphasis on improved social functioning.

Study Three used pre- and post- intervention focus groups to evaluate overall perceptions of the intervention, engagement with different intervention components, and exploration of the perceived outcomes from participation. Five main themes emerged.

Findings demonstrated that ‘Nourishing Neighbourhoods’ used feasible and acceptable methods to recruit and retain participants, and collect data. In addition, community gardening has the potential to have a positive effect on health and wellbeing outcomes. The physical act of gardening is not necessarily the motivating factor; meeting new people, developing skills, ‘me time’, and being involved in a family activity are important. Community involvement developing the intervention is crucial to encourage ownership, responsibility and sustainability. Older people, who are usually hard to reach, were more likely to engage, which could be of importance when tackling the growing pressures of an ageing population.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Community gardening; green space; coproduction; action research; complex intervention; public health
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Sport and Exercise Sciences, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 May 2020 15:10

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