There are 4 fruit trees to plant replacing community trees which sadly died earlier in the year in Rose Hill. (note GG might not plant these are RHILC members are keen to and there are only 4, but we can help them if needed!.. thankfully our GoodGym Tree is doing well! so we can look at this!). but
We would also like to * mulch the many trees from last year, * make sure they are weeded, * make sure trees are protected * do a litter pick of the recreation ground
Oxford Mutual Aid is a 7-days-a-week food bank operation, delivering food parcels to people across the city. They are staffed almost entirely by volunteers, so we try to help out once or twice a week to keep that vital food getting to people.
For the last few months Oxford Mutual Aid have been very short-staffed on Saturday shifts at the food bank, so we have spent much of our time on this shift catching up on packing food parcels to be sent out that afternoon. We will give training on this if you haven't done it before. Obviously, providing the food is the highest priority, but we always try and make sure we do some cleaning and sorting out too, as there aren't many opportunities to do that throughout the week.
Please wear a mask.
In a dark, dark city,
There was a dark, dark road,
And off that dark, dark road,
There was a dark, dark path,
And along that dark, dark path,
There was a dark, dark school,
And a dark, dark brook,
And a dark, dark nature reserve,
And dark, dark allotments.
And all of them were blighted by litter,
Blowing in from the dark, dark path.
It was certainly a dark, dark, cold, cold night for litter picking last night!
It was well worth wrapping up warm, donning our hi-vis and head torches and patrolling the paths and cycle ways of Boundary Brook area to clear up the litter and fly-tipping. It's a litter grot spot just where you wouldn't want one (I mean, we don't want them anywhere, but this is particularly bad) - by two primary schools, edging a waterway and a nature reserve, and one of the worst areas is right outside the Children's Allotment.
We filled a couple of dozen litter bags with masks, cans, newspapers, takeaway cartons, and all the usual litter suspects. More surprising were the lengths of carpet, kitchen sink and assorted other flytipping!
Welcome to GoodGym Megan!
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was an allotment site tucked away down a littery lane. Now these allotments were a thing of beauty with plenty of flowers, and fruit trees, and chirruping birds. The sun shone, the river didn't (often) flood, and the allotment holders were happy.
But ill-fortune befell some of the plots, and land was abandoned. In the place of flowers and vegetables grew a large hedge of thorns. Every year the brambles grew higher and thicker, 'til at last the abandoned plots were covered and hidden, and not even the greenhouses and swings could be seen.
Rumours abounded throughout the land of how beautiful a place stood behind the thicket of thorns down the littered lane. It was said that flowers had once bloomed with abandon and palm tree fronds would rustle in the breeze. After some years there came a group of intrepid souls who were not afraid, and thus it came to be that one fine Sunday morning in January a fearsome army of GoodGymers met outside the Redbridge Household Waste Recycling Centre (oh yes).
Armed with secateurs, and thick gloves, and loppers they toiled tirelessly under the blazing sun (as blazing as it gets in January) to vanquish the brambles and return allotment plots 204 and 275 to their former glory. For eons (2 hours) they battled thorns and brambles, ruthlessly weeded and pruned, and discovered such treasures as crutches, broken glass and rusty chairs beneath the thicket of thorns. As the sun passed high noon the GoodGymers retired from the fight for the day, retreating to refuel and tend their wounds (a few minor bramble snags - nothing worthy of the accident book!). Undefeated and undeterred they will surely return to continue the battle another day.
Now we hope that plots 204 and 275 meet their perfect gardener and live Happily Ever After.
Ben has completed their 15th good deed with GoodGym
Last night we blitzed the tidying and organising tasks at the Oxford Mutual Aid food bank. As a 7-days-a-week operation there's rarely time to pause and take stock due to the overwhelming need to get the food parcels prepared, so a GoodGym flash-mob every now and then helps to get everything back in order.
This week there have been lots of large donations in from other food banks and larders which needed sorting into crates of similar items then stored properly. Also, now that we're into the New Year all the leftover Christmas items needed to be organised so that they can be stored off site instead of taking up precious space in the hall.
We divided into teams and got to work:
* Lorenzo headed up a group sorting through all the recent food donations, crating them up with like-items and stacking them away in a more organised fashion.
* Rachael took her team to the kitchen to sort through the fresh fruit and veg and dispose of any that were too mushy/mouldy to send out, organising the fridges into expiry-date order, and giving the whole area a good clean, before moving on to portioning up bulk bags of pasta.
* Bethan's crew sorted through mountains of Christmas gifts, categorising by age of recipient, and then picking a few crates to remain at the hall as birthday gifts and labelling everything else up for off-site storage.
* Holly, Vicky and Ben did the heavy lifting, re-organising the tin-can corner to make more storage space. Hope your arm muscles aren't too achey this morning!
* Last, but not least, Dan tackled cardboard mountain, flattening the pile of boxes and crushing as many as possible into the recycling bin.
We've already had effusive thanks from the Oxford Mutual Aid organising team:
"This is is so, so helpful! Thank you thank you!"
"Thank you SO SO MUCH"
"I've just been in and everything looks like a dream."
Great work team. Well done!
Oxford Mutual Aid have asked for a GoodGym flash mob at the Richard Benson Hall food bank tonight.
There’s lots to do:
* Portioning out bulk bags of rice, pasta, and chickpeas.
* Restocking the food shelves.
* Sorting through the fresh food and throwing out food waste.
* Breaking down cardboard boxes.
* Helping load up food parcels for delivery.
We ask that you wear a mask inside the food bank.
Tonight we will meet at the task - Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd - at 6pm. It’s next door to St Mary & St John church. There won’t be a run to the task but there will be a 5k run after we finish at the food bank. We’ll also provide a run-walk option for those starting Couch-2-5k this month. All welcome, so come in your running kit if you fancy a social run.
Tonight we'll be litter picking around the circumference of Florence Park and along the Boundary Brook cycle path. There is always a lot of litter around this area which spills into the surrounding park, nature reserve and allotments. Tonight we'll do our best to sort that out.
We know you love a good plog - one of our most satisfying tasks - let's get to work!
Litter pickers and bags will be provided but please bring your own gloves. As the evenings are dark please wear hi-vis if you have them, and headtorches would be helpful for everyone. I'll bring a couple of spare head torches.
* Anyone wishing to run to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 6pm. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets. It is less than a mile to run to the litter pick location, and we plan on there being a walking option too. We can take a longer route back so that you feel like you've had a good leg-stretch!
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm outside Larkrise Primary School on Boundary Brook Road, OX4 4AN
Last night we started 2022 as we mean to go on, helping the food bank and litter picking some of the city grot spots!
Heading West for the first time in a few months we planned to tackle the Osney Mead/Botley Road litter. Although we don't get out that way regularly we're still familiar with some of the favourite dumping grounds: around any park bench (even if there's a bin right next to it), car parks, and bushy hedge are surefire litter gold mines. Our 3 teams set off in different directions - forming a pincer movement from each end of the Osney Mead Industrial Estate, with the 3rd group cleaning up the known dumping ground in the small park next to the bridge. Sure enough, we were soon laden with gin bottles (some fancy artisan gin drinkers in Oxford green spaces), clothing, cans, takeaway containers, newspapers (old skool!), the ever-present masks, even a pair of steel toe-cap boots and a trolley!
An hour of litter picking in freezing temperatures yielded over 20 sacks of trash. We came away thinking that it's high time the UK stole Rwanda's system of Umuganda: "Umuganda is a national holiday in Rwanda taking place on the last Saturday of every month for a morning of mandatory nationwide community work. Participation in umuganda is required by law, and has resulted in notable improvement in the cleanliness of Rwanda."
Welcome to GoodGym Chris!