Benni Juckes

Windsor and Maidenhead

2Good deeds

2runs

7cheers

Benni Juckes went on a group run
Group run
Windsor and Maidenhead

If you go down to the woods today you're in for a big saw-prise...

Wed 11 Mar
Report written by Amy Lovell

This evening's group run was a real tree-t! We welcomed new runners Joanne, Ana, Anna and Alex, and it was great to have a forest of familiar faces from the last couple of weeks returning, including GoodGym Slough Run Leader Sutyee, and Taskforce members Jen and Sara. Thanks to Jen and her mum Brenda for back-marking and leading our walking group. This month GoodGym are celebrating our wonderful female members, and the good deeds they do, and it was brilliant to see so many women in our group tonight. #EachforEqual

It was a dry evening and there was the tiniest hint of Spring in the air. We warmed up with a few dynamic stretches and running drills outside the Town Hall and then walkers and runners set out together past the library and over the footbridge to the new tow path along York Stream. We then headed South, and crossed over Stafferton Way, continuing along the tow path all the way to the new weir at Green Lane and the Desborough Bowling Club.

If this path seemed unfamiliar, it is not just because it was dark. The path only opened last weekend, and the weir is so new that its opening ceremony is yet to happen. If you are interested in finding out more, head down to the weir and waterway launch event this Saturday from 9am. There will be boat launching, live music, litter picking, wildlife spotting and refreshments. Click here for the full details.

On arrival at the Bowling Club runners looped back to say hi to the walkers until the whole group was back together, giving us the perfect opportunity to sing Happy Birthday to walk leader Jen whilst doing some squats.

By contrast, the second half of this evening's root was a path that is very familiar to the runners of Windsor and Maidenhead: the 'out' bit of Maidenhead Parkrun. Only we were doing it in reverse and in the dark. And when we say dark, we mean very dark... dark enough for us to appreciate looking up at the stars, and to get us wondering which noctural creatures might be watching from the undergrowth and what they would make of the passing red t-shirts, high vis jackets and head-torches.

Our task owner Alistair was unwell so was very sad not to be able to join us, but we were able to find the Nature Centre's two 'woodland classrooms' quite easily and Amy explained the task to the group: carrying old den building poles from one classroom to the other, working in small groups to saw them into 12 inch logs, and putting them in the woodshed. Last year's den building poles become this year's firewood, continuing to fuel children's learning and imagination when they visit on school trips. Whilst planning the task, Alistair explained why camp-fires are an important part of the immersive experience the Nature Centre offers:

Bush-craft is not about pushing ourselves to 'survive' nature, it is about finding ways to be comfortable in nature, to appreciate it and enjoy it. Fire is one of our oldest technologies and is uniquely used by humans in the animal kingdom. There is something primal and powerful about gazing into a camp-fire and connecting with other people around it.

Before we began we checked if there was anyone particularly handy with a saw who would like to demonstrate the technique and it emerged we had a tree surgeon in our midst! Dark horse(chestnut) Rich helped make sure we were choosing the right poles to saw up and gave us a great demo. Everyone pitched in - comparing notes on the best ways to hold a pole steady (using your foot as well was poplar), discussing whether it was advisable to straddle the log, and making sure everyone had got wood. We learned that 12 inches is longer for some than for others and Sara explained that it was all about getting the angle right and getting into the groove.

As arms started to feel saw, we got into the camp-fire spirit and fuelled up on marshmallows. Laura and Allora got busy gathering and stacking the cut logs, and the race was on to see which would disappear first - the old poles or the marshmallows. Amazingly the poles won! We tidied up, celebrated with a quick group photo, and decided it wood be remiss of us not to do a plank. Amy asked everyone to think of a-corny pun for the run report. Most of us were stumped, but Jen summed everything up beautifully: we came, we sawed, we conkered.

Most of us took the same root back to base, but a few runners branched off to get in some extra miles. During our stretches we incorporated a lovely Pilates exercise called 'The Saw', and then it was time to leaf.

Next week we are running to St Edmund Campion Primary school to spruce up an old garage in their school grounds with a lick of paint. We will also have use of their playground, so expect a fun fitness session! Sign up here.

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Benni Juckes signed up to a group run
Group run
Windsor and Maidenhead

Sawing firewood at Braywick Nature Centre

Wed 11 Mar 18:45 pm
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Town Hall, Maidenhead, SL6 1RF
This is going to be saw much fun!

Welcome to GoodGym Windsor and Maidenhead! We're a friendly and social group who combine exercise with helping out in the local community. We meet every Wednesday at Maidenhead Town Hall to get active and do a physical task to help the charities and community organisations in our area.

The Task:

This week we will head into the lovely and leafy Braywick Nature Reserve, where our friends at the Nature Centre need some help preparing firewood. We will work in small groups with hand saws to cut some recently felled trees into 12 inch lengths and to wheelbarrow them back to the Nature Centre to stack in the wood store.

The wood will be left to season over the Summer and will be used in campfires with school groups as part of their outdoor learning the following Winter and Spring.

This is going to be a fantastic upper body workout...we hope our arms won't be too saw the next day!

Please note it will be dark in the woods, so head torches are a must! Please also bring a pair of gardening gloves if you have them.

The Run/Walk:

GoodGym is for everyone. We welcome runners of all abilities and this week it is possible to walk to the task if you would prefer. We always have a back-marker so no-one is left behind - we're about achieving something together so you'll always be welcome no matter what your pace is.

See you there!

GoodGym Windsor and Maidenhead has been made possible with the support of The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council

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Benni Juckes has done their first good deed with GoodGym. Wed 26 Feb 2020

Benni is a now a fully fledged GoodGym runner. They've just run to do good for the first time. They are out there making amazing things happen and getting fit at the same time.

Benni Juckes went on a group run
Group run
Windsor and Maidenhead

Manure hands make light work

Wed 26 Feb
Report written by Amy Lovell

At this evening's launch event for GoodGym Windsor and Maidenhead 44 runners ran 5km to help the Maidenhead Community Allotment.

Considering it had been hailing just a few hours previously, this was a fantastic turnout, and a sign of the grit and commitment we now know to expect from the good people of Windsor and Maidenhead. There was much chatter and anticipation as the group gathered in the foyer of the Town Hall. It was great to see 32 new faces, as well as a group of superstar GoodGym tourists from Slough and Ealing, and GoodGym gurus Liv, Rebecca and Rich from head office.

New Trainer Amy welcomed everyone, including special guest Councillor Karen Davies, Ward Councillor for Clewer East, and introduced Helen Preedy, the Sports Development Manager for the borough.

Since seeing a GoodGym advertisment a few years ago on the London Underground, Helen and her colleague Mark have worked hard to bring the GoodGym dream to Windsor and Maidenhead, and to realise the potential it has to bring people together from different parts of the community and to boost both mental and physical health...

...helping both Maidenhead and (Maiden)body as one wannabe pun-queen put it.

Amy then shared the plan for the evening, the walkers headed off down the high-street and the runners headed to the outdoor amphi-theatre for a quick warm-up. This Maidenhead gem is lit like a real theatre, even on a chilly night in February, lending a dramatic atmosphere to a few leg swings and high knees. The criss-cross had a few of us going cross-eyed and some may still be wondering what Wendy calls that hip limbering move.

Then the runners were off too - chatting as they looped over the smart new foot-bridge, and down the High Street to catch up with the walkers. After the under-pass towards High Town Road the group spread out a bit more as they tackled Castle Hill. Special mentions go to front-runner Frances whose local knowledge kept everyone heading in the right direction, and to Adrian who won the best dressed award in his smart coat - proving that you don't need fancy lycra to be a runner!

No mucking around

At the task we were warmly welcomed by volunteers from the Maidenhead Community Allotment and the Men in Sheds, who had already begun preparations for our visit - not least of all collecting 53 bags of horse manure! After a briefing from the Chairman of the Men in Sheds and a group photo - everyone grabbed a tool and quickly set to work. Within minutes four raised beds and a long border were dug over and being enriched with mulch enthusiasm and shouts of 'I'm pooing over here!' from Emily. Meanwhile another group were getting diggy with it in the sensory area, removing turf to increase the area for planting.

The vision for the allotment is that it can benefit the community in more ways than one: the raised beds are used for growing veg, which is donated to Foodshare, the Boyn Grove Resource and Community Centre's Bridge That Gap Cafe next door, and also used by local residents and the allotment volunteers; the sensory area is used by the neighbouring Clara Court Care Home, which specialises in dementia care. Their residents will be planting and enjoying flowers in this area in the coming months; and the Men in Sheds offer a space for 'shedders' to benefit from regular social interaction and enjoy new and improved practical skills.

We do give a fig

After a quick strategy planning meeting behind the shed, the fig tree relocation team sprung into action. Nick set to work loosening the pot from its old home and others took turns digging a new hole, which will be more accessible for watering. Unphased by hitting concrete, they powered on until the hole was deep enough for the pot. Amy enquired as to whether anyone was getting cold...Fig goodness sake Amy, this is an even better workout than the run up the hill!

The walkers departed as the rest of the team swept up and tidied away the tools, and then the mulchers did a bit of running on the spot while the fig tree was tucked into its new bed. Manure hands really do make light work and we were really impressed by how much we had achieved as we set off back along the Bath Road and down the hill. We congregated in Kidwells Park for our fitness session, the CONES OF DOOM. This speed circuits session had everyone running around in circles, squatting, hopping, mountain climbing and even dancing for 5 minutes before we once more filled the High Street on our way back to the Town Hall.

Coming up...

If you enjoyed this evening's launch then you will be pleased to know we have our next group run starting at the same time in the same place next week, and every week after that! Next week we have an indoor task, stickering and sorting boxes of donated books for the Big Read book festival. We were lucky enough this evening to have the Chairman of the Big Read, Stephan joining us on our run. We hope lots of you will sign up here to help Stephan next week.

On today's run we also introduced Rich, who helps coordinate coach runs and missions to help isolated older people. These activities are another great way you can get involved with GoodGym and combine your fitness fix with helping in your community. Click on the links or ask Amy at your next group run for more info.

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Benni Juckes signed up to a group run
Group run
Windsor and Maidenhead

Helping at the Maidenhead Community Allotment - Launch event

Wed 26 Feb 18:45 pm
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Town Hall, Maidenhead, SL6 1RF
Join us to support this brilliant community space for our first ever session in Maidenhead

Welcome to GoodGym Windsor and Maidenhead's first group run!

We're a friendly group who combines exercise with volunteering. We meet every Wednesday at Maidenhead Town Hall where we go for a run and do a physical task to help the charities and community organisations in our town.

The Task:

For our task this evening we'll be supporting Maidenhead Community Allotment, who grow veg and herbs for the local community, including Foodshare and the Boyn Grove Community and Resource Centre. Our task for this evening includes:

  • Clearing winter veg
  • Mulching
  • Harvesting some New Zealand yams
  • Filling up water butts
  • Tidying around the allotment's old shed
  • Moving a fig tree

The Run:

We meet at 6.45pm ready to run at 7pm. GoodGym is for everyone and we welcome runners of all abilities, this week it is also possible to walk to the task if you would prefer. We always have a back-marker so no-one is left behind - we're about achieving something together so you'll always be welcome no matter what your pace is! If you have any questions or you're worried about the task or run then just contact me.

See you there!

Special thanks to the Men in Sheds for allowing us to use their tools. Men in Sheds is a group who aim to tackle loneliness by providing a space where men can connect and chat over practical tasks.

GoodGym Windsor and Maidenhead has been made possible with the support of The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council

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