Ark-T are a cultural hub for Oxford's Christmas Lights Festival, which launches on Friday, so last night they called in GoodGym to get the play space and back garden fully dressed with fairy lights in preparation for the event.
Everyone got very creative - trees, shrubs, fences, and boulders were all artfully draped in fairy lights - but biggest KUDOS goes to Hattie for spelling out ARK T in fairy lights on the play space fence!
We worked away for an hour or so, sweeping up leaves in garden and play space, uncoiling and detangling strings of lights, scratching our heads a little over making sure all the links connected correctly, and trying to ensure we didn't create any trip hazards. The big switch-on of the power was our reward, as the garden and play space turned into a magical kingdom of twinkling lights. It'll look beautiful on Friday.
The John Radcliffe Hospital has requested our help to clear up the litter around the site. There are lots of masks, food wrappers, cigarette butts etc. They are hoping that we can do a big sweep around most of the site, so we will divide into smaller teams of approximately 6 people to head in different directions and clear up as much as we can.
Things to note for this task:
Please wear a HI-Vis if you have one. We have a few spares which we will bring along. Although we will be sticking to the pavements as far as we possibly can there's a lot of traffic around the site and I want you to be as visible as possible.
On which note, if you have a torch or head torch please bring that too.
Litter pickers and bags will be provided, but if you have your own litter picker do bring it please.
Gloves are always good kit to have for litter picking.
* 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 5:45pm. There will just be a running group this week as it is a little too far to get to the John Radcliffe Hospita in time if we walk. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets. It is just under 2 miles to the hospital.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm at the layby as you enter the hospital site off Headley Way. Location pin here.
The Ark-T centre are a cultural hub for Oxford's Christmas Lights Festival. The lights need to be set up by 19th November for the evening launch. Tonight we will be getting our twinkle on dressing the Ark-T playspace and back garden with fairy lights!
* 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 there. It's a little over a mile to Ark-T from there.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm at the Ark-T Centre
There's a Fireworks Display on Sat 6th November in South Parks. It's usually a really good display with a seriously toasty bonfire!
Tickets are £8 but if you add this code ICANTWAIT you get a quid off.
We'll meet at the East Oxford Community Centre (EOCC) at 6:00pm.
More info: https://oxfordfireworks.co.uk/the-event
Bryony has helped keep other people motivated, Bryony has noticed what others have done and cheered 10 people. We doff our caps to you Bryony.
So....it's back to loitering in the car park outside the food bank in the dark! How many of you had a major sense of deja vue last night?!
Oxford Mutual Aid runs a food bank out of the Richard Benson Hall on the Cowley Road. It is the only 7-days-a-week food support available in Oxford, and offers both regular support to households and emergency provision. Overall food parcels are sent out to over 300 households in Oxford every week. Last week, for example, 368 parcels were prepared and supplied, which helped over 1100 adults, children and babies. Hundreds of prepared meals were also sent out under the Kitchen Collective programme.
We've been a weekly fixture on the Oxford Mutual Aid volunteer rota for a year now, but last night was something a little different - Oxford Mutual Aid called in the GoodGym flash mob for a blitz through tasks at the food bank which are usually difficult to get done with such a busy weekly schedule of food parcel picking.
Team work makes the dream work. Never a truer word spoken!
* Took bulk boxes of pasta and portioned them out into 500g servings.
* Took the 10kg bags of rice and scooped them into 500g portions.
* Broke down the cardboard boxes, turning cardboard mountain into an orderly stack.
* Portioned out hundreds of nappies into individual packs.
* Bagged up tea bags.
* Portioned up sultanas.
* Restocked the shelves.
* Labelled up previously portioned pasta.
* Put away donations.
* Sorted out the kitchen - cleaning fridges and floors, throwing out the food waste, getting all the fruit and veg deliveries in order.
* Swept up in the main hall.
* Helped drivers load up their food parcels for delivery.
* Delivered 2 food parcels.
We also took the opportunity to rotate through training on how to prepare food parcels with Sarah, the Hall Manager. It was a great opportunity as a refresher for those who pack parcels regularly, and a helpful introduction to those who haven't taken on that task at the food bank previously. I hope you'll all feel more confident having had some dedicated training time.
After the last food parcel had been loaded up, the last box of pasta decanted, and we'd nearly run out of nappy space we called it a night. There's so rarely time for the tasks we took on during a normal week at the food bank, so an hour or so of our time makes a big difference to how easy it is to prep food parcels for the coming days. Since it seemed to work well we'll do this task again before Christmas
Bethan lead a breakaway group of runners on a 5k trot post-task, including a sprint-jog lamp post workout along Meadow Lane with added llama spotting. Thank you Bethan!
Tonight we are litter picking around Rose Hill. There is often a lot of litter around The Oval and the estate surrounding it, and with both the community centre and the primary school in the area it would be a better example to the younger generation if it was litter free.
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 now I suggest hi-vis if you have them, and headtorches would be helpful for everyone. I'll bring our portable lights and 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 5:45pm. There will just be a running group this week as it is a little too far to get to Rose Hill in time if we walk. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets. It is just under 2 miles to Rose Hill.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm outside the Rose Hill Community Centre, Carole's Way, OX4 4HF
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 Bethan will be leading a 5k run after we finish at the food bank. All welcome, so come in your running kit if you fancy a social run.