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!
We're starting the year with a litter pick - start as you mean to go on afterall!
We'll be litter picking the Botley Road and Osney Mead areas. There is always a lot of litter along this main route into Oxford and the busy Osney Mead Industrial Estate, but we don't often get out West for a clean up. Tonight we'll set that right.
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 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 across the city centre in time if we walk. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets. It is about 2 miles to West Oxford Community Centre.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm outside the West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road, OX2 0BT. The community centre will be closed, so we won't have access to toilets, but there are bike racks and parking immediately outside.
Chloe has helped keep other people motivated, Chloe has noticed what others have done and cheered 10 people. We doff our caps to you Chloe.
Does it get any more festive than breaking out the wrapping paper and spending and evening surrounded by Christmas presents?!
Last night we had 2 tasks to complete - constructing and wrapping the boxes needed by Shoebox Project for their Christmas gift packs, and making a start on Operation Christmas Gift for Oxford Mutual Aid. Fortunately we were able to take over the Richard Benson Hall where the food bank is based and do both tasks there - saving us from a logistical nightmare!
On arrival we got stuck into (literally in some cases) the flat-pack boxes for the Shoebox Project. They were easy enough to construct, but quite tricky to find the best way to cover them in wrapping paper! Still, a bit of puzzling and perseverance paid off and everyone seemed to find a good method in the end, getting all 20 boxes covered in Christmas paper, and a few even decorated with festive bows and ribbons too.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the hall we tackled the mountain of Christmas gift donations. First we hauled the crates out and worked out what was actually in them, categorising by recipient age. Then we started picking out the gifts for households on the Monday food parcel delivery routes; wrapping them, labelling them up and putting them into crates ready to be added to food parcels in the week leading up to Christmas. We were the trial run for the system, so there was a bit to figure out, but once we'd got the hang of where everything was we got into the swing of it very efficiently.
As people finished their Shoe boxes we redeployed them over to gift corner to unpack and categorise the pile of incoming gift donations which hadn't yet been opened or sorted.
We definitely left the task feeling festive, but I must remember to bring Christmas TUNES for next week!
Project Shoebox has been one of our favourite festive tasks over the last couple of years.
Volunteers collect toiletries, self-care items, fluffy socks, confectionary etc to pack as gift boxes for individuals and families who are in Oxfordshire domestic abuse refuges, homeless shelters, or who are refugees/asylum seekers. The aim is to offer a bit of kindness in a tough time.
Packing a box is like a very festive game of Tetris - if it rattles you can fit more in!
Please note: the hall where this task has been held in previous years is unlikely to be able to host this year, so venue is TBC. Will confirm asap. Please wear a mask.
Shoebox Project have been struggling to find a location to pack their parcels this year. I got a few offers from places we work with (Ark-T and East Oxford Community Centre) which I have passed on to the ShoeBox Project organiser, but so far (Monday afternoon) I have no word on whether they’re sorted for a location this Wednesday. I don’t want to keep you hanging on for news for too long, so my plan is that we will base ourselves at Richard Benson Hall (the Oxford Mutual Aid food bank). If Shoebox Project are able to get items over to us there we will pack for them. Otherwise we will unpack Christmas gift donations and sort them for OMA and do a few other tasks around the food bank.
There's only space for a few people on this task, but there is a fitness session on the Roger Bannister track too this evening if you miss out on this task.
This week Goodgym Oxford will venture to Harcourt Hill Parkrun to marshal and encourage the young runners.
There will then be a small jog (around 5k) with some hill sprints throw in for laughs…….!
If you sign up please send me (Bethan) your barcode number so I can tell Harcourt Hill who to expect and get us on the roster.
What a lot of litter!
Helping Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon 17 runners, walkers and cyclists met at Rose Hill Community Center where Trev and Katherine from RHILC explained how we can help the environment by clearing up our litter.. or in this case Rose Hills!...
no strangers to mess the last time we were in Rose Hill in April we cleared an amazing amount from under the bridge Watch the video if you missed it!! Trev initially was worried there wasn't much to be picked on this Wednesday evening in November... how wrong he was!...
So splitting into group, we covered streets around the Oval, Rivermead Road, Spencer Crescent and Asquith Road, and the Southern Bypass (a little futher along that last time!). The estate is now looking spick and span but there is still quite a bit on the Bypass (why do people chuck rubbish from their cars? or even bag whole bags of rubbish or clothes and not take it to... a bin!!!)
Pant, yes! Shopping Trolleys, tick! Pumpkin, indeed.. Mog the forgotten cat, aww.... serial killer in the paper, aahhhhhh!!! we got a bit of everything! Thanks especially to the committed GGers who were stuck on the A34 on the way to the task.. no COPing out though and even Bethan and Lorenzo joined us in the end! Top picking commitment guys!
If you would like to know more about RHILC, or to get involved please do goto the website, sign up to the mailing list or let Trev know!
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