Dilly completed a community mission. Instead of watching TV or lying in bed, Dilly was out there making their community a better place to be. For making that choice they have earned the community cape.
‘Did you know that 41% of all children are living in poverty in our local area alone? Every donation we receive finds a loving home with a local child that would otherwise go without this winter.’
It’s a Wrap are a wonderful not-for-profit organisation that make sure that all of the children in Hounslow receive a Christmas present, even if they come from a disadvantaged background. GoodGym Hounslow have helped out It’s a Wrap on their Christmas missions before in years past, and we had a task a few weeks back where we wrote out tags and cards for presents.
This time though, it was time to get the gifts dressed up and ready for delivery. Four of us braved the chilly December morning and met at the Access Self Storage centre in Isleworth - or today, the Elf Storage centre! We met up with one of the charity team, who led up to our spot for the day. Covid had been cruel, and we were squeezed into a corner. But hey, we had our tape, our paper, our gifts and our labels, plus our enthusiasm and good will, and we parked ourselves into the floor and got stuck in (literally, that tape was a nightmare).
Just like the Waitresses in that famous festive song, we got Christmas Wrapping. We tried several different combinations to find what was most effective - was it doing it all individually, or was a present production line more efficient? Michelle took the gifts and cut wrapping paper to the right size for Dilly and Alanna to wrap. Lucy wrote the labels out and stuck them on - some of the presents were gifted from donors and have lovely messages on from members of the public or other organisations.
We swapped roles at times (mainly because Michelle was terrible at making sure the paper she cut was big enough to cover the whole present), and before long we had worked our way through all the gifts for the bambino’s, and onto the 3-5 year olds. We were then given a task of preparing presents for a group of young refugee children. There was a mixture of boys and girls of all ages, so we had to search the present donations for suitable things - books for the babies, connect four, a secret diary and one 6-8 year old girl was about to get the most fantastic set of Sparkle Girlz dolls.
Like proper little festive elves, we had filled bags of professional wrapped gifts. Unfortunately, we discovered the self storage unit on a December morning wasn’t really a present wrapping location. The doors opened and closed for lorries, which was noisy and cold, and it’s really not easy to use scissors or a pen when you can’t feel your fingers. Nonetheless, we did over two hours on the floor! Safe in the knowledge that hundreds of children would get something wrapped by us this Christmas, we finished up. We were thanked with celebrations and left on a hunt for hot drinks and warmer climates.
Mission complete… It’s a Wrap!
That's A Wrap charity aims to give every single child living in poverty in Hounslow a gift this Christmas. They have been doing a big toy drive, but now need help wrapping all the gifts and have asked us to lend a hand.
This is an indoor task, so please bring and wear a mask. All the resources you'll need will be provided by the charity. The location is the storage unit at Access Self Storage, if you have any trouble finding it, you can reach Saba, who will be running the mission, on 07719408213.
It was distinctly nippier in Hounslow last night than it has been in previous weeks, so we started off the group run with a warm up that got our temperatures up in no time and maybe tested our coordination and reflexes a little too - goodness knows what the passing cars thought with the constant changing direction, jumps and floor touches!
Before we set off on our run we each talked about one little or big thing we are doing to fight the climate crisis in light of COP 26 happening this week. You're a true group of eco warriors, pledging to take fewer flights and more public transport, reducing meat or even going vegan, and switching off machines in standby.
It was a short run down to Strand on the Green school, where we arrived to find that Janitor Claire had left us out a barrow full of all the tools we'd need to stain the wooden structures in the playground to protect them from the rain, and also to clear the paths of leaves. Wasting no time, we split into teams and got to work.
With the painting team enjoying the impossibly small chairs and wendyhouses (with Beth even getting inside one to check out the teeny dimensions while also giving it a lick of paint) the leaf clearing team did a sterling work making sure the drive and playground was free of rotting leaves while discussing the terrifying old bonfire night public service announcements urging us never to pick up a sparkler after it had gone out. We even discovered that there are no native hedgehogs in America. Who knew?!
Jobs done and tools away, our GG heroes took on the Leg Finisher. This was just as brutal as it sounds, with six different exercises all designed to work our leg muscles to the max. There was some great form on the cursty lunges (looking at you, Paul!), serious height on the squat jumps, and some technical prowess from the ballet dancers on the plié squat calf raises. Amazing job team!
A quick run back to the Town Hall and some stretches and we were ready to get somewhere warm. Next week we have been challenged to clear an overgrown area outside a local church. Hope to see you there! Until then, run happy and sustainably, GoodGym.
Strand-on-the-Green school have asked for help clearing fallen leaves so the children don't slip and preserving some wood for the winter.
Bring your headtorch for this one as it is quite a dark area. We'll also squeeze in a fitness session before heading back for 8pm.
It all started so well last night! Little did we know there would be a minor hiccup to come...more on that later.
First, the good news. We got to welcome Carly to her very first GoodGym session - give her a huge cheer! Then, after our warm up, we discussed the best tips we had for motivating people struggling to get out for a run, and there was some fabulous advice. From finding a pretty route, to going with a friend, warming up properly, to 'just do it', there really is no reason not to get out there!
With rain threatening, we set off at a nice lick to Gunnersbury Park, a beautiful public space where we regularly help out to keep it safe and welcoming for local people. We found that we had been left a sweet treat to say thanks for our previous work, and especially because the park has just been awarded Gold in London in Bloom competition and also The Green Flag Award for this year. Monika, one of the gardeners at Gunnersbury said, ' It is thanks to the help of our gardening volunteers and groups like GoodGym, that we are able to maintain the park to such high standard. Having the help gives us also a chance to look after the existing flower beds, create new planting areas, and by managing the brambles, to increase the biodiversity of the parkland.' So well done team!
Our job for the evening was the cut back the brambles that were choking a sweet chesnut tree and becoming a trip risk for park users. Off we merrily went, found the tree in question - or so we thought - and started happily trimming away.
A bit of (far too late) sleuthing was done and we realised we were at totally the wrong tree. Oops. We quickly moved over to the correct location and furiously made up for lost time with some super speedy snipping.
We managed a nice run back to base for some stretches, timing the start of the rain perfectly. Another sprinkling of GG magic. I'm just waiting for next week's task to be confirmed, so watch this space!
We're back at our favourite local green space to help with either cutting back brambles or shifting soil. Bring your gloves if you have them, and get ready for a fun and physical session in Gunnersbury Park!
Please avoid bringing bags you can't run with as we have nowhere to store them.
What's your favourite post run snack? In Hounslow we love all forms of avocado on toast, pizza, peanut butter with and without banana, and...beer.
We started our run last night with this highly important discussion, before heading over to Chiswick House and Garden, a charity organisation which keeps the grounds beautiful and open to the public all year round.
Our job last night was trimming off the new shoots on the huge trees that line the main avenue. Or, if you're fancy, like us, the 'epicormic' growth. We'll be on Ground Force before you know it!
We relished the use of the very fancy secateurs which blow the usual tools we have to use out of the water, whilst learning about the life cycle of the ladybird and weevil, and hearing about everybody's amazing running, from parkrun right up to marathon.
After 45 minutes of work the trees looked smart and de-epicormiced so we posed for a beautifully lit photograph thanks to gardener Chris' excellent floodlights. Then it was over to Turnham Green for a fitness session that really saw us test those ABCs -agility, balance and coordination. Sorry about all the reverse lunges!
Next week we're back at Gunnersbury Park, so hope to see you there! Have a lovely rest of the week with some very happy running.
Chiswick House is a charity which means local people can come and enjoy the beautiful space for free. They have asked for a hand in the gardens - do bring along your headtorch if you have one!
We'll also do a little fitness session before heading back - please avoid bringing bags or other belongings.