Rain, what rain?
The forecast didn't look too promising, but come 7pm and arrival at our Monday night task, the earlier drizzle was but a distant memory: t-shirt-clad, a bit sweaty, and thoroughly happy to be shuttling from one area of the Hollybush Estate to another at our usual frenzied pace.
Margaret had asked for a hand with some weeding around the Estate's various garden areas, but the task had quickly evolved into bramble-chopping. Not however, before a warm-up task had been completed: distributing woodchip in the new shed area.
It was all go.
Wheelbarrows were whizzed from one garden to the next; woodchip shovelled at a ferocious pace, and new surfaces raked and smoothed over so speedily we finished even earlier than the earliest estimation.
And so we headed to the Family Area with a few more full barrows of woodchip (never know when they might come in handy) to tackle brambles, buddleias and... wobbly stepladders (shh - we won't say anything if you don't).
Lots to do, lots of brilliant, buzzing activity to enjoy while catching up with the latest news.
The time flew by, and then it was 8pm and we were trying to organise ourselves for one final pic. In the photo it all went: brambles, bin liners, the lot.
The small hotel team returned to base to collect bikes and other belongings, while the remainder of our energetic little group headed home in various different directions.
Until next time.
Charity GET OUT are working with Tower Hamlets Recovery College to create a new community gardening area at Mudchute Farm.
This beautiful little patch is soon to be transformed into growing beds, but before then, the cow parsely and long grass needs tackling.
In tonight's task, GET OUT founder Kieran will lead this great midweek workout, teaching you all about permaculture and food growing while you work.
What you need to know
Please bring your own gloves.
Please wear long sleeves and trousers.
The area you will meet at is closest to the Pier Street entrance to the farm. When you reach the Mudchute Farm Day Nursery, turn right and Kieran will meet you there.
MONDAY NIGHT GROUP RUN: Hollybush Estate's 'Big Bundle of Weed-Clearing' + woodchip clearing (new addition)
It's summer, it's warm, it's light, which can only mean one thing: weeds.
Margaret from the Teesdale & Hollybush Tenants and Residents Association (and 'instigator of one of the largest community allotment projects in east London') has called to ask for a hand with a huge number of weeds in and around the Community Centre.
Please note: this activity has been amended, to include large moving of woodchip, too.
Come and join the team as we enjoy a short run from our lovely hotel base to meet Margaret and Basil the dog for a gardening bonanza.
What you need to know
We will meet at the hotel for a short warm-up between 6:30-6:45. You can leave any belongings securely here too.
At 6:45 we'll make our way to the task just around the corner to start our evening's activity. If you're meeting us at the task, the address is Kedlestone Walk Community Centre, Hollybush Gardens, E2 9RP.
Tonight’s run saw us returning to the Royal London Hospital for a couple of really great tasks!
Plenty of planning had been undertaken by the brilliant Barts Volunteers team to ensure we were distributed throughout the hospital as efficiently as possible, tackling the most time-sensitive tasks.
Why were we here?
Resources are as stretched as usual at this huge, much-loved hospital, and so pruning the roses and litter-picking outside the Dental area proved a great bit of activity catch-up in these hospital grounds.
Meanwhile, the newly established Patient and Family Contact Centre had mountains of content to be made up for the new, soon-to-be-renamed Dignity and Activity Trolleys for the wards.
(This department was established during the pandemic as a vital resource for friends and families to stay connected to loved ones in hospital.
Having proved effective and popular, this service is set to stay, and the new activity packs we were preparing are to ensure patient needs are met as much as possible.
Impromptu stays, longer stays, admissions far from home all mean that patients sometimes need access to additional items, such as sanitary products and razors, or even art and craft activity to help them remain occupied and stimulated).
And so to work…
Teams were promptly dispatched out to the John Harrison with Barts Volunteer team member, Mbemba, while the team making up the hospital packs headed ‘round with Tom to meet the dynamic Emma.
The preparation was second-to-none, as always, and Emma wasted no time in assigning each member a task, leaving no stone unturned when it came to briefing (including the interesting fact that as this was an office, and not a clinical environment, face masks were optional).
Toothpaste tubes were stuffed into bags of 20; ditto shower gel and toothbrushes. Felt and glitter were sorted into piles; activity cards bagged up or filed. It was go, go, go.
Meanwhile the gardening team were busy attending to the roses, cutting back the grass and seeing off any rogue litter. Once finished, Mbemba brought the team inside and so we finished up a 12-strong team racing to get as much as we could done in the final few minutes.
Until next time
Despite having run over, the time had flown by!
We said our goodbyes to Emma, Tom and Mbemba, and headed out to the sunny, warm streets of Whitechapel, where we formed two groups: The Sporty Squad, who chose to run straight back to base in Bethnal Green, and The Thirsty Squad, who headed home at a more leisurely pace, via the London Hospital Tavern.
What a great night – well done, everyone.
...we’ve been asked to head to the Hollybush Estate to offer some serious weeding help...
Congratulations to Fiona who is now Mission Verified. They're now ready to start running GoodGym missions to help older people and running alone to community mission. Give Fiona a cheer to kickstart their mission running career.
Summer has arrived and we celebrated in style at Victoria Dock Parkrun this morning followed by some coffee and much conversation about how difficult wakeboarding would be. Everyone was very on brand with our good gym t shirts.
It was a first Parkrun for most at the flat course but a special shout out to Fiona who had it as her first ever Parkrun anywhere!
It's been a long time, but we're delighted to be returning to assist the Barts Volunteers team.
This evening we'll be helping make much-needed patient packs for the PALS team and and pruning the roses outside the dental accommodation.
Come and join us as we run through lively Whitechapel to be reunited with the team.*
What you need to know
If you're joining directly at the task, we'll meet inside the main Reception entrance on Whitechapel Road, adjacent to A&E, just in front of the coffee shop at 7pm. Address is The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1FR.
We will need to complete a quick, one-off form before we head to our tasks.
Teams will be divided into two: one for the gardening; one for the patient packs.
Please allow 1 hr 15 for the task; longer if you're joining the Group Run.
After a few successful trips to Mile End we're going to explore the other Tower Hamlets parkrun at Victoria Dock - its quieter and has none of the hills of Mile End so a nice change of pace (and probably an improvement of pace for most!)
Meet at the start line 10-15 minutes before, run the Parkrun at your own pace and those who finish first can cheer on the rest! After everyone has completed their 5k run and we get that all important group photo, for those who want to stay on, we'll get a hot beverage at the finish line.
What are parkruns?
Parkruns are free, weekly, community events all around the world. Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces. You can run, walk or volunteer at parkruns. You can even take your dog (if you have one) along! If you have never run a parkrun before, they are a great way to get into running in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Remember, it's FREE, but you can register here to keep a profile (number of parkruns you do, times, etc.) https://www.parkrun.org.uk/
It was a beautiful night for a spot of gardening. One-by-one the team grew in the picturesque Cemetery park spot, where manager Ken had left us perfect instructions to start tackling the weeds on the main route through the park.
Why were we doing this?
Fast-growing, light-hogging and invasive, Cow Parsley is a Cemetery pest at this time of year. And with the Cemetery’s volunteer source still a little low, our out-of-hours, weed-removal efforts are still very much in demand.
Don’t forget the Goosegrass
So, armed with the speediest weed-removal tutorial from Ken, we set about tackling the Cow Parsley and Goosegrass straying onto the woodland path and numerous gravestones.
Armed with tips and tricks from stem-handling to nettle-sting management, the team worked in a speedy, productive group making their way along the path at record pace, only breaking to shuttle stems and stingers to the weed mountain (more wholesome than it sounds) around the corner.
It was tireless, tiring and terrific fun, as our before and after Cow Parsley pics show.
Before we knew it, it was 8:15 and we were gathering stray stems and saying cheerio.
Shout-outs to the whole team who braved nettles, roots and a pollen-tastic environment on this balmy Monday night, to give this valuable community asset and its fantastic team a helping hand.
Next week, we’re back with Nancy and her team at Barts Volunteers for our first trip to the Royal London in nearly two years.
Manager Ken of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park has asked for GoodGymers to lend a hand clearing the footpath in this beautiful, well used park, as the park has suffered with a lower-than-usual supply of volunteers over the last couple of years.
Over the coming months, we will be working with his Weed Treasure Map to help clear some of the park's busiest walkways.
What you need to know
We'll meet at 7pm by the kissing gates off Hamlets Way, to start tackling our first area of weeds. This area is to the left of the bottom of Brokesley Street, across Tower Hamlets Way. (Address on listing is closest, but please head to bottom of street to the park, to find the group.)
The park will supply gloves but please bring your own too. Please wear long sleeves and long trousers.
We have allowed 90 minutes for this task, but you can leave earlier if you need to!