The John Radcliffe Hospital is the main Accident and Emergency centre for Oxfordshire, and provides acute medical and surgical services. It is the largest of Oxford's hospitals, covering around 66 acres, including the Children's Hospital, Eye Hospital, Heart Centre, Women's Centre, blood donor centre and many other services. The John Radcliffe site is home to the Oxford University Medical School and the base for most medical students who are trained throughout the Oxford University Hospitals Trust.
All this makes the hospital site very busy, with lots of footfall from students, staff, patients and visitors. And sadly, with people comes litter. The Estates team can't possibly be expected to keep such a large site litter free alongside everything else they do, so tonight we trialled a GoodGym litter pick to see if we could make a difference.
We met on the outskirts of the hospital site, briefed everyone on safety policies, divided into teams, tooled up with bags and pickers and then set off to clean up. One of our teams headed up the hill to the main entrance, another went along the path towards the blood donation centre, a 3rd team cleaned up outside the West Wing and Children's hospital, and our final team concentrated on the car parks.
Masks were the most regular find tonight.
They were everywhere....in the hedges, under cars, by bus stops. LOTS of cigarette butts too, and (oddly) a huge stash of cider cans in one of the car parks - did someone have a party in the car park?! Hats, hoodies and gloves were all found, but astonishingly NO PANTS. We even had a few appreciative comments and 'thank yous' from passersby.
We collected 18 large sacks of rubbish, a broken umbrella, a large box, and a folded mattress-y thing, and lugged them all off the hospital land for collection by Oxford Direct Services.
Well done everyone - the litter is an eyesore, as well as potentially dangerous, so it's great that we managed to clear up so much of it tonight.
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
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
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!
This evening’s task was a double whammy. Goodgym power was needed to clear and tidy the Toad Distillery yard and also clear ivy from the railings at the top of South Park – revisiting the scene of our very first task back in 2019!
A group of us huffed and puffed (I mean ran in an athletic manner) up the hill to the distillery, meeting Bryon and the rest of the team there. The register featured “what would your desert island drink be” with answers ranging from the sensible (filtered, safe-to-drink water) to the decadent (ruby port, champagne). We then split into two groups and got to work.
The team headed up by Mark (Lord Mayor and tool breaker extraordinaire) tackled the distillery yard sweeping up mountains of autumn leaves and tidying up around the outside seating, as well as planting daffodil bulbs.
The other team headed out to South Park. South Park in Oxford is a gorgeous park with fantastic views over Oxford – Dreaming Spires galore. It is also a busy cut through from town to campus for a lot of the Oxford Brookes students. With the evenings getting darker we needed to do something to make the sight-lines clearer and safer for all involved. We stripped LOADS of ivy off the railings and did a litter pick along the lane. This week’s random spot was not the usual scattering of pants but a beautiful, slightly sparkly, toadstool which we left in-situ to grow.
After all our hard and dusty work, we headed back into The Oxford Artisan Distillery for a G&T and a lovely chat and catch up.
The gin was delicious and it was so fab to be able to relax and chat to everyone after a task. Thank you Bryon!!
Welcome Dan - good to have you along!
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.