Brighton had a big weekend and loads of our runners got involved with some epic efforts in the marathon and 10k. Present tonight to bask in their glory were Philippa and Nancy who both ran the Brighton Marathon 10k on Sunday. Well done to you both and to everyone else who ran, volunteered or supported at The Brighton (Ultra) Marathon!
We’ve been visiting Sloane Court a council run seniors housing scheme for several years and have made a huge difference to the garden but those weeds will keep on growing! Resident Tony has acquired a stash of brand new tools to help us keep those weeds at bay, not quite as shiny as the Crown Jewels but not far off, at least until we got stuck into them.
The raised bed we planted a few years ago has filled out nicely but has also been invaded by some unwanted grasses, bindweed and some huge budleia which are becoming a nuisance to neighbours on the other side of the wall. Tony’s new loppers made easy work of them and revealed a fig tree underneath which now has a chance to breathe and maybe even produce figs! Jenny (my mum) came along to offer her plant expertise on what should stay and what should go, what to trim and what to leave. The patio in front of the communal sitting room got a good weed and Liz’s infamous bush also got trimmed and although there is still lots to do, good progress was made.
A short run to nearby Queen’s Park for a brief but intense fitness session in the fading light rounded off the evening nicely. At least until I got back to our meeting place to discover a wheel had been stolen from my bike. Grrrr!!!!
After a short but hard core fitness session on Hove lawns, 4 of us weaved our way up through Brighton’s streets to Gareth Stacey House. This is a YMCA supported housing project for 16-25 year olds. Their small garden had become a bit overgrown and a layer of bindweed was covering most of the plants and lawn. We wondered whether we had bitten off more than we could chew for the four of us but within 45 minutes we had peeled off the bindweed, chopped back the shrubs, weeded the patio and mown the lawn. We filled 3 tonne bags with weeds and left the garden looking much tidier, just in time for this little Indian summer we are currently enjoying.
Meanwhile the remaining seven members ran and cycled their way to St Andrew's Church and tidied up the church ground ready for the late summer fayre at the weekend.
Sloane Court is a council run Seniors' housing scheme with a big garden!
Resident Tony tells me the weeds are massive and there is plenty to do!
Meet at Victoria Gardens at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start.
Like many places of worship around the city, St Andrew's in Hove provides space for many community groups to meet as well as providing a weekly winter night shelter for the homeless. We will be helping them keep the church yard tidy and prepare for their late summer fayre.
A small group is also needed to help out in the garden at Gareth Stacey house which is a project supporting young people at risk of homelessness.
Meet at the Peace Statue in Hove at 6.00pm for a 6.15pm fitness session and 6.30pm run.
6.00pm meet and speech
6.15pm Fitness session on The Lawns
6.30pm (sharp!) Run 1.75km to St. Andrew's or run /walk 1.2km to Gareth Stacey house
7.30pm Run/walk back to Peace statue, stretch and goodbye!
Having completed a fitness session in the gorgeous evening sunshine, seven of us ran up the hill towards Ronald MacDonald House.
We met Jazz who explained what they all do. An amazing place that allows parents with very sick children to access a room to stay so they can be nearby. The parents can come from as far away as Kent and can stay as long as they want....indeed they currently have a couple who have been staying intermittently since last September. It's an invaluable resource and a must make a massive difference for the parents involved.
Jazz explained that while the facility was closed due to Covid the outside area had, in the words of Grandmaster Flash, become "like a jungle".
Jazz and her partner had recently cleared one area alongside a wall but the beds on the opposite side were still crazily overgrown. We set about clearing the dreaded bindweed which was achieved but there is still work to do. While clearing weeds cocktails with a Goodgym theme, our next social and rats were discussed!
All in all a productive evening at a very inspiring location.
Meanwhile over in Hanover and Elm Grove Ward the rest of the team helped local residents paint over several patches of unsightly graffiti and weed and pick up litter in the beds in front of the Percy Wagner almshouses. Although the graffiti has reappeared in some areas we’d painted over on our last visit, I do believe we are winning the war and it was great to see the bottom of Southover Street clear of graffiti on the run back. Items picked up in the litter included the usual haul of drinks cans but also a child’s pair of wellies, an umbrella, a ladle and lots of McDonald’s takeaway litter! So both tasks were supported by the burger chain in one way or another!
We'll be making a visit to help out Cll David Gibson and local residents look after the neighbourhood in the Hanover & Elm Grove area.
Expect graffiti painting, litter picking and/or weeding.
We will be weeding a raised bed at Ronald McDonald House in Kemp Town. This eight-bedroom House provides free, comfortable accommodation to families with children and premature babies being treated at the hospital.
6.00pm - meet at Victoria Gardens (southern end near Victoria Statue)
6.15pm - Running specific Strength & Conditioning fitness session to warm us up for the run.
6.30pm (sharp)- Run 1km to task (Hanover) or 1.5km (Ronald McDonald)
6.45pm - Task
7.30pm - Complete task and run or walk back to Victoria Gardens
This group run was a tale of two tasks, with half the crew shovelling and the other half scrubbing. After meeting in Victoria Gardens and congratulating Abion both 50 good deeds and a new Parkrun PB, the squad ran up the hill past various lush-smelling restaurants to reach Brighthelm Gardens. Here five folk headed round the corner to scrub the windows at Brighton's Community Kitchen, while the rest of us surveyed a small mountain of soil, shovels in hand.
Shovelling said soil into place had been a previous task for Brighton GoodGym but now it had to be moved to a new planter, allowing the neighbouring music school some outdoor space for their students. The crew wielded shovels and wheelbarrows enthusiastically, and with the Brighthelm team mucking in we soon had the new planter filled and ready to receive its crop of tomato plants.
Meanwhile over at the compost heap more earth moving action occurred as Abi and Shermanturned two huge piles of compost.
(Brighthelm was also the location of Brighton Goodgym's very first task back in July 2017 which you can read about here. And also coming full soil-cle was Rebecca from Lambeth who was attending a Brighton group run for the first time but had been present at Tara's very first Goodgym experience in Lambeth also in 2017!)
But the day's labour wasn't over yet- after running back down to the start point, Tara led us in a brief but brutal interval workout to round the session off. Since that first task four years ago, Brighton's GoodGym runners have completed hundreds of tasks and engaged with dozens of community projects around the city- here's to four more years!
This week we all gathered at the Peace statue as our task were nearby and we are enjoying the freedom of starting where we are needed! We welcomed Rachael a long time Lewisham member brand new Brighton, who we're very happy to have on board but she also kept quiet that tonight was her 50th good deed! What a way to start her first session in Brighton! After a brief introduction we split into two groups to tackle both tasks.
The first group took the short run to Palmeira Square to return to one of regular jobs of keeping the square looking good for the residents.
Our group took the longer run to St. Andrew's to help the volunteers maintaining the Church grounds. Jay took charge of the mowing and did great job covering a good portion of the whole grounds in no time. The rest of us got to work on some tough weeds around the Rose beds and the path to neaten the entrance. After tidying away the debris and saying our goodbyes to the very grateful Vicar we hot footed it back to Palmeira Square ready to take on Tara's Olympic themed fitness session.
The fitness session consisted of 10 different sports all translated into different body weight exercises. From Skateboarding to archery and cycling we all attempted to get into athlete mode. But I think most of drew the line at attempting the gymnastic moves, apart from Jay who impressively took on the cartwheel with a not bad attempt! After recovering from our Olympic effort we all dispersed off into the sunset for a well earned rest.
Brighthelm garden group need a helping hand to move a raised bed (which we helped them build a couple of years ago!)
The soil needs to be shovelled into wheelbarrows and moved onto a tarpaulin. There will also be litter picking and weeding!
Very close by ithe Brighton & Hove Food Partnership need a small group to clean the community kitchen which is used to help disadvantaged people learn about good food.
Meet at Victoria Gardens (by the Victoria Statue) at 6.30pm for a short run/walk to the task and the fitness session will be afterwards. All finished by 8pm!