Have you ever thought about using your empty jars and containers to do your shopping?
In Oxford, there are several refill shops where you can take your own containers to fill up on food such as pasta, rice, cereals, nuts, coffee, tea, herbs and spices. There are also places to fill up on laundry detergents and other toiletries too, many of which are provided by SESI.
For Day 17 of the Goodgym Oxford advent calendar, we are inviting your to try these out. OxUnboxed is located at 36 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford OX1 2HU and is open 10-6 during the day (Thursday-Sunday but do check before going). It is run solely by volunteers so if you are able and willing to help out, do contact the staff at Oxford Hub to find out more. They also have recycling boxes provided by Terracycle if you have any bread bags or crisp packets to dispose of.
Another option is Flo's Refill Shop, which is located in Florence Park next to the cafe at Rymer's Lane, Oxford, OX4 3JZ. They are open 11-7 on a Friday so do pop in to see what goodies you can pick up (and to try the excellent cakes they have in the cafe).
There are refill stations at the East Oxford Farmers' and Community Market too on a Saturday morning, some of which need pre-ordering before going to pick up so check that out too.
In Marston, the Eco Hub also has a small refill station for oil and household products.
If you know of any other refill shops and stations, do use them and spread the word!
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.
Session at Brookes Climb.
Those who have your own gear - sign up as normal! For those who have some climbing experience but need instruction and gear - sign up to the Adult NICAS Open Session. £15, 8-9.30pm
Meet at the entrance at 7:45pm
Oxford Brookes Cheney Lane Headington Oxford OX3 0GB
Save a life today - register to give blood.
We know that not everyone can give blood, but if you are able to then your advent calendar item today is to go to https://www.blood.co.uk/ and register as a donor. It'll only take a few minutes and it could save a life, or several!
If you're already a registered blood donor consider booking your next donation appointment, or if you suit the criteria you could register to donate platelets here.
There's a blood donor centre where you can also donate platelets at the John Radcliffe Hospital, so if you're able to give blood it really couldn't be easier for Oxford residents.
If you're a first time blood donor there's lots of information here.
It's Christmas Party time!
We're still pinning down all the exact details, but the date of our Christmas celebration is confirmed, so please sign up if you're interested in attending so that we have an idea of how many of you to expect.
We're currently considering whether to have the whole event at the Lord Mayor's Parlour, or to have a drinks reception there then head out for dinner around 8pm. There will be a cost to attending due to food and drink costs. This amount will be confirmed soon.
Let's get dressed up and celebrate everything you've all done in the last year!
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.
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!
The Oxford City and County Council Christmas Fun Run is back!
The race is 2 laps around Christchurch Meadows (approximately 2.28 miles) - perfect for a lunchtime blast! Entry is free but you need to register in advance. Fancy dress is positively encouraged.
To register your entry please send your name, gender, age and address to post your race number to email@example.com by the end of the day on 1st December. We will collate and send the entries in.
All GoodGym race numbers will be given to me (Anwen), so please be at the start by 12:30 to collect yours from me.
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.