Organisations Stu Belcher has pledged to support
The next time you see Stu, they might be wearing black instead of red. They've completed 50 good deeds with GoodGym and have earnt their black t-shirt. Give them a nod when you next see them.
This evening we ventured to the west of Oxford to help Dean Court Community Centre spruce up their outside space ready for re-opening as restrictions continue to lift.
Twelve Goodgymers were quite the team of weeders, sweepers, litter-pickers and tidy-up-ers!
We weeded some very precious planters, removed grass from around the fencing, gave the carpark area a good sweep, pruned back some unruly budlia and did a thorough litter-pick around the site.
All this was achieved in excellent time meaning we could stop for a well earned cake break and sup some squash provided by the ladies at the centre.
We all then set off into the cold sunshine, some of us to run up a hill in the name of fitness!!
Ten Goodgymers shrugged off yesterday's rain and the Sunday morning cobwebs to help out at Marston Forest Garden. So much has changed since we were last there in December, with pathways marked out, more trees planted, a labyrinth constructed and dead hedges set up!
With the onset of spring (despite the odd flurry of snow), more plants and trees and starting to grow but that also means that brambles are starting to poke out from where they aren't wanted. Half of the group spent the session unearthing bramble roots with some proving more stubborn than others and several large tree roots requiring a heavy dose of mattock-use. With the area cleared, cardboard can be laid down and the area is earmarked for mulberry trees and raspberries, amongst other things.
The other half of the group spent the morning digging a trench around a seating and meeting area, known as the Medicine Herb Circle. While Goodgymers dug, Richard from Marston Forest Garden constructed archways as entry points.
After a productive morning, we all agreed that the "gym" part of Goodgym was more than fulfilled with a solid workout of digging in the sporadic sunshine and hail showers! Thank you to Ruth for the Belgian chocolates to keep us sustained through the morning session!
Richard, Rhian and Anthony were very thankful for the group effort. Many hands do, indeed, make light work.
We are dividing ourselves between East and West Oxford tonight: This is the West Oxford option. Check the listings for activities in Cowley at the same time.
Dean Court Community Centre has been closed throughout lockdown and is now getting ready to open their doors again. They would like our help to tidy up their outdoor space ready for reopening - weeding the planters and communal areas, cutting back brambles, litter picking.
Tools, litter pickers and bin bags will be provided, but please bring your own gardening gloves.
Julia and Bethan will be in charge of operations at this task - Task Force takeover!
Naturescape is a lovely project in Florence Park, converting a disused mini golf course into a nature education area.
Naturescape would like some help with planting trees and working on creating their fire pit.
Tools will be provided but please bring your own gardening gloves.
Yesterday was our 24th consecutive Wednesday packing and delivering food parcels for Oxford Mutual Aid. We packed 49 parcels and delivered 30 of them, helping approximately 70 people.
The graph picture shows the number of food parcels we’ve prepared each Wednesday session going back to our first one at the end of October last year. What it doesn’t show is our small team’s dedication to helping distribute the much needed food:
We have packed over 900 parcels on Wednesdays, delivered an estimated 600+, walked hundreds of miles between us to deliver food, chatted on the doorstep to lonely people, and got to know the food preferences of strangers.
GoodGymers have turned up to help on cold, dark nights, in rain, ice and snow, supported each other throughout winter lockdown and welcomed new members of the team. We haven’t taken a week off, because hunger doesn’t stop.
Our superstar GoodGym Oxford crew do Saturday and Sunday shifts at Oxford Mutual Aid too (we just don’t have stats and graphs for those!), have helped out on Christmas Day and bank holiday weekends, not to mention Rob raising incredible sums of money to replenish OMA coffers.
A report released by the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee yesterday estimated that up to 5.9 million adults and 1.7 million children experienced food poverty or insecurity in the six months to February. Those statistics are appalling, but they're also just numbers easily scrolled past. Knowing that people on your street, in your neighbourhood, in your town can't afford essential food and are calling for help shows the human impact behind the numbers.
As COVID restrictions lift a little next week we will adjust our way of working with Oxford Mutual Aid to a system which allows us time to also help other community projects who are reaching out to us. So, it’s an end to Wednesdays as we’ve known them for the last 24 weeks, but certainly not an end to working with Oxford Mutual Aid. We'll still be packing food parcels but making fewer deliveries.
At this pivot point I wanted to say how proud I’ve been of Goodgym Oxford members. We’ve been able to muster around 30 helpers every week through some very difficult weeks without ever having to beg or cajole. You’ve seen the need and met it.
Thank you ♥️
Boundary Brook Nature Park was created in 1990 when a group of community wildlife enthusiasts rescued a plot of disused allotments to carve out a wild space in the heart of East Oxford.
Featuring mixed woodland, meadow, a nature pond and butterfly glade, Boundary Brook is home to a rich variety of wildlife from birds and butterflies to frogs and foxes.
Oxford Urban Wildlife Group have asked for our help to with a mixture of tasks as they start reopening the site, including seeding grassland and building paths.
We will split into smaller groups of 8 or less to work on tasks in different areas of the Nature Park. We will also have the litter pickers with us for a small group of 6-8 people to clear up the surrounding walk and cycle way. There is plenty of space to spread out and maintain social distancing.
Please bring your own gardening gloves. Tools and litter pickers will be provided.
If you want to jog over to Boundary Brook please meet at Oxford Mutual Aid at 6pm (Richard Benson Hall, Cowley Road). If you want to meet us at the task meeting point is outside the gate to Boundary Brook Nature Park, which is on the cycle way just past Larkrise Primary School at the end of Boundary Brook Road. We will be there by 6:15pm
This week we will split between 2 tasks again.
We're now into our 6th consecutive month of Wednesdays at Oxford Mutual Aid, and the majority of our Wednesday team are still needed for food deliveries. It's proved to be a valuable partnership for us and provided crucial extra help for Oxford Mutual Aid through this COVID lockdown winter. It has kept us busy and connected with each other, and enabled Oxford Mutual Aid reach more people with deliveries of food and other essentials.
This 6pm task will be delivering food parcels within walking distance of Richard Benson Hall. We will divide into small groups to deliver in different areas. No-one will be asked to deliver on their own. With the slight easing of restrictions the rule of 6 now applies, so delivery groups can be slightly larger. The clock change will mean we will have daylight so I might bring the litter pickers too.
Please wear a mask when you arrive at the hall to collect the food parcels and when you drop them off with the recipient.
There is a 2nd listing for this evening for 6 people to help The Children’s Allotment, do check that out and take your pick between the 2 tasks.
Last night Oxford Mutual Aid was a hive of activity!
First we packed:
- 6 Emergency Food Parcels (for 10 adults, plus children) to get some food to people who have run out.
- 40 regular parcels (for 54 adults), full of food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and baby stuff.
Next we loaded up 4 cars for motorised delivery routes, and restocked the shelves as much as possible.
Then, the big event....23 GoodGymers, plus GoodGym mascot Peggy the pooch, flexed their biceps and stretched their legs to deliver 32 parcels of essentials on foot and by bicycle.
With more than one delivery per GoodGymer there was quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing around East Oxford, and even those without a double delivery found themselves loaded up to the gills with carrier bags. Gold stars to all those who brought rucksacks and bike panniers so that they could fit even more on their delivery route, and kudos to Ben and Georgia who managed to transport 6 bags full of goodies all the way to Marston - 1.8 miles by my calculation!
We might be out of the strictest lockdown measures for now, but the demand for food help isn't dropping. In fact tonight we had more emergency deliveries than we've had for a few weeks, and last week emergency requests for food support were at an all time high: 94 emergency food parcels were sent out over the course of the week, alongside all the regular food deliveries. An astonishing feat for a team of volunteers.
Thank you to Ruth for the donation of toiletries and to Lorenzo for the Ramadan goodies.
Welcome Lena - good to meet you!
Welcome back Annabel - lovely to see you for the first time since becoming a Mum. Hope you can make it back again soon.