Stu Belcher


Organisations Stu Belcher has pledged to support

59Good deeds



Stu Belcher completed a training run • Morning Run
Tue 22 Jun
Stu Belcher went on a community mission
Community mission

The root of all happiness - Weednesday GoodGym

Wed 16 Jun
Report written by Anwen Greenaway

We're becoming regulars at the Warneford Hospital, with monthly visits to the Highfield Unit. The Highfield Unit is the young person's mental health in-patient unit. It has a huge garden, which is lovely, but tricky to keep under control with limited gardening staff.

Since our last visit at the beginning of May the whole garden has undergone a growth spurt, and so we came prepared to do serious battle with brambles, weeds, and unruly shrubbery.

We split our team of 22 between 3 garden sections to work on the public area at the front of the unit, the area outside the dining room, and the furthest garden space (which we haven't worked on quite so much on previous visits). Loppers, secatueurs and wheel barrows were in high demand as we pruned, weeded, and detangled huge amounts of brambles, creating mountains of cuttings to be wheeled and dragged round the corner to the compost pile. In a few areas the windows of the young people's rooms were starting to get blocked by brambles and shrubs, so we particularly focused on trying to clear those so that they can look out onto the garden again and not have the daylight blocked out. Jessy and Hattie did an amazing job to clear the brambley corner which we've been meaning to get to on every visit, unearthing a lovely rosemary bush under all the thorns, and Matty proved to be the master of bramble root removal (all the practice at Marston Forest Garden at the weekend paying off). Out front the team unearthed a memorial plaque which had been hidden by the undergrowth, tamed the shrubs, and (less excitingly) removed the inevitable litter and discarded clothing tucked away amongst the plants. No pants found, which is a relief, but Vicky's homing instinct for clothing unearthed a Tshirt which has seen much better days.

It's easy to lose track of time when there's lots to do, particularly on a lovely summer evening with a hot air balloon floating overhead and plenty of chatter (dinner recipe top tips, and some quite philosophical analysis of walking going on). It turns out that bramble removal is worse than litter picking for needing to grab JUST ONE MORE before packing up! Still, over-running when it's a summery joy to be outside isn't a chore.

We'll be back at the Highfield Unit again before too long, as there's plenty of regular work needed in such a large garden. It can't be easy to have your child as an in-patient in any hospital, but knowing that they're in a pleasant environment hopefully goes some way towards making it a less traumatic experience.

We were very happy to have a GoodGymer-onTour from Newham tonight - good to meet you Justin.

Welcome Lasha - hope you enjoyed your first GoodGym experience.

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Stu Belcher completed a training run • Evening Run
Tue 15 Jun
Stu Belcher signed up to a community mission
Community mission

Helping out at Warneford Hospital

Wed 16 Jun 18:15 pm
Warneford Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7JX
Garden tidy and litter pick (maybe)

We've been asked if we can help give the garden of the young person’s mental health unit, the Highfield, a good tidy up to get it ready for spring-/summer. There is only one gardener for the whole of the Warneford Hospital site, so it is a difficult to keep it all looking as good as it could.

It would be fantastic to improve the environment for young people struggling with their mental health - let's get to work!

The Highfield Unit has a large garden divided into 3 different sections, so we will split into teams to work in the different sections. We have also been asked to litter pick the whole hospital complex, so a further team will do that (if the key situation which prevented us from doing the litter pick last time is resolved!). It's spring clean time everywhere.

Please bring gardening gloves. Other tools will be provided.

Meeting point: on the lawn outside the main entrance of the Warneford Hospital. We will walk to the ward together from there, collecting the tools along the way.

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Stu Belcher signed up to a community mission
Community mission

Allotment Clearing for Harvest at Home

Wed 23 Jun 18:15 pm
South Ward Allotments, Oxford, OX1 4XS
Harvest at Home is part of the Cherwell Larder

PLEASE NOTE: This was previously listed as a Group Run, now relisting as a Community Mission as restart of Group Runs is being delayed. Anyone who still wants to run I will be leaving Oxford Mutual Aid to run over at around 5:45pm.

Harvest@Home (part of the Cherwell Collective/Cherwell Larder) aims to provide the equipment and skills necessary for people to plant, care for, and harvest their very own produce at home. They have been popping up all over Cherwell district with seed swaps and advice sessions, and are establishing allotments both for teaching/community growing and to grow produce for the Cherwell Larder. We have already helped Harvest@Home and Cherwell Larder a few times in Kidlington, but tonight we will be in South HInksey with them instead.

The project have a new site at South Ward Allotments, near Redbridge Park & Ride, which needs a lot of clearing to make it usable. They plan to use the area for some experimental growing projects, but it is currently in a bad state, as it's been a dumping/littering ground for quite some time.

Please bring your sturdiest gardening gloves and shoes as there is quite a bit of broken glass around. (I appreciate those running won't have much choice in footwear, so please be careful on site.)

The allotments are a bit tricky to find, tucked away past the static caravan park and through a locked gate, so we will meet on the opposite side of the road from the Redbridge Household Waste Recycling Centre at 6:05pm (glamorous, I know!), and walk the last stretch as a group.

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Stu Belcher completed a training run • Evening Run
Thu 10 Jun
Stu Belcher went on a community mission
Community mission

A Sting in the Tale

Wed 9 Jun
Report written by Anwen Greenaway

Aston's Eyot is tucked away beside the river and is one of our favourite Oxford wild spots. They've just completed a (very on-trend) vaccination programme to immunise their badgers against TB, and now the focus returns to nature reserve management to encourage greater biodiversity.

Meeting us at the tool shed Ruth explained our tasks for the evening would be clearing nettles from one of the best areas for wildflowers in Aston's Eyot using a combination of scything and weeding out by hand. Removing the taller nettles should allow the smaller flowers to thrive. We actually cleared nettles in the same patch a couple of years ago, so it was nice to be back at the same spot with some of the same people.

In the wildflower meadow we grasped the nettle with enthusiasm. It was oddly satisfying pulling them out by the roots and revealing the smaller wildflowers beneath the canopy of stingy beasts.

A few eyes lit up at the sight of the scythes, with Sarah and Katie taking first go and wooshing through large patches of nettles, before handing the blades around the group for more people to try. Afterall, it's not often someone lets you loose with a scythe.

Scything proved both satisfying and therapeutic after a long year or COVID-frustrations!

Some of us were definitely more savvy with our clothing options for nettle-work than others. Not ideal: shorts and vests. Good choices for nettle work (although a bit steamy for 26 degree heat): head-to-toe waterproofs.

Having amassed a massive haul of nettles we had to consider whether we could be making good use of the 'weeds'. Matt reliably informs us that the first nettle harvest of the year is the best one for cooking, and as they also seem to be the fiercest stingers we figured there might be a certain satisfaction to boiling them up after the pain we have endured from them on GoodGym tasks over the last couple of years!

Our top 3 options:
* Nettle Tea
* Nettle Soup
* Beating ourselves with them for warmth, just like the Romans

Badgers proved elusive (well, they are nocturnal), but we were treated to the sight of a muntjak deer wandering across the path at the end of our session, apparently supremely unconcerned by 25 people staring at it!

Some exciting milestones last night: Jeremy did his 10th Good Deed and Vicky did her 100th - Watch out for Vicky in her winged Tshirt soon! Anwen reached the unofficial milestone of 250 Good Deeds.

We welcomed our first GoodGym tourist since the pandemic, with Chi joining us from Haringey.

And finally... welcome to Meysam - Thanks for joining us for the first time!

Who's the best at nettle weeding? STING!

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Stu Belcher signed up to a community mission
Community mission

Aston's Eyot

Wed 9 Jun 18:15 pm
Aston's Eyot, Oxford, OX4 1SR
Nature Reserve management

Aston's Eyot nature reserve reaches to the river and is a favourite spot for picnicking and swimming on sunny days. Litter has been a problem at times recently, so we may end up clearing up some litter (although on 22nd May a community litter pick was planned by Thames21, so it may be under control). More likely we will be helping to prune back shrubs, brambles and bushes which have started encroaching on the paths through the reserve.

Aston's Eyot access is at the far end of Jackdaw Lane, past the Iffley Road Sports Centre entrance. We will meet at the intersection of Meadow Lane and Jackdaw Lane at 6:15pm and walk along to Aston's Eyot together.

Please bring your own gloves. Tools will be provided. We will also supply bin bags if we end up litter picking.

As always, we are likely to split into smaller groups to work in different areas of the nature reserve. There's LOADS of space to be able to maintain social distancing.

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Stu Belcher completed a training run • Morning Run
Sat 5 Jun
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