GoodGym Barnsley

BarnsleyGroup run
James Smith

We're Cold And Nice, Willing To Sacrifice

Wednesday 6th December 2023

Written by James Smith

Tonight was bittersweet. It was the last official Barnsley GoodGym run to visit BCDP on a Wednesday evening. In future, visits will likely be happening more sporadically and be listed as meet-at tasks. We were also set to welcome in a new member this arvo...

We set off from Glasshouse at the usual time and headed to Hope House to prepare for the evening's deliveries. At Hope House we were met by a couple of familiar smiley faces- Jack and Peter. We swiftly set about stuffing snap sacks full of sweet snacks! In each one there was to be a biscuit bag (consisting of 2 bourbons, 2 custard creams and 2 'nice' biscuits), a carton of juice, a cheese sandwich, a bag of crisps, a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. We also made up an insulated mug of coffee to take out with us (more about this later!).

With all items packed up for the nights trip we fell in for the mission briefing. Using smartphone maps we were designated two known camp locations to investigate.

The first was in the grounds of St Mary's. Here we found evidence of rough sleeping in the form of a flattened tent but with no evidence of any recent occupants. Barnsley Council have accommodated rough sleepers for the cold season. A commendable policy. We reported our findings to the group and moved on to the next camp. This one was way down in the valley behind the old Pizza Hut. Here we found evidence of a camp being used but with no-one around. Hopefully they too have been put up for the cold nights.

There was one last place to check on our way back to base, the Lidl car park. Here too we found no-one, and so headed back to base.

We were the first ones back, so dropped off all the unused items, locked up and left. About 50 meters from the church we found a man rough sleeping so agreed to go back to make him a hot drink and sandwich. When we returned to hand over the items, the fella had already been found by Peter's team who were just in the process of giving him a snap bag and coffee. We decided to give him an extra sandwich and hot drink too as an extra warm beverage and snack is no bad thing on a cold night.

After this, we said goodbye to Peter, Jack, Jo and their new recruit, and headed off to stretch off the nights exertions at Glasshouse.

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BarnsleyGroup run
James Smith

Twice As Ice

Wednesday 29th November 2023

Written by James Smith

Freezing conditions tonight! Frost covered pavements, black ice on the roads and an arctic wind to top it all off too. Perhaps unsurprisingly the YMCA members didn't fancy meeting us on the allotment tonight. It was evident that they had been doing quite a lot of work up there recently though. Even in the pitch black we could see the differences compared to our previous visit. There were some lovely fairly lights twisted around the poles of the old poly-tunnel adding a nice sparkle to proceedings, alongside the twinkling moonlit frost underfoot. The paths were looking spick and span; there were no weeds in sight anywhere! Likely having retreated back into the -by comparison- warm ground beneath the paving slabs.

We decided to head down to GoodGym's bed at the far end of the plot to carry out some simple maintenance. The rainbow and standard chard that we planted ages ago is still going really strong! We always love to see the produce we've planted thriving away, especially in such harsh conditions. As well as the show stealing chard, there are also some really strong support acts. In the middle there is what I think is fennel, but it was too dark and frozen to be sure. The final act is an ensemble of onions at the far side. These seem to be fairing well still. We did a little bit of weeding in the bed and the path beside it to keep it looking in top condition through the winter months.

Our bed is the best looking one in the whole plot (I say in a completely unbiased fashion!).

We finished off our time in the allotment with some hand-numbing push-ups on the wooden benches. Then ran back down to Glasshouse to stretch off and debrief.

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BarnsleyGroup run
James Smith

A Lot In The Dark

Wednesday 15th November 2023

Written by James Smith

As ever, we set off from Glasshouse Table Table raring to go! The chill in the air only serving to increase our effectiveness at fast running. We were to be litter picking in the Victorian park this evening, in the dark dark cold bushes and beyond. Upon reaching the park we were (mostly) all warmed up. We headed for the store to retrieve an extra litter picker and then ventured into the bushes. There were no other folks in the park tonight. Well apart from a fellow headtorch clad runner darting around like a glowworm. After spending a good 30 minutes rustling around picking out shiny items from the gloom shrouded, slippery,leaf laden ground we tied up the bags of trash and took them to a bin on a nearby road.

We then ran back down to Glasshouse to stretch off and warm up.

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BarnsleyGroup run
James Smith

Shop Of The Pops

Wednesday 8th November 2023

Written by James Smith

The nights are really drawing in now, and feeling decidedly chilly too. Good thing that the task tonight was of the indoor variety then. As ever we set off from Glasshouse at 6.45pm prompt. Before running to the task we did some warm up exercises. We started with some barn door openers walking through the courtyard area, much to the delight of all the people sat drinking in the nearby bar. Just to draw even more attention (and warm up the arms) we did some windmill arms whilst skipping too. What a sight to behold! Not satisfied with this alone, we finished the warm up by doing some squat jumps out of the Glasshouse compound. Following the warm-up it wasn’t much of a run down to the charity shop. It took all of about 2 minutes. At the shop we had a good ol tidy up and left it looking looking sharp.

The run back was a simple and short affair, finishing, as ever, with stretches back at Glasshouse.

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BarnsleyGroup run
James Smith

Camping Up The Pressure

Wednesday 1st November 2023

Written by James Smith

First things first, to set the scene, this evening was dark, damp and dingy. We dutifully turned up at Buckley Methodist Church and after some messaging on WhatsApp we finally breached the threshold. We found the team already starting to get prepared for the night ahead. Jo was sandwich making, Trev was on hot drink duty making up flasks of tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and Jack was busy overseeing it all. Before opening the doors for the night we chipped in and made up some bags ready for distribution. The bags this evening consisting of a Rocky bar, a bag of crisps, a bag of select biscuits, either a cheese or ham sandwich, a carton of juice and a bottle of water. After aiding with the nights preparations we garnered some information about possible locations where people might be staying who don't make the trip to visit the drop-in. Tonight there were two or three main places to check out: the entrance porchway at St Mary's, the covered shelf outside one of the gyms in town and some of the greenspaces/parks in the center.

At St Mary's we found that the sheltered entrance area with benches had been security-gated off. How caring and good the church truly is! The homeless only used it at night and didn't leave a mess. We did a lap of the church to see if they were camped in the grounds like they used to be but only found a sleeping bag and cover stashed behind the bins. Further around we found a bag of clothes and bits left by the side of the road! Our next stop of the evening was the window shelf outside one of the gyms in town. This was a known camp location for one particular individual who speaks very little English. He wasn't there either and there was no evidence of anyone staying there (we think he may have been housed). Lastly we did a quick sweep of some of the other previous camp locations where we had previously found people, one of the pocket parks and some doorways. Alas, we didn't find anyone anywhere.

All that was left for us to do was head back to Buckley to drop off our bags and report what we had (or hadn't) found. It's likely that people are staying in the church area at St Mary's still so the BCDP are going to check there later on.

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BarnsleyGroup run
James Smith

Weed Did A Grand Job

Wednesday 25th October 2023

Written by James Smith

Winter is truly upon us. A pitch black run up to the park, complemented by drizzling rain and gusty winds, really hammered this home.

When we arrived at the park we headed straight for the Locke lock-up to retrieve some small tools and litter pickers. Headtorches on full beam, we entered the bushes in the centre of the park to start the search for wrongly deposited rubbish. We had to search hard in order to find bits, the park is obviously sees a lot less foot traffic in the winter months which in turn means less litter. Either this or it's all hidden under leaves in the darkness.

When bush comes to shovel!

We managed to fill a couple of bags full of rubbish and ended up removing the odd weed from the beds we were clearing too, we had to make use of the trowel for something after all.

After an hours work we put all of the equipment back in the shed and deposited the rubbish in the nearest public bins outside the park. We then jogged off down the road to stretch off at Glasshouse.

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