Anji Andrews

GoodGym Newcastle

NewcastleCommunity mission
AimeeCharlotte ProudBeth PaxtonAmy Brown

Kingfishing for Litter

Monday 18th September

Written by Aimee (she/her)

A small group of us headed out for a litter pick this evening in Ouseburn. We had a leisurely walk and a chat and found plenty of litter mostly in various car parks, but we did have a nice walk through the orchard behind the carparks under the bridge.

On the way back we spotted the bright blue and orange flash of a kingfisher, who briefly alighted on a low hanging tree branch and then darted through some hanging ivy up the river, a few minutes later he sped back down the river under the bridge we were standing on and disappeared out of sight. It’s always magical spotting a kingfisher as the bright colours seem so exotic and out of place in nature. A rather sad Mike fact is that due to the river Ouseburn being ecologically dead because of sewage and farming pollution upstream the river can’t support many Kingfishers. One of the joys of goodgym is getting out in nature and having the opportunity to see wildlife while exercising, volunteering, and socialising - you wouldn’t see a Kingfisher in the gym!

A very satisfying litter pick resulting in three full bin bags of rubbish and helping to keeping the Ouseburn tidy. Thanks Charlotte for bringing bin bags as I definitely would have forgot and thanks Beth for the pun! If you want to get involved, we have another litter pick next Monday, this time on the Quayside.

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NewcastleCommunity mission
Tanya JohnsonDebbie English

The terrible twosomes terrific tree trimming

Sunday 17th September

Written by Tanya Johnson

It was another wet start on day two of our Urban Green Double Header. Debbie and I arrived at Hodgkin Park wrapped up to face the elements.

The trees in the park were in need of some TLC. Cutting back overgrowth and new low branches to keep the lines of sight in the park clear.

Armed with loppers, shears and a saw, we made a start on the trees. Quickly piles of branches and brambles began to pile up, which needed to moved to the bushes at the top of the park to make mulch. Anji would be proud of the weighted hill repeats!

By coffee break we had cleared the trees to the right hand side of Metroland gate and were in need of the sustenance from ginger biscuits and coffee!

Despite it being just the two of us we were determined to get as much done as possible in the time available and even split up to tackle a tree each. Regulars at GoodGym Newcastle will know what a rarity that is!!

Time flew by and before we knew it was time to clear up. It felt good to step back and look at how much neater and lighter the area was. Check it out for yourself in the photos.

Join us tomorrow for a litter pick at Ouseburn

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NewcastleCommunity mission
AimeeCharlotte ProudDan Laws

Wood you like to Ear what a Fun-gi Mike is?

Saturday 16th September

Written by Aimee (she/her)

Three dedicated goodgymers helped on Urban Green in St Lawrence park on this wet and miserable Saturday morning. Todays task involved cutting down hedges and crowning trees to create a clear line of sign into the park. This helps park users feel safe knowing that other people can see them and deters anti-social behaviour for the same reason, which allows more people to safely enjoy the park.

We started off cold and wet due to the damp weather but soon warmed up as we found that cutting down brushes, loping off lower branches of trees and stomping down the cut vegetation is hard, heat producing work.

Half way through we stopped for a well deserved tea and coffee break. Mikes interesting fact of the day: hippos kill more people than any other African mammal and can run at spends of up to 30mph. If you are wondering how we got there it was from plants we cut down last time having thorns which could stop dinosaurs via how much feathers and bodyfat dinosaurs might have had.

I found a wood ear fungus, also known a wood jellyfish due to their jelly like texture. I was literally about to remark how they looked a bit like ears when Mike told me the name. Another interesting gem of knowledge from Mike, in France pharmacists learn about mycology and people can bring mushrooms and fungi they have picked to the pharmacy to check if they are edible and not poisonous. This one is edible apparently,

Charlotte found an abandoned child's bike in the bushes and couldn't resist trying it for size before we put it in the back of the van. Urban Green donate any bikes dumped in their parks to Recyke Y'Bike, another charity we regularly help. They refurbish the bikes and sell them at affordable prices or give them for free to people in need.

We finished off with Dan cutting some ivy before it became too heavy on the bigger trees and me and Charlotte cutting some over hanging trees which was very satisfying when we managed to cut down big branches and they fell with a thud. It was a very satisfying task as you can see right into the park now and the before and after pictures show how much better the line of sight is now you can see the boundary fence.

If you want to come help out in the parks we have a session with Urban Green tomorrow at Hodgkin Park or look out for more sessions in three weeks time. We are also litter picking in Ouseburn on Monday if you want to get involved.

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Chair-ity Challenge!

Tuesday 12th September

Written by Newcastle runner

During a week when many Newcastle GoodGymers (and I’m sure some from other localities) took on the charity challenge of the Great North Run, this was a chair-ity challenge of a different kind!

There were several elements to this mission. Sadly some of them defeated us. Firstly we tried to move a large armchair from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs living room. After many attempts with the chair in different positions and at different angles we managed to get it onto the landing. However, it was to go no further. Despite Mr J’s wife calling in her neighbour to help, the size, shape and weight of the chair combined with the size and shape of the landing, staircase and handrail defeated us. Mr J’s wife told us that it was just one person on his own who got the chair up there - I wonder if it was Superman!

Our second task was only marginally better. We successfully carried an exercise bike around a bed, past the chair in its new home on the landing, into the newly empty bedroom! Our satisfaction didn’t last long! The weight lifting equipment, even with the weights removed, proved too big and bulky for us. Perhaps an Allen key and a couple of hours would have done it!

We were sure our last task of hanging two pictures would be the easy part. Not so! The pictures had been painted by Mr J’s granddaughter - onto very hard wood which seemed not to want screw loops (I just made up that technical term!) screwed into it! However, we were determined to succeed in at least one task and with a succession of tools and equipment (string and a pencil) succeed we did, albeit with some hiccups along the way.

Although it was a bit disappointing not to finish the task, Mr J’s wife seemed happy with at least our limited success. Give me the Great North Run any day!

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NewcastleCommunity mission
Dan LawsMatt DouglasAlfieMichael Wisely

B-rilliant B-ramble C-hopping with the BBC

Monday 11th September

Written by Newcastle runner

It was a little rainy for our task tonight but since most of us had been caught in never-before-seen-in-this-country levels of torrential rain yesterday, whether as runners or supporters at the Great North Run, it was like water off a duck's back!

It was great to welcome back Matt and Alfie to their second tasks - I think that makes them regulars now!

We had a short stroll into the Ouseburn Valley to meet task owner Dave from the Ouseburn Trust and his colleague Chris. The Ouseburn Valley is a buzzing green space on the edge of the city and it's a favourite task of ours to help keep the space safe, accessible and looking good for people passing through. As always, Dave was ready for us with two tasks and the tools to complete them. The valley didn't escape the effects of the storms yesterday and mud had been swept onto some paths and steps, making them slippery. Michael, Matt and Alfie got to work with Dave, using shovels and brooms to clear the mud, making the paths and steps much safer. Meanwhile, Aimee, Elliot, Dan, Chris and I got to work with loppers, cutting back some overgrown hedges, including some rather vicious brambles, which have the ability to penetrate gloves, sleeves and leggings! Check out the photos of beautifully clear paths!

At this point we should address the elephant in the room! We were joined tonight by a BBC film crew making a piece for the Morning Live program on the theme of Running for Good. It was great to be able to talk about what a fantastic organisation GoodGym is and the different ways we can use fitness sessions to benefit the community, and vice versa, to use volunteering to help motivate us to keep fit. Hopefully it'll lead to a few new members joining us. Coming to a TV screen near you very soon!

We have a busy weekend coming up with Urban Green tasks on Saturday and Sunday, quickly followed by a litter pick in the Ouseburn Valley in Monday - at least we know the paths will be clear for that one - unless the storms come back! Check out the website to sign up!

(Kudos to Dan for pun and pics!)

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NewcastleCommunity mission
Dan LawsMichael WiselyMatt Douglas

Four to the floor!

Wednesday 6th September

Written by Newcastle runner

It was a night of fours tonight. Firstly, we welcomed our fourth new member of the week! Welcome Matt and congratulations on your first GoodGym mission - hopefully the first of many!

So that meant four fabulous GoodGymers for our mission - to deliver four hundred leaflets for our friends at Food Cycle. Food Cycle take donated food and prepare three course meals for anyone who needs or wants one. They have four centres in Newcastle (and one in Gateshead) and tonight we were spreading the word about their new centre in Benwell. The streets of Benwell were lively tonight! You might almost say that the residents were out in fource!

I will admit that when I saw the pile of leaflets I doubted whether we would manage to deliver them all. I should've known better! I mean, we're expert leaflet deliverers right?! Would you believe me if I told you we finished the task in forty four minutes? Well Ok, I might've used a little poetic license there, but it was definitely in the forties!

We had a full leg work out tonight too - it's not called GoodGym for nothing! There were squats to the ankle height letterboxes in one estate, step challenges up to the houses in other streets and hill reps up and down the Benwell streets. Just what we need four days before the Great North Run!

All in all, a tour de "fource" of a task tonight! Join us for our next session - a beginner-friendly session on Monday 11th September, meeting at Stepney Bank Stables at 6.15pm and helping our friends at the Ouseburn Trust in the Ouseburn Valley. Oh, and there'll be a BBC TV crew filming us. If you're a little camera shy we can make sure you're out of shot. Hope to see you then!

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