Cranbrook Community Food Garden

Cranbrook Community Food Garden is one of the best established community gardens in east London.

This award-winning garden was designed and built from a desolate children’s playground nearly 10 years ago. The garden is maintained by residents of the estate and surrounding area, and aims to bring the whole community together to create social cohesion to this corner of Bethnal Green.

232 GoodGymers have supported Cranbrook Community Food Garden with 59 tasks.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
Laura WilliamsJohn ShirleyFiona MIlana Tyler-RubinsteinEmma JonesLobo

It’s bin way too long

Monday 12th February

Written by Laura Williams

A small, committed group of GoodGymers headed to the Cranbrook Community Centre this evening.

A great little run

One by one we met at Bethnal Green’s lovely Town Hall Hotel. Pleasantly surprised four of our six sign-ups were joining for tonight’s run, it was a thoroughly enjoyable, easy run down Sewardstone Road, adjacent to Victoria Park.

Our early arrival on the Cranbrook Estate meant we could squeeze in a couple of additional moves on the planters (yep, the obligatory Bulgarian split squats and seated leg lowers).

Joined shortly by our sixth and final member for tonight, task owner Janet proceeded to walk us around to the back of the Centre to show us our first couple of tasks for the night.

What happened to the Wendy house?

First up, was returning toy cars and the Wendy house to the back of the Centre, following a flurry of parties.

Having assessed the damage to the Wendy house roof (it doubles up as a trampoline apparently), we proceeded to lay the roof back gently down onto the house, and park police bikes, sports cars and tractors, before heading over to the first leaf-and-litter stash at the back of the garden.

Pausing only to pose for the first few pics (I say pause, it was more like an additional task, waiting for my camera to flash), the team proceeded to plough their way through the small list of tasks in their usual speedy fashion.

Leaves and litter

Moving around to the front of the garden to join Eileen, it was bin bags at the ready for another great leaf-pick. Grabbing leaves and litter, we filled another few bags, excited to find a whole new leaf stash piled up just as we were ready to call it a night.

As the last of the bags were squeezed into the bins, and we packed away gloves and rakes, we concluded that although we were a small group and the task simple, we’d made a difference, and enjoyed another night together, and another fun night with Janet and Eileen.

  • Shout-outs to the whole team tonight, for a cracking night at Cranbrook.

  • …And to Emma for tonight’s pun, and to Lobo for his pun!

(FYI: Tonight’s Pun Shortlist

  • Emma: It’s bin way too long

  • Lobo: Toying in the cold, a saucy kipper tale (we enjoyed an extensive discussion about the fantastic local fish bar, The Saucy Kipper, at tonight’s task).

  • Laura: Have you got what it rakes?)

Yep, a thoroughly fun February night.

Next week, we need a big team, as it’s our February visit to the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Read more and sign-up here.

Until then.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
LoboHelen DoyleJess
Emma JonesMartin

You better beleaf it

Monday 15th January

Written by Laura Williams

A bitterly cold January evening didn't deter 11 GoodGymers from putting in an appearance at our favourite Cranbrook Community Centre this evening.

...But first the run

Back to the Town Hall Hotel, for our first run of 2024, where we received a warm welcome (in every way) from the fabulous team. Catching up on the weekend's news, making new introductions and estimating the number of head torches we'd need tonight, the time flew.

We departed in two small teams, both boosting today's step count. We soon warmed up on our running route, taking in picturesque Sewardstone Road, and heading down Bonner Street. On arrival at the Community Centre, we received another warm welcome from Janet, one of our longest standing task owners.

Tonight's task

Tonight's job was to clear the garden of leaves.


Janet does an amazing job of overseeing the Community Centre along with Eileen, but after a late leaf fall, the leaf backlog is vast and a few pairs of GoodGym hands came in handy this evening (too big-a-leaf backlog and it's not good for the ground, not to mention the hundreds of leaves that make their way into the hall).

We spread out into more small teams all over the garden. No sooner was one pile finished, we embarked on another. And when there was a leaf scarcity, the team headed to local litter hotspots.

It was an industrious evening, fuelled by good conversation and Eileen's Dairy Milk gift.

As the last bin liner was emptied, and Emma checked the temperature, we concluded zero degrees was a good temperature to be heading home. After posing for that final pic in front of the Community Centre, and finalising the details of next week's big Group Run with Thames21 we headed into the night, some on foot, some on bike, all set for another week.

Until next time.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
Oliver RockettGretaMartin

Leaft your spirits

Monday 30th October 2023

Written by Laura Williams

12 lovely GoodGymers gathered at Cranbrook Community Garden last night to help clear a big backlog of leaves.

It’s been a while since we joined Janet and Eileen at this busy community centre, and the team needed a hand with the following tasks:

  • Clearing leaves and older plants from the borders of the community centre garden, and all around the garden.

  • Collecting - and disposing of - branches in the large bin, and the main rubbish areas.

  • Trimming the hedges

There was a lot to get done, but the GoodGymers worked so fast, Janet and Eileen were nonethless having to continually find new areas for us to focus on.

By the time we finished up our tasks, returned equipment and debated the best way to spend the final 10 minutes, it was time to run back to the Hotel.

It was a lovely night – great to see faces old and new, squeeze in a little mileage and give Janet and Eileen a helping hand before the busy festive season kicks in.

And a great big shout-out tonight to Ivo, who led the run from the Town Hall Hotel to the task.

Next week, we head to the lovely St Leonard’s Priory Park in Bromley-By-Bow to see Larry for some more garden-clearing.

Until then.

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Tower HamletsCommunity mission
Fiona MIvoLobo

Leav-ing summer behind

Monday 18th September 2023

Written by Laura Williams

GoodGymers gathered together this evening for our September visit to the Cranbrook Community Centre Garden...

Why were we here?

We were joining Janet and Eileen this evening to help clear a large amount of leaves from the area (and trim the hedges), in-and-around the Community Centre. The Centre is enjoyed by a number of local groups, well-attended by residents: leaves build up quickly, making their way into the Centre in abundance! A semi-regular leaf collection like this helps manage the number of leaves in-and-around the Centre, as well as helping to keep grass healthy.

The pre-task workout

Before we started on the big leaf collection, a small group enjoyed a short workout outside the garden. Focusing mainly on lower body, we got stuck in to useful moves such as single leg squats, side planks, lunges and plenty of stretches.

The task

We then made our way into the lovely Centre garden to learn more about what we’d be doing tonight.

Working in pairs, we covered all areas of the garden, raking, gathering and collecting leaves by the gate.

Focusing on the area between the Centre fence and the pavement railings was a fiddly but rewarding task, as we helped free up the area, home to many shrubs and flowers.

A small team also worked around the corner, trimming back the hedge, so passing pedestrians can pass without fear of colliding with overhanging branches.

At shortly before 8, we returned our tools and gloves to the toolbox, posed for that final task picture before heading our separate ways for the evening. Another fabulous start to the week.

Big shout-outs tonight... Ricardo who came up with tonight’s pun, and to Jose who joined us for his first ever GoodGym! Great to see you Jose, look forward to seeing you again soon.

Next week, we head to gorgeous Meath Gardens, for our first task of the year with the brilliant Friends of Meath Gardens team as we head to the park’s litter hotspots.

Until then.

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Tower HamletsCommunity mission
Laura WilliamsFiona MRohan
Aran NaiduStephen TolfreeDanya Marx

A twig ask

Monday 7th August 2023

Written by Laura Williams

Another good sized group gathered along the wall for some body weight training before tonight's task!

We focused on some effective lower body stretches, and some brilliantly-done push-ups before moving to The New Squat Technique, The Obligatory Split-Squat Series and some dreamy Pilates roll-downs, courtesy of a delayed task start.

At a few minutes past 7, we headed around to the side of the garden to help cut back a few tree and bush branches which had crept over into the area by the bench, and near the family play area. The team worked exceptionally fast, and before long were calling out for assistance to help move the huge piles of branches.

Meanwhile Fiona and Aran were raking bags full of leaves around the front of the garden, before they headed over to the trimming team around the side of the centre.

We gathered armfuls of branches to take to the bin area, safely tucked to one side in as neat-a-piles as we could manage.

It was a great little task to be invited to help out with. Task owners Janet and Eileen oversee the Community Centre itself and this side of the garden. So when we're invited to join them for a quick gardening catch-up, it's always guaranteed to feel like a productive and fun night.

On depositing the last little pile of branches and leaves, we headed back to the bench for one last pic.

A lovely evening, everyone - you did great.

Next week we return to the GETOUT garden in Bow, for our first visit of the summer - complete with pre-task workout.

Until then.

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Tower HamletsCommunity mission
AbieHari SoodHarry JermanHeatherFiona MStephen Tolfree

A leaf encounter

Monday 10th July 2023

Written by Laura Williams

It was another glorious evening to spend in Tower Hamlets, catching up with one another and enjoying some serious hedge pruning.

Our task tonight...

This evening, Janet and Eileen from the Cranbrook Community Centre had been in touch to see if we could spare an hour or so helping to get the plants trimmed back from the fencing around the Centre.

This busy community centre runs bundles of events for local residents, in-and-around the Roman Road area.

Events are advertised on the fences outside, so when the area is overgrown, it obscures the signs. (Long branches also end up extending over adjacent pavements, which can prove a safety hazard for anyone using the surrounding paths and pavements - particularly when located at eye level).

A can-do attitude

The GoodGymers, having met earlier to run through a short workout in front of the garden, proceeded to grab tools and bin liners, heading to all three areas of the garden with their usual can-do attitude.

Armed with secateurs and loppers, the team strategically positioned themselves around both inside and outside of the garden cutting back bushes, trees, shrubs and weeds to make pavements accessible and fences visible. There was a lot of upper body work involved, and for those tending to the borders, a good amount of squatting too.

Not so fast...

We were about to start the clear-up effort when Janet said, “Great work, let’s make a start on this side now.” And so the whole team headed to the inside area, blitzing dead branches, overhanging hazelnuts – and collecting litter as they went.

The pace quickened and the job completed, with a splendid finale thanks to Emma appearing with an electric fan enquiring (with a totally straight face) what she should do with “…this electric fan I found hanging in a tree?”. Right.

We collected kit, disposed of the last stem and branch, and as usual the team posed patiently for one final pic.

Amazing work!

The shout-outs

As always, shout-outs to the whole team tonight (especially for not leaving until the job was done).

...And a great big GoodGym welcome to Hari, who joined us for a tremendous GoodGym debut! (Great work, Hari - hope to see you again soon).

Next week...

...we’re back to St Leonard’s Priory Park, for some more big gardening activity, complete with pre-task workout.

Until then.

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