Northfields Allotments

Gardening for a stronger community

25 GoodGymers have supported Northfields Allotments with 5 tasks.

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EalingCommunity mission
Isabelle CunninghamSevanPennyAparajita

Social scare system

Saturday 28th October 2023

Written by Kash

Halloween 2023 brought another instalment of last year's popular task: spookifying the Northfield Allotment! The oldest allotments in Ealing were setting up their favoured Halloween family event - the Halloween Pumpkin Trail! GoodGym Ealing offered help decorating part of the spooky trail: putting up lights and pumpkins on Radbourne Walk!

Sevan and Kash were first to arrive, running a short distance to get to the allotment, where they met the task owner, Clare. They stood in the middle of the path, getting the brief, oblivious to the passers-by.

'Careful, a bike!' said Sevan.
'That's one of ours!' Kash noticed.
'Oh, that's Penny!'

Penny cycled to the community mission, just like Luis who came soon after her. Christos arrived running, and Michelle and Caroline even fitted the Gunnersbury parkrun into their pre-task routine.

The Steel Curtain

The access to the allotments was restricted by a metal fence. Only the holders of the keys had the freedom to go in and out. Clare abolished the unfair system and bestowed one of the keys upon Kash so the goodgymming class could enter the site.

Orange is the new blaze

The first task was to distribute 50 carved pumpkins along Radbourne Walk, the path running alongside the allotments. The requirements were as follows:

  • 50 pumpkins need to cover the whole path
  • pumpkins should be facing North
  • two light-up tea lights go into each pumpkin
  • the pumpkins should be put in places where they look cool

After letting all GoodGymers behind the fence, Clare revealed a group of carved pumpkins hidden under a tarpaulin. She gave us wheelbarrows and battery-powered tea lights. Soon, we faced those few small challenges that made all the fun!

Propaganda art

One pumpkin didn't have a face, so Michelle stepped in to massacre (I mean: decorate!) it. Her piece was a brutalist art manifesto, capturing GoodGym's sense of community, equality, simplicity and strength.

Switching factions

After the Steel Curtain was abolished and the pumpkins had the freedom to go out of the allotment, they evenly distributed themselves on both sides of Radbourne Walk. When a strimmer operator was cutting the overgrowth on the left side of Radbourne Walk, all the pumpkins suddenly decided to move right. After the radical Strimmer Reform and abolishing the reign of nettles, we convinced some pumpkins to return to the left and restore the balance of power.

Wealth redistribution

We discovered there were not enough working tea lights for all the pumpkins. We had to appoint two tax collectors to find the pumpkins who had accumulated all two lamps and collected a whopping 50% tax. Luis and Christos then gave a tea light to the poor pumpkins that didn't have a single lamp in them.

All strings attached

When Rohan joined us, we started the final task: putting up ropes with lights and spooky decorations across Radbourne Walk. We were at an advantage this time as the allotment crew had already assembled the strings. All we had to do was switch on the lights and fix the cables to hooks on one side of the path and trees or the fence on the other. We had plenty of hands to do that and a step ladder (however, Clare was very happy when she heard earlier that The tall guy from last year would come to the task. At some point, Kash and Sevan had to run East for their next mission, so there was a change of command. Caz, who got the keys and the hotline to Clare now, led the group, making sure all strings were in place for the event.

How strong is a piece of string?

After dusk, Sevan and Kash returned to Northfield Allotment to inspect whether the decorative strings held up till evening and whether every pumpkin on Radbourne Walk was glowing well with a single light in. As other GoodGymers, they got free entry to the event. The code word GoodGym, didn't seem to work at the entrance but the name Clare did the trick. The visiting GoodGymers could see all the effort their team and allotments' volunteers had put into the event. If Sevan and Kash were not terrified by the skeletons on the trail, they got a bit scared of the pouring rain that just started. Nevertheless, the event has gone well. When they encountered Clare, she mentioned 3000 visitors popping into the Pumpkin Trail so far.

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EalingCommunity mission


Sunday 2nd July 2023

Written by Madhan

Steph and Clare(from allotments) were having a chat near the entrance when I joined them with the litter pickers. I noticed some tennis balls here and there and thought they were litters that need picking.

Don't litter pick the tennis balls - Clare

Popping balloons

The first task of the day was to blow some balloons. As it was Steph's birthday this fit right into the theme. The first 2 balloons we blew, flew off and popped when they came into contact with the spiky plants in the allotments. We then started using a bin bag to hold down all the balloons. Clare then requested us to tie them to the entrance. 2 more balloons popped as there were more spiky plants. After careful planning, we managed to complete the task

Washing buckets

Two sponges, a fairy liquid, and 10 buckets were the items used in the next task. We gave the buckets a nice scrub and washed them off from an allotment nearby. The buckets are meant to be used as donation buckets.

Litter picking

After doing some bits and bobs of carrying some pieces of stuff for bbq and such we then went for the last task of the day. Steph and I loaded ourselves with litter pickers and started searching for litter. The allotment is well maintained and we rarely found any litter in the pathway meant for public use. We managed to find some litter around the bushes. As Steph and I haven't had many plans after 12:00, we stayed for a bit and helped Claire(from goodgym) label the bins.

Steph stayed till 4:30 whereas I came back for the bbq and after party at 5 pm after wrapping up my good deed at another allotment bit west.

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EalingGroup run

Wingin' It

Tuesday 27th June 2023

Written by Kash

All roads lead to allotments

Madhan, Steph and Kash met at Bodyline and set off to the second meeting point of the day: St John's Church in West Ealing, a site well-known to our fantastic supporters of Friday's Ealing Soup Kitchen. Divya, who gave his home area a miss tonight, cycled to Ealing to represent Hammersmith & Fulham on a special celebration. It was Madhan's 100th good deed and 21st birthday (or the other way around).

The third meeting point was at the Northfields Allotment gate, where we encountered Claire who had the power to let us in - the allotments padlock key. The final addition to the team was Chris who sprinted to meet us on time at the task.

DIY Angel

Before we started the task, Kash produced a pair of fluffy pink wings (a symbol of the 💯 milestone) from her tiny bag and helped Madhan install them on his back. As another Claire from the allotment pointed out, the wings were not assembled correctly (they were upside down 🤦‍♂️) and we had to make a correction.

Can U Dig It?

Claire was in charge today and had a range of tasks for us. The anticipated main job of organising the communal shed was off-limits because we couldn't unlock the shed. No key - no problem! The secondary task, digging and weeding a nearby vegetable plot, became the main work for most of us. Claire provided us with forks and shovels. She also watered the soil to soften it a bit. Otherwise, the ground was too dry and hard to dig - even for Madhan! Check the before and after photos to see how we got on!

Claire and Chris left the main group to weed and sweep the paving slabs at the spot where the allotments' association organised an open communal event on the weekend. Madhan and Kash went to the North of the fence to collect litter. Accessing some of the rubbish required getting on top of an elevated surface. Madhan flew up there and picked up all the plastic cups and bottles that accumulated in that hotspot.

Behind the scenes

In the background, there were covert activities going on 🤫 - an undercover cake run and gathering signatures for a petition to make Madhan the president of the allotments. All of these operations were linked to the party after completing the task.

Proud of making the oldest allotments in London look young again, we headed off to the pub to celebrate Madhan being young again! 🎂🥳🍻

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EalingCommunity mission

Stranger Strings

Saturday 29th October 2022

Written by Kash

As the end of October approaches, there is always an opportunity for a Halloween-themed community mission. This Saturday morning GoodGym Ealing had the pleasure of helping Northfields Allotments with setting up their famous family event - The Pumpkin Trail!

When we arrived at the site that is apparently London's oldest allotments, we had a peek inside the fenced area and were quite impressed with the part of the trail that was already set up. In broad daylight, we were spooked by numerous skeletons, scarecrows and moving ghosts!

Jenni and Claire, representing both GoodGym and Northfield Allotments invited everyone to the site. The black shirts, Sevan and Kash, were sent back to Radbourne Walk, the pathway bordering the allotments, to prove themselves first by dealing with all the litter on the path. In reality, they were given early access to the VIP zone where the main task would be carried out. Jenni and Michelle, the only holders of valid wheelbarrow driving licenses, hopped on their rides and transported carved pumpkins to the sides of the footpath.

The rest of the GoodGym team was soon deployed to Radbourne Walk to put up lights and spooky decorations along the way. We imported Luis from GoodGym Hounslow today to help us attach the festive strings to the tall tree branches. His resourcefulness (not height!) was irreplaceable. We got Michelle included in the Hounslow package for her impeccable ability to undo tangled cables.

Radbourne Walk quickly turned into a part of the trail with paper pumpkins, pointy hats, bats, skeletons and lights dangling above the heads of passers-by. We hope the eerily lit ghostly passage looked amazing after dark and the families visiting the Pumpkin Trail had lots of fun!

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EalingGroup run
Mike CHelen GChrisSam LefevreJenni HLiv Parker-Scott

Not losing the plot!

Tuesday 14th May 2019

Written by Liv Parker-Scott

A little run but a massive good deed last night in Ealing as 12 of us ran to help Northfields Allotments dig plots for people in the community who were struggling to maintain them due to older age and recent spells of bad health.

We began by congratulating Harvey on his 8th marathon of the year on Sunday! He’s really cracking on through them now and we’re glad he had just enough in his legs to provide us with his excellent back marking skills last night! With the sun shining and a beautiful evening in store we whizzed through a quick warm up, head count and discussion about upcoming holidays. Sounds like a lot of exciting trips over the next year for our GoodGym members!

This is why we GoodGym!

After a short run through the park using some file sprints we arrived at Northfields Allotments (London’s oldest allotments!) to meet Tana who had arranged for us to help with two plots that had become unmanageable. It was immediately obvious how important this task was to be and really reinforced why we GoodGym! Mr J is a long-standing plot holder of 40 years and the allotment brings him so much joy. However after a bill of bad health last year he’s struggled with being able to manage it on his own and just needed a hand digging it over so he could get going with it again. That’s where we come in and we were delighted to be able to help with such an impactful task! We were also able to help another plot holder who’s had some recent health problems by digging a trench at their plot too, Mrs S was so grateful to receive the our help and hopefully we’ve provided the needed (wo)man power needed to help her maintain her lovely space!

The plot thickened...

We all worked methodically to ensure that we dug over every section and Mr J, Tana and his lovely daughter Kate offered us their top tips throughout. Working together we managed to get pretty much the whole plot turned over in just a short amount of time and when we were done it was clear just how much this meant to Mr J to be able to keep this land that’s such a big part of his life and wellbeing.

It was wonderful to arrive home to find such a lovely email from Kate thanking us for our helping hands. She said that it was great that we understood how much her dad an Mrs S love being in the allotment and that’s we’d given them such a boost to have the work done.

A massive well done to everyone involved in last nights dig!

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