Oxford House

A much loved community and arts centre in the heart of the East End
This multipurpose arts centre offers weekly activities including dance, health and fitness for a range of ages from 5yrs to 90+, as well as providing affordable office space to over 30 organisations, charities and social businesses.

179 GoodGymers have supported Oxford House with 16 tasks.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
George RennisonNina JhatakiaMartinSian WaughJoel

100 good deeds (and a lot of weeds)

Monday 12th September 2022

Written by Laura Williams

A small group of four jogged companionably through the streets of Bethnal Green this evening, to meet the rest of the team at our task at Oxford House.

It was a gorgeously warm evening; the streets were bustling as usual, and although busy, was nonetheless a delightful little warm-up for this evening's activity.

Slowly the team grew, until we formed two decent-sized squads: one team headed outside to clear weeds and litter from paving stones, while another headed indoors to clean glasses and glass ready for a big event.

Why were we doing this?

Oxford House's mission is to 'provide a community-led, inspiring, diverse, and sustainable multipurpose arts space.' With more and more events returning to the centre combined with fewer volunteers over the last couple of years, GoodGymers have been delighted to return to this task over the last couple of weeks, to help with painting, taping, furniture-moving and gardening.

The time flew by this evening, with many areas of moss, weeds and litter being swept up, while the inside glass-cleaning crew finished in no time, and were soon dispatched to a new glass-cleaning task.

Fun, fast and very productive, it seemed like no time at all that we were lining up on the ramp for a final group shot, promising to return soon.

The big shout-outs tonight go to the outdoor team, particularly Sian, Joel and Emma, who helped come up with tonight's pun and to our Ivy, who tonight reached her 100th good deed! (Ivy's a member of Task Force, and often leading tasks and attending socials, Parkruns, and generally out-and-about on the GoodGym circuit, contributing bundles).

A brilliant night all-round, everyone, and we look forward to returning soon.

Next week our big weekday task is taking place on Wednesday instead of Monday, and you can sign-up here.

Until then.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
George RennisonLiz BaxterKellieEd LongRosieSian Waugh

No paint, no gain

Monday 5th September 2022

Written by Laura Williams

We were delighted to be meeting back at Bethnal Green's gorgeous Town Hall Hotel this week, a splendid, welcoming base to meet for this evening's Group Run.

After a quick warm-up, we headed out into Bethnal Green's busy, bustling streets, taking in Middleton Green, scene of many a fitness session over the last couple of years.

On arrival at Oxford House, we were joined by other members, who'd made their way on foot and cycle, ready to start this evening's task at 7-prompt.

It was an absolute joy to see Deborah again, who we haven't seen for a while, as we were briefed on this evening's tasks.

Why were we here?

We haven't visited Oxford House for nearly three years! And as there are a number of jobs that the venue are happy to have a hand with, we were delighted to return to this lively community venue.

Forming two teams, we gathered in the basement toilets and the gallery. Team Toilet wasted no time preparing the space for the big task of the night: painting the whole toilet area! They quickly got to work tackling one wall at a time, in a small, rather warm space.

Meanwhile the team who'd headed over to the theatre area were busy taping up areas not to be painted as the theatre is soon to get a new look. Skirting boards, door handles...all were carefully sealed with tape.

When the taping team had finished, they proceeded to empty the theatre of furniture, stacking piles of chairs and moving the heavy piano. As usual, they finished the task early.

As they stacked the last chair and tidied away the last bits of tape, the painting team were busy finishing up in the tidiest way possible. (With a little more painting remaining, it's a good job we're back next week).

Paint brushes were washed, rollers soaked, the floor scrubbed... Finally we were able to gather for one last pic.

Shout-outs tonight to Rahul for this evening's pun, and to George, for his first GoodGym event!

Next week, we return to see Deborah for Painting Part II, theatre clearance, and a few other active jobs.

Until then.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
Becs ClarkeLeoSiLaura WilliamsLaura HowarthAlison Porter

Stair Force One

Monday 6th January 2020

Written by Laura Williams

A tremendous January turnout

It was a lovely sized group of 39 who divided into two terrific tasks tonight for our first Group Run of 2020.

We met in our intimate little hotel room, warm and welcoming, before heading outside to say hello to our new runners, run through our tasks for tonight, give the January Challenge a big shout-out (thank you, Kat & Becki and warm up for the evening's activity.

Two tasks, of course

Task force member Lieke was leading a group of 8 to help Cranbrook Community Food Garden clear a huge Christmas leaf backlog, while I was leading a team to Oxford House where task owner Jess had a big variety of tasks ready for us.

The Cranbrook crew cleared and bagged leaves and repaired netting from vegetable beds, and generally worked tirelessly with task owners Janet and Eileen until the whole garden was FIXED, before clocking up some extra miles, as they raced to join us at Oxford House in time for our fitness session.

Meanwhile over in Derbyshire St, the multiple Oxford House teams set about: litter-picking in front of the arts centre, scrubbing stone steps and window sills, and touching up all the walls of the building. Busy, busy bees.

...And two trainers

At 8 we met in the theatre for this evening's fitness session, where we were lucky enough to be joined by Chi, who started the runners off on a brilliant but tough warm up. He then handed over to me for a lower body and abs interval before re-taking the reins and blitzing abs and upper body a bit more.

Before we knew it, it was time to finish our last rep, and re-join Jess in the reception area for our cheerios and pics, before heading back to the hotel, for a final stretch for the evening.

An incredible night. What a start to the New Year.

Big, big January shout-out's

Big thank you's to our incredible task force who stepped in both over the weekend to lead the second task, and to help plan tonight's run, as the sign-ups just kept on climbing!

Thank you to Chi for fabulous fitness instruction, and for some wicked pics. And thank you to Lieke and Isabelle for fab pics too.

And a HUGE warm welcome to our new runners, Pauline, Alison, Alex, Ellinor, Mathew, Jess and Lucy,. Thank you for being SUCH an asset to our first run of 2020, for doing so much, and for the smiles and fun. Please, please join us again soon.

What's coming up...

On Saturday, we're running an additional session. Yep, this is one for all our regulars, but is especially for our new runners! So, if you're new, or reading this and contemplating joining us, this is your session. It's one of our longest established tasks, it's an amazing gardening task and we have a full and varied fitness session to follow, catering to all fitness abilities, so please do sign up.

Until then, have a great week, and hope to see you very, very soon.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
Klaudia SkoniecznaEileen ChenLiekeAliceLaura Williams

Stairwell to Heaven

Monday 2nd December 2019

Written by Laura Williams

A December chill was no deterrent

It may have been a chilly night but that didn't deter 24 runners from setting out for two tasks tonight.

Yep, we were only due on one big decorating task at Oxford House, but I got a call from Catherine at Parkview this afternoon cheerfully checking we were "all good for this evening". Cue wide-eyed, head-scratching, panicked trainer.

But as always, Task Force came to the rescue and Leo led a team down to Parkview to help Catherine plant crocuses and cut out cardboard trees for this weekend's Winter fair.

In the meantime, I led the remaining runners to Oxford House, the beautiful community arts centre off Bethnal Green Road, where task owners Deborah and Jessica had prepared brilliantly the stairways ready for a big paint job.

It was all hands to the pump, as the team shuttled rollers, brushes, masking tape & paint trays between all 18 of us, getting stuck in in record time. They worked tirelessly getting the emulsion on those walls as quickly as they could, trying their hardest not to spill too much...

A toasty theatre for a tough tum workout

And then at 8 we all met in the toasty theatre for tonight's Cardio & Core session, where the runners whizzed through speedy plank leg sweeps, jumping single leg squats and the Pilates roll up-on-steroids.

An unreal evening's work, guys.

The messages following the tasks from truly appreciative task owners make for beautiful reading, "...they have done absolutely fantastic work", messaged Catherine by 8.15!

Thanks tonight, to Leo, and Kat, who brilliantly led the team to Parkview and back to Oxford House; to our photographers Leo, Kat, Steve, and Izzie, and to Joel for his usual brilliant pun.

A big warm welcome to Jo, who joined us from Exeter GG - what a treat! Lovely to see you Jo: thanks for being such an asset tonight, and we hope to see you very soon.

And hello and welcome to our first time runners, Johanna: thank you too, for being so hardworking, and for all the smiles, and we hope to see you really soon.

Next week, we're off to the Royal London

Yes, next week our very own Chi leads the crew to the Royal London where task owner Nancy, and the other Barts Volunteers have all manner of Christmas-y WARM, INDOOR tasks for you! Check it out here!

Until next time, have a brilliant week everyone: stay warm, stay smiling, stay wonderful.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
MartinLeoChris BellSiLaura Williams

Frame of Thrones

Monday 4th November 2019

Written by Laura Williams

Oh, what a night

What a night! 17 runners gathered in our hotel room where tonight we were joined by the new GG Barking trainer, Peter! What a treat. Peter wasted no time in getting to know the team, finding out what we were up to tonight and generally proving to be a huge asset to the team. Lucky Barking.

We were also lucky enought to be joined by Jenny from Greenwich GG tonight - lovely to meet you Jenny, and hope we see you again soon! And it was Rob's first run, who also proved to be a wonderful addition to the crew. Come again soon Rob!

We set out for tonight's task a little after 7 (long story) and headed the short distance along bustling Bethnal Green Road to Oxford House, beautifully backmarked by Kat, where tonight Deborah had all manner of tasks awaiting us. To give you some background, Deborah is planner supreme. We arrived to neat rows of balls of string, bin liners, spirit measure, paint trays, rollers...you name it... all laid out carefully on the cafe counter with accompanying post-its and runners numbers allocated. A trainer's dream.

The Task(s)

So 4 teams were dispatched throughout the building:

  • One team were tasked with putting up Oxford House pictures in the basement.
  • Another team prepped another area of the basement for a new exhibition, displaying impressive lifting skills as they carted boxes and furniture over multiple floors.
  • A third were assigned to decorating in the main entrance area as one exhibition makes way for another.
  • A fourth team willingly and valiantly headed out front on what's an increasingly chilly Monday night to clear the garden area of leaves.

We then had a splinter task of some furniture relocation which involved the leaf team joining Kat for an adventure up to the Chapel. Yes, the chapel. Who knew. The team were then treated to a quick view of the roof terrace area. All part of the orientation process obviously.

And then it was 8 and we bounded (traipsed) up to the dance studio where I treated the team to a high octane, pulse-raising session this evening. Thank you to our brilliant-but-injured Isabelle who helped out by taking bundles of pics.

We finished with a smile, a wave, and a huge sense of achievement. Again: What. A. Night.

Get it in the diary QUICK

Now, next week, we're heading to the Royal London to see what Nancy and the Barts Volunteers need a hand with in the run up to Christmas. You can check it out and sign up here.

While before that, on Friday, GoodGym is going out,out. Yes, it's the November social. But this is no ordinary social. This is the #GG10 social celebration and our outgoing social secretary's last social. Yes, come on down and say thank you and cheerio to the legend who is Pritesh, who has inspired so many TH runners to extend their GoodGym activity beyond running and tasking. As one of our runners, new to us this year, said after her first social, "Pritesh is the best human being." So there we go. Details are here.

Well, that just leaves me to say cheerio for this week: thanks to the Tower Hamlets crew, and Oxford House, and Deborah Fowler, for another life-enhancing night, and HAVE A TRULY WONDERFUL week everyone.

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Tower HamletsGroup run
OrsiLaura Williams

Cake Winslet

Monday 7th October 2019

Written by David Mansfield

An Autumn Spring-clean

24 committed runners assembled in our wonderful weekly meeting place to head to Oxford House for two tasks (more of that later), which was in need of a few pairs of GoodGym hands.

Dynamic task owner Deborah was beautifully prepped as usual, with kit galore and runners allocated to tasks via a complex, effective Post-it Note system. Runners were divided into

  • One group headed to the theatre (we're lucky enough to use for our fitness) to give it a bit of a spring clean
  • One team headed to blitz the bar area to get it pristine
  • There was a furniture-clearing-and-lifting group
  • A window-cleaning crew headed to the entrance area
  • A large team gathered to blitz the cafe area

It was the usual hive of activity with GoodGymers working a hundred miles an hour, and Deborah speedily allocating them to new tasks, once one was completed.

And so the clock struck 8.

Cake and core

Now. Laura didn't know about the secret second task. Which was to surprise her with cake (magnificently baked and transported, no less, by our Kat to celebrate her 100th good deed, and for generally being an excellent group leader. While the Oxford House was being blitzed with hoovers, Windolene and dish cloths, runners were simultaneously slinking off to the dressing room to sign Laura's card. As we gathered for our usual outro, the cake was revealed and a tearful Laura gave a great acceptance speech about how lovely we all are, and then made us work on our abs before cake (glad you remained on message throughout, Laura). Will need a bigger bribe next time.

A quick run back to the hotel, not forgetting our weekly quad and ham stretches, and then onwards for beer and pizza to continue the celebration.

A last note from us, Tower Hamlets regular runners: For the last couple of years Laura, our very own Dora the Explorer has been a tireless coordinator of tasks, motivating us to move and reminding us that abs exist and need punishing!

Laura, we all appreciate the hard work you put in behind the scenes to make every Monday night a success. Thank you for your dedication, humour and kind words, they all help us forget our day and enjoy running with GoodGym. Thanks also for the snacks every week, the Cardi B playlists and the strict adherence to the red man at traffic lights that keeps us all safe!

Favourite Laura Catchphrases:

  • "You had one job, Laura" while running dashing around the task juggling an array of jobs.

  • Excuse the view", before turning around and demonstrating impressive glutes.

Other Monday shout-outs

Welcome to Emma and thank you for a fabulous first run! You worked tirelessly and contributed heaps. Thank you and come again soon.

Thank you to Kat and Leo and Leanne planning and prep, and magnificent baking to help bring this impromptu party to our group.

Thanks to, Isabelle, Jo and Lieke for lovely backmarking this evening; for coming forward so quickly, and for providing a brilliant, inclusive experience for all runners.

Now, onwards to more glorious GoodGym events...

Next week we're heading to the lovely Parkview Estate, where we're going to help the Residents Association tidy up the grounds, and water the trees, that the residents all enjoy so much. Come on board for that here.

But closer than that is this Thursday, which sees the GoodGym social. Yes, a top night out - in fact, according to our very own Isabelle, it's "the BEST night out." So, head to Islington if you can to spend some time with friendly, fun faces. And remember - new faces are welcomed and wanted, so you'll never be left on your own. Details are here.

Over and out. Dave M.

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