Good Deeds

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Alya completed 5 good deeds with GoodGym. 🥳

Wednesday 9th October 2019

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Alya completed 5 good deeds with GoodGym.

Alya is a now a pretty committed GoodGym runner. They've just run to do good for the fifth time

Anwen Greenaway
Alya went on a group run

Wed 9th Oct 2019 at 6:00pm

How much fun did we have at Little Peeple? Shed Loads!

Oxford Report written by Anwen Greenaway

Another week, another longer run to our evening task.

This is the 4th week in a row that we've run more than 6km on our Group Run - we must be getting fitter! If you're thinking it's time for an easier week, we'll have a change of pace next week with a walkable task, and for the runners there are options to run anything from 2km to 6km.

In preparation for taking over as your benign dictator in Oxford, Trev gave the run briefing this week, getting everyone to introduce themselves and tell us their favourite musical instrument. Kudos to Ben for picking the triangle. Everyone's favourite orchestral instrument, surely?! Trev will be leading Oxford GoodGym from 1st November until 30th March.

With no messing about we set off through the streets of Cowley bang on time to run the 4km(ish) to Little Peeple Nursery. Wiggling our way through the back streets, past some of our past tasks, grumbling our way up the hill on Beauchamp Lane, swooping down to the underpass, and dodging brambles along the footpath, we arrived at Little Peeple just a bit out of breath and sweaty.

Lindsey and Malcolm were there to greet us with some squash and chocolate biscuits, correctly guessing that the way to every runners heart is through their stomach!

The main task at Little Peeple Nursery was to move a metal shed to it's new location in the nursery garden. The contents had already been emptied, and the shed itself was actually quite light, but needed several people to move because of it's size.

Up went the shed, shuffle, shuffle, over the fence, maneuver carefully, wriggle out of the way, and plop into the new location.

Next up, refilling it with all it's contents. I'll be honest here; we didn't really believe everything would fit back in! The shed seemed small, the pile on the grass seemed large. However, that little metal shed has Tardis-like properties, and with a little bit of stacking and rearranging it only took 10 minutes to fill it up with play equipment, chairs, boxes and crates.

Main task complete we took a tour to the back of the garden to see what had changed since we first came to Little Peeple back in July. Over the summer Malcolm had made a lovely little fence across the garden using the wooden pallets we shifted on our last visit, and has made a storage shed from discarded materials too. While we were there we moved a few more bits of treasure into the garden so that they're handy for Malcolm for his next projects. There are big plans afoot for the outdoor space. It's already awesome, but Lindsey and Malcolm are working to make it even better.

Tasks done, it was time to get running again. "Great" we thought "a nice easy run back. We climbed the hill on the way here, so it must be downhill on the way home." But NO! Trev had other ideas....first we stopped for a minute of squats, Angus proving to be champion squatter. Then a few minutes later Trev challenged us to a minute of star jumps, Ben taking the crown on this one. And finally, we caterpillared our way down to Florence Park and along Cricket Road getting a few sprints in. Between 8km of running, weightlifting a shed, and Trev's dastardly fitness sessions we got a very decent workout, finishing with a jog back to our base and some gentle stretches.

Congratulations on completing your 10th Good Deeds Isabella and Aoife. Special thanks to Aoife who has back-marked the run for 5 of those good deeds - much appreciated!

Welcome Jeremy. We hope you enjoyed your 1st GoodGym experience!

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Anwen Greenaway
Alya went on a group run

Wed 21st Aug 2019 at 6:00pm

Cour(gette) Blimey! We're 6 months old

Oxford Report written by Anwen Greenaway

6 months old already! 428 Good Deeds completed, including 12 coach runs and 7 Mission Runs.

We have litter-picked, painted, scythed, raked, weeded, planted, sanded, wheelbarrowed, and of course run, and run, and run.

We have played frisbee, sprinted along the lamp-posts, swung along many sets of monkey bars, played on outdoor treadmills, zip-wired, done sit ups in the rain, tried to master mountain climbers, run relays and hills, and nearly mutineed over planking.

Most importantly, while doing good around Oxford we have laughed a lot, learnt new skills, and made friends and new connections within Goodgym and with our task owners.

Our 6 month birthday run was no exception to the relentless positivity of a Goodgym Group Run, as we welcomed Katie and Ben to their first Goodgym experience, before heading off at a fair clip through the city centre and past some of Oxford's most famous sites to rendez-vous with Tim (the City Council Waterways Co-ordinator) at Hythe Bridge Park on the Oxford Canal. This week's mission was to improve Oxford's waterways, both canal-side and along Castle Mill Stream.

After a warning about discarded needles and instructions on how to dispose of them safely, we split into Team Litter and Team Plants. Team Litter donned gloves, grabbed bin bags and tackled the mess of cigarette butts, bike baskets, coffee cups, and plastic bottles lying around the little park at the end of the Oxford Canal. We've never been thanked so much by members of the public as we were on this task! We were stopped 3 times for a chat and thank you's, which gave us a chance to explain about Goodgym (no, we aren't on community service, at least not that kind of community service!) and make people aware of the little ways they can help in their community.

Meanwhile Team Plants followed Tim across the road to the patch of riverbank beside The Oxford Retreat pub, where they planted native shrubs along a section of fencing, attached wire for them to climb up, and gave them a thorough watering. The stretch of fence is a favourite spot for graffiti, so the hope is that the plants will discourage that in the future. A few weeks ago we planted climbing plants over the road in Hythe Bridge Park, so we took the opportunity to check their survival rate (a couple of casualties, but mostly doing well) and water them ahead of the predicted warm weather this coming weekend.

Jobs completed, tools packed, and we were all ready to run off along the towpath, but WAIT! Not so fast!! We hadn't reckoned on Tim remembering it was our 6 month birthday this week

....and nothing says 'Happy 6 month Birthday' like a courgette with 6 birthday candles in it!

  • Happy Birthday To Us sung (to the possible puzzlement of passersby) - see you get a lung workout at Goodgym too!
  • Group photo taken - shouldn't have doubted the photo skills of the unsuspecting tourist we asked to immortalise us.
  • And we were free to run.

Making full use of the daylight we meandered back to base along the towpath, through the University Parks, and a magical mystery tour along the River Cherwell, completing nearly 5km of running just on the return journey. Go team, go!

Since it was our sort-of birthday, and because raw courgette isn't the easiest thing to share, we indulged in some cake once back at East Oxford Community Centre.


Onwards and upwards (not too much of the upwards though, hills are unkind): Here's to another awesome 6 months of running and doing good. #SmugRun

Photo gallery today includes some of my favourites from our 6 months of tasks.

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Anwen Greenaway
Alya went on a group run

Wed 26th Jun 2019 at 6:00pm

Tremendous Twelve go Adventuring

Oxford Report written by Anwen Greenaway

“You can’t possibly do anything if you think you can’t. But you can do impossible things sometimes, if you think you can.” Enid Blyton

It had been a grey week, and the Tremendous Twelve had been trapped indoors watching the rain trickle down the window panes for days. All the plans for the summer hols were trickling away. And suddenly they remembered all in a rush what day it was! "It's Wednesday - and it's Goodgym night!" they said to themselves, and their legs fizzed with joy.

The Children's Allotment had looked thrilling enough on the night they had seen it before - but now, in the June breeze, it seemed an enchanting place to explore. As they drew near to it, and saw the trees in the orchard heavy with fruit and heard the call of blackbirds, the Tremendous Twelve gazed in delight. Nothing but trees and nettles, birds and woven hazel fencing. Now that it was almost completely bramble free oh, what a lovely allotment, all for their very own! (Or, for 45 minutes of volunteering.)

Donning gardening gloves, and sharing out tools, the gang were soon hard at work. With studious concentration they de-tangled bindweed from hedgerow and hazel, sorted plastic from metal for the skip, and removed plastic cones from edible hedgerow plants. Meanwhile Alya and Sarah were on a treasure hunt, and with great excitement called the others over to help identify their finds. The gang solemnly agreed it was definitely Pirate Gold (Jackie Annual 1982).

"I don’t know why, but getting fit in the outdoors while helping the local community always seems so much nicer than exercising indoors," said Mark.

All of the Tremendous Twelve agreed with Mark, and setting off away from the Children's Allotment they planned to find some more adventures to fill the long summer day. Rounding the corner they discovered some circus folk had taken up residence nearby. "Golly!" exclaimed Alison, "I do wish I could fly through the air like that on the flying trapeze. It looks such tremendous fun!" But lacking training, the appropriate health and safety assessment, and a prior booking, our intrepid adventurers made do with a highly competitive game of frisbee, and acquired a new companion/mascot in the form of a small but determined dog.

As the sun started to dip on a truly satisfying evening, the Tremendous Twelve made their weary way home, delivering a handful of newsletters for Crisis en-route. Home to supper for this Tremendous Twelve.

~With apologies to Enid Blyton for a poor attempt at her style!
~Well done to Alison and Bethan for both completing their 10th Good Deed with Goodgym
~Welcome to Harriet and Katherine, who joined us for the first time.

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Bethan GreenawayAnwen Greenaway
Alya connected Twitter. 🥇

Wednesday 19th June 2019



Alya connected Twitter.

Alya has connected up their twitter account to GoodGym. Find them on twitter at:

Alya went on a group run

Wed 19th Jun 2019 at 6:00pm

A wall fall evening

Oxford Report written by Anwen Greenaway

This week is the Jo Cox Foundation's Great Get Together, which encourages communities up and down the country to get together to celebrate kindness, respect, and all we have in common. All Goodgym runs this week are in partnership with the initiative, and you can find out what else is going on here. Goodgym really is the perfect example of ethos the Great Get Together is trying to encourage, as everyone is friendly, welcoming, and enthusiastic about helping and supporting each other and their community. Despite my tongue-in-cheek title to this run report, this week's group run was no exception to this!

After distributing wrist bands and stickers celebrating the Great Get Together, as well as the ever-essential gardening gloves, we set off to our task at Iffley Glebe, chitter-chattering our way along the Iffley Road. A moment of distraction, and we had our first accident for the incident log, as an uneven pavement caused a tumble and a bloody knee: Hope it isn't too sore today Mark! Fortunately the injury didn't end the run, and onwards we went with barely a limp, through the pretty village of Iffley to meet Rachel from the Oxford Preservation Trust at Iffley Glebe.

Iffley Glebe is an important piece of meadow land in the heart of Iffley, which helps the area retain it's rural character despite being in the city.

At this time of year the grass (and nettles!) are tall, and there is an abundance of wildflowers in the Glebe. The grass will be cut for hay next month, but for now it is a mini jungle, which is a perfect habitat for wildlife. We were previously at Iffley Glebe in April, clearing the old stone walls of ivy and other weeds to help preserve the stonework. Our repeat visit was to remove any returning weeds in the wall bordering Church Way before they get established, and to start work clearing the tenacious ivy covering the wall with the cemetery. The cost of repairing stone walls runs into thousands of pounds, so keeping the weeds away is vital. This time we also had the bonus task of removing the metal cage from around the trunk of a young walnut tree now that it is big enough not to need the protection.

After an explanation of the tasks from Rachel and a brief history of the Glebe, we split into teams, our tallest runners setting to work on the walnut tree cage, as they were the only ones who could reach the top of it! Meanwhile a quartet headed out onto the pavement along Church Way to weed the wall, and the remaining Goodgymers armed themselves with secateurs, handsaws and loppers and set to work on clearing the ivy along the cemetery wall.

As always, 30 minutes flew by...despite the fact that we know we can achieve quite a lot in half an hour we are always pleased to see the results of the hard work!

We managed to completely remove the metal cage from around the walnut tree, clear almost all of the back wall of ivy, and de-weeded the whole front wall. Team work makes for dream work!

Returning tools, and pausing for squash and shortbread (thank you Rachel!), we set off to our 2nd stop of the evening - the Iffley Road Sports Centre. Scooting straight through to the Roger Bannister Track we now had the opportunity to see if we could run a sub-4 minute mile!

Whilst none of us managed to equal Sir Roger Bannister's achievement, I'm pretty sure that we would have done if we weren't already a bit tired from our hard work at Iffley Glebe :-)

We will be back to Iffley Glebe again in August, by which time the grass will have been cut for hay, and so we have been invited to take the frisbee for post-task fun and games in the meadow.

Thanks to Sarah for backmarking the run, Mark for taking some of the photos, and to Oxford University Sport for allowing us to run on the Roger Bannister Track.

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Bethan GreenawayAnwen Greenaway
Alya has done their first good deed with GoodGym. 🤩

Thursday 16th May 2019

GoodGym Runner

GoodGym Runner

Alya has done their first good deed with GoodGym.

Alya is a now a fully fledged GoodGym runner. They've just run to do good for the first time. They are out there making amazing things happen and getting fit at the same time.

Alya went on a group run

Wed 15th May 2019 at 6:00pm

Bi-sickle, Bi-Sickle, Bicycle!

Oxford Report written by Anwen Greenaway

With only a short run to our task at St Mary's and St John Churchyard we had time for some more thorough introductions this evening, and what better way to get to know each other than to learn what is everyone's Kryptonite?! With fears both rational and slightly more niche (yes, I'm freaked out by moths, but fine with butterflies) brought out in the open, and promises NEVER to use them against each other, we set off running feeling like we'd had a mini group therapy session.

Half a mile up the Cowley Road we met Ruth, who co-ordinates the volunteers at St Mary & St John churchyard. The churchyard is closed for new burials and is now being managed as a peaceful green wildlife space by community volunteers. Our tasks for the evening were to water a newly-planted hedgerow, weed around the saplings, rake and sweep up cut grass, and clear the cow parsley and sticky willy (that again!) from the Garden of Remembrance to allow the smaller wildflowers to get some light.

16 Goodgymers donned gloves, tooled up and split into teams. Tim is turning into our raking specialist, single-handedly tackling the strimmed back grass, while the cow parsley/sticky willy group got to experience Panto at it's finest as Julia channeled Captain Hook using a sickle as a hand. The promise of 'no nettles this week' proved not to be 100% accurate for the weeders and waterers, but with plenty of dock-leaves around to take the edge off the sting hopefully those tingles won't last long!

40 minutes flew by with radio interviews, several wheelbarrow loads to the compost pile, and innumerable watering cans full of water to drench the plants. Before we knew it we were packing away the tools and heading for the hills. Literally.

up Up UP!

It turns out Divinity Road goes on, and on, and on......BUT, at the top we were rewarded with a GOLDEN POST BOX commemorating Lily van den Broeke's 2012 Paralympic Gold medal. Heading along to Warneford Meadow gave us the opportunity to talk a little about the work on mental health undertaken at the Warneford Hospital, where our very own Goodgymer Jessica works, and where we have a task coming up in a couple of weeks' time.

Then on to South Park, past the TOAD distillery, but no time for gin this week - we had railings to admire! Our very first task in Oxford was clearing the railings of ivy at the top of South Park on Cheney Lane, so we were pleased to see that they're still looking ivy free. Into the park, and the pay off for climbing up the hill, DOWN!

Swooping through the park with one of the best views of Oxford's Dreaming Spires, we stopped only to admire the tight-rope walkers and for a brief round of freeze-frisbee, then back to base.

  • Congratulations this week to Tim for completing his 10th Goodgym Good Deed. Give him a cheer!

  • A big welcome, to Josie, Sarah, Alya and Lucy. We hope to see you again soon!

  • AND....thank you to Katie for the Run Report title. I always appreciate help with the punning!

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Anwen Greenaway