0 Month Streak
0 Month Streak
20 Month Streak
Wed 6th Dec 2023 at 6:30pm
Tonight was bittersweet. It was the last official Barnsley GoodGym run to visit BCDP on a Wednesday evening. In future, visits will likely be happening more sporadically and be listed as meet-at tasks. We were also set to welcome in a new member this arvo...
We set off from Glasshouse at the usual time and headed to Hope House to prepare for the evening's deliveries. At Hope House we were met by a couple of familiar smiley faces- Jack and Peter. We swiftly set about stuffing snap sacks full of sweet snacks! In each one there was to be a biscuit bag (consisting of 2 bourbons, 2 custard creams and 2 'nice' biscuits), a carton of juice, a cheese sandwich, a bag of crisps, a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. We also made up an insulated mug of coffee to take out with us (more about this later!).
With all items packed up for the nights trip we fell in for the mission briefing. Using smartphone maps we were designated two known camp locations to investigate.
The first was in the grounds of St Mary's. Here we found evidence of rough sleeping in the form of a flattened tent but with no evidence of any recent occupants. Barnsley Council have accommodated rough sleepers for the cold season. A commendable policy. We reported our findings to the group and moved on to the next camp. This one was way down in the valley behind the old Pizza Hut. Here we found evidence of a camp being used but with no-one around. Hopefully they too have been put up for the cold nights.
There was one last place to check on our way back to base, the Lidl car park. Here too we found no-one, and so headed back to base.
We were the first ones back, so dropped off all the unused items, locked up and left. About 50 meters from the church we found a man rough sleeping so agreed to go back to make him a hot drink and sandwich. When we returned to hand over the items, the fella had already been found by Peter's team who were just in the process of giving him a snap bag and coffee. We decided to give him an extra sandwich and hot drink too as an extra warm beverage and snack is no bad thing on a cold night.
After this, we said goodbye to Peter, Jack, Jo and their new recruit, and headed off to stretch off the nights exertions at Glasshouse.
Wed 1st Nov 2023 at 6:30pm
First things first, to set the scene, this evening was dark, damp and dingy. We dutifully turned up at Buckley Methodist Church and after some messaging on WhatsApp we finally breached the threshold. We found the team already starting to get prepared for the night ahead. Jo was sandwich making, Trev was on hot drink duty making up flasks of tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and Jack was busy overseeing it all. Before opening the doors for the night we chipped in and made up some bags ready for distribution. The bags this evening consisting of a Rocky bar, a bag of crisps, a bag of select biscuits, either a cheese or ham sandwich, a carton of juice and a bottle of water. After aiding with the nights preparations we garnered some information about possible locations where people might be staying who don't make the trip to visit the drop-in. Tonight there were two or three main places to check out: the entrance porchway at St Mary's, the covered shelf outside one of the gyms in town and some of the greenspaces/parks in the center.
At St Mary's we found that the sheltered entrance area with benches had been security-gated off. How caring and good the church truly is! The homeless only used it at night and didn't leave a mess. We did a lap of the church to see if they were camped in the grounds like they used to be but only found a sleeping bag and cover stashed behind the bins. Further around we found a bag of clothes and bits left by the side of the road! Our next stop of the evening was the window shelf outside one of the gyms in town. This was a known camp location for one particular individual who speaks very little English. He wasn't there either and there was no evidence of anyone staying there (we think he may have been housed). Lastly we did a quick sweep of some of the other previous camp locations where we had previously found people, one of the pocket parks and some doorways. Alas, we didn't find anyone anywhere.
All that was left for us to do was head back to Buckley to drop off our bags and report what we had (or hadn't) found. It's likely that people are staying in the church area at St Mary's still so the BCDP are going to check there later on.
Wed 4th Oct 2023 at 6:30pm
This arvo we were helping the BCDP with their efforts to aid the homeless of Barnsley. Alongside their drop in session where people can go to Buckley Methodist Church to receive a hot drink and food they also deliver to people unable to get to the church. This task fell to GoodGym on this occasion.
We made up a flask of coffee and gathered some cups with lids ready to distribute it to the people we found on our round. We also packed some carrier bags which were filled with sandwiches, chocolate, crisps and juice to give out alongside the hot drinks.
There were two destinations given to us to visit. One was a well known location where one person is usually camped in the town centre and the other was in the grounds of a church. We found the first person but the people in the churchyard appear to have moved on.
After delivering our goods we headed back to Buckley where we debriefed Jack, Jo and Trev before heading off to stretch back at Glasshouse TableTable. Quite a distance was covered tonight so this stretch off was very welcome.
Fri 15th Sep 2023 at 12:45pm
Our tasks at the allotment consisted of meetings to discuss the future plans for the space and GoodGym's role in it... and also actual gardening work, namely pruning and weeding. We met Andrea, Mike and Keeley for prospective chat about collaborations between GG and the various other groups who use the allotment. There is scope for organising more Community MIssions at the plot with people from other groups joining us.
Andrea gave us a crash course in pruning the different varieties of fruit tree on the lotty. There are several varieties of apple. Some want to be pruned in specific ways to encourage healthy fruit and desired shapes of trees. The two main big trees are to be pruned in such a way that they resemble goblets. You want a broad spread. Downward pointing branches can be removed. Branches from the main trunks can also be pruned 3 or 5 shoots from the new growth to encourage 'up and out' growth. Any branches in the center reaching too far skyward can be chopped down to a size not topping the 'rim' of the 'cup'.
Pipped to the post
After the tree trimming frivolities we focused our efforts toward the bed that we planted earlier in the year. It needed weeding and we were the team fore the job! We had previously planted chard, rainbow chard, courgettes and leeks. Some of these were thriving but they were still surrounded by weeds that required removal. Some of the rainbow chard was sampled, though it is definitely an acquired taste raw as Kirsty can attest to judging from the facial expressions on display.
With jobs for the day completed, we downed tools and vacated the growing space.
Wed 26th Jul 2023 at 6:30pm
We had a lovely short sharp run up to Buckley Methodist Church to aid with food and drink distribution to the local needy. Met by Peter and Jo we immediately set about making up the bags that would later be given out at the hatch. We also made sure there were enough stocks of sandwiches and flasks of tea, coffee and hot chocolate. After a few minutes it was time to open up shop.
On the hot drink desk
On the front desk we took the names and orders of the clients and handed out the desired items. The choices were for the type of hot drink and sandwich alongside the standard items- a bag of biscuits, a packet of crisps, a juice box and a couple of chocolate bars. Behind the scenes people were constantly making up new flasks of hot drinks and topping up the supply of bags ready to be handed out. It was action stations for a few minutes before the rush of clients turned into a trickle and things became more relaxed.
After all clients were served we cleared the kitchen ready for the following day and set off back to Glasshouse for stretches.
Wed 26th Jul 2023 at 6:30pm
It will help homeless people in BarnsleyRead more
Wed 19th Jul 2023 at 6:30pm
So on our run tonight we were excited to have a new member attending; unfortunately they were taken ill and had to cancel. They have confirmed that they will be attending the next gardening session though. Ultimately this may have worked out rather well as I was unable to get my usual support team along to welcome them in anyway. They had 'helpfully' planned a GoodGym social outing at a clashing time so hopefully next time we have a new attendee things will all fall rightly into place for everyone involved.
Tonight we met Anne and Zak up at Locke Park to assist with some gardening. Our task was to cut away plants obscuring the view down the serpentine walk from the path above it. We were also to clear the pathway just on the inside of the fence bordering the top of the walk; many plants had overgrown onto this area and needed pruning back to keep them in check. There had been some concern over our safety when venturing down the slope to prune the plants. The situation was risk assessed and deemed to be within our remit (with members always only taking part in what they feel is safe for them of course). We hopped the fence like rabbits and started snipping away the overgrowth from the path. We used long loppers for the skyward reaching large plants and secateurs for the low lying shrubs. Care was taken when moving anywhere because of the steep slope behind us and the aggressive brambles lurking in the undergrowth ready to spring out when branches in their vicinity were snipped. Alongside clearing the pathway, we were also asked to chop down anything obscuring the view down the valley from the bench to the height of the border fence. Alongside the odd bits of rubbish that had found their way into the bushes we found a large plastic box with lid that Anne wanted to keep for storing things in in the shed. All of our cuttings were thrown over the fence onto the path to be put into the two rubble sacks we had with us. Meanwhile Anne was busy with the leaf blower clearing the surrounding paths of debris and Zak was keeping an eye on everything from his vantage point on the bench. Every now and then a passer-by would give us a cheerful comment on what good work we were doing which is always very motivational.
Tip chop work
When our time was up, we could clearly see a big improvement to the area, enabling easier access and the desired views of the valley from the bench and path which were the objectives. Our last task was to bag up the branches and leaves on the path. We filled two rubble sacks full and left the sacks to the side of the path for the gardeners to pick up the following morning.
After this we wheeled the tools back to the lock-up, said our goodbyes, and headed off down the hill for some stretching back at Glasshouse.
Wed 5th Jul 2023 at 6:30pm
This fine evening we had a slight change to the scheduled task of bagging up sports kit for Preloved as there wasn't a huge amount to do on that front. Instead, Anne and Zak agreed to meet us for a bonus session in Locke Park.
When we arrived at the park our first task of the evening was to gather up equipment from the tool store to transport to the work area. Our job tonight was to tend to various gardening needs around the upper end of the serpentine walk.
First on the list was chopping back branches overhanging the numbered steps up from the walk. We used loppers and large secateurs to cut back the vegetation to the paths borders and created headroom for ease of passage up and down the terraced walkway.
Chop to it!
Our second task was to cut down vegetation obscuring the view along the Serpentine Walk from the bench on top of the cliff at the far end. We ventured over the fence at the top to begin the chopping process, quickly finding out that we couldn't see where we were treading, thus discovering many boulders and large drops hidden from view, making our task that bit more 'fun'. We continually checked the sight line from the bench and trimmed accordingly, occasionally glimpsing Anne who was busy edging the bed below us in the valley. All of the chopped sticks and leaves were thrown over the railings at the top ready to be bagged up at the end. Whilst doing this we were approached by a passer-by who was curious what two folks in red t-shirts were doing up to their necks in the bushes... when we explained what we were up to they were rightly impressed with our industrious efforts! Another good GoodGym advertising opportunity, t-shirts thankfully on display during our encounter; always recruiting!
When we had finished the chopping, we checked the view from the bench and were impressed by the lovely meandering valley scene winding away below us!
Don't take me for a tool!
All that was left to do was bag up our cuttings and drag the bags to suitable locations by the path's side for the gardeners to collect. All together 3 full rubble sacks were filled up, and this was without including any dried leaves, just the branches we had cut down. The dry fallen leaves will probably be on the cards for our next trip in a couple of weeks time, when we will be joined by a new member!! Woop!
We then all took the tools back to the Locke Park lock-up, escorted by Zak, and said farewell until the 19th. Looking forward to it already!
Thanks to Kirsty for the excellent title pun!