Rake it ‘till you make it

11 Goodgymers helped their local community in Tower Hamlets
1 / 33
Tower Hamlets

Monday 17th July 2023

Report written by Laura Williams

Share the love
The Fitness

As we lined up around the vegetable planters for tonight’s workout, slowly our little group grew, until there were no fewer than six GoodGymers performing seated leg lowers, Bulgarian split squats and incline push-ups on the edge of these miniature gardens.

As we completed a few post-workout stretches, our remaining members for tonight’s task appeared, ready to be briefed by Larry, our task owner, on the big task ahead for tonight.

Why were we here?

The St Leonard’s Priory Park is a park in Bow that has been ‘a place of prayer and gardening for 900 years’. The St Leonard’s team garden here every week to continue this legacy. Over the last year, we’ve loved joining Larry from the Bow Church team in this picturesque spot in the middle of a busy, bustling, well-connected area of our Borough.

The park is well supported by the local community: residents attend weekly gardening sessions, monthly feasts and - very soon – the Forest School!

Yep, tonight our task was to head back to the pretty, overgrown area at the back of the park to help clear some tall weeds and bundles of nettles for a new outdoor classroom for the neighbouring primary school.

The Task

The team wasted no time in getting stuck in to the task of clearing a mass of nettles, bindweed and other pesky plants (many of whom had long, well established roots). Spread out into all four corners of the area, they pulled, raked and bagged at a very fast pace.

We saw spiders, snails, plants of many types… (St Leonards Fascinating Fact #13: The park is now home to the Stag Beetle...).

Yes, this area is now Biodiversity Central.

What IS biodiversity?

In a nutshell (forgive the pun), it’s variety. We learned more this evening about the increasing amount of flora and fauna in this space, and the way boosting the ecology of the site helps attract more wildlife (more insects = more food for birds, more pollination of plants…).

Put simply, maintaining biodiversity helps to preserve quality of air, soil and water, so every little really does help.

The final lap

Back to the team: the bags were now getting full; Sree had mown the lawn, and it was after 8…Time to call it a day.

As the last bag was hauled to the side of the tool shed, we stood and marvelled at the before and after site. Posing for one final picture in the area where 4ft nettles had previously stood, we concluded that it was a Monday evening well spent.

We’ll be returning to this lovely spot next month to help clear…yep, the other side!

(…While next week we head to the Royal London to join Nancy and the Barts Volunteers Team for some more hospital tasks).

Until then.

Session Leader
This task supported
St Leonard's Priory Park
A community project developing St. Leonard’s Priory open space.

Bow Church parishioners, residents and small, local community organisations are gradually developing what was the Cemetery at St Leonard’s Priory into a small park. It is hoped that an increasing number of local residents will be encouraged to not only enjoy the open space, along with the history of the site, throughout the year, but also explore volunteering opportunities too. Garden volunteers from the local church community have been working with Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park to tidy up the space and make it more accessible. Part of the regeneration plan will involve the inclusion picnic benches to establish a seating area for community activities, as well as for people to sit and enjoy the garden.

See more
Hari Sood
Emma Jones
Fiona M
Laura Williams
Chris Burns
John Shirley
Join us on our next session
THE BIG MONDAY NIGHT TASK: February visit to the GET OUT garden (+ pre-task workout AND post-task celebration)
🗓Monday 26th February 6:40pm

Tonight we'll have more fun with Frankie and Kieran at the garden - and we're celebrating John's 1000th good deed too!

Laura WilliamsChris BurnsJohn ShirleyFiona M
4 GoodGymers are going

Discuss this report