The Good Gym – Sustainability, Get Involved

On the new ‘Sustainability- Get Involved’ page we are highlighting the many organisations, charities and groups locally that contribute to the TW community and environment through sustainable activities. It’s a place to find out how you can get involved with local groups as well as pick up tips on how to live more sustainably. I’m talking with a different group each month and really looking forward to finding out more about sustainable practices in Teddington and Twickenham.

By Kate Chesshyre, The Refill Larder http://www.refill-Larder.co.uk

What is the Good Gym?

The Good Gym is a nationwide organisation bringing volunteers together to combine helping in the local community at the same time as getting fit. We stop off on our runs to do physical tasks for community and charitable organisations as well as supporting isolated, elderly people with social visits and one-off tasks they can’t do on their own. We reach out to local charities to offer assistance with jobs including cleaning, painting, gardening – essentially mucking in wherever we can help. It’s a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good. As long as you’re up for getting sweaty, everyone’s welcome.

How long have you been in Richmond and how many people get involved?

We started in Richmond in July 2016 and have been meeting on Monday evenings, running all over the borough ever since. Each week between 10 and 30 people turn up for the group runs. We also have a group that runs in Kingston on Tuesdays. There are currently 57 different locations across the UK with more starting up this year.

What sort of community projects have you worked on in the local area?

All sorts! We recently ran 10km from Richmond and back to work on the gardens at the Landmark Centre in Teddington: we cleared the area of weeds, fallen leaves and gave it a general tidy, before laying down wood chips so that a new sculpture by pupils from Teddington School could take pride of place in its new home.

Another garden clearance we did recently was
to help the St Christopher’s Fellowship, in Twickenham. The run was 6.6km and 26 people turned up to help brighten up the outdoor living space for both residents and staff at this awesome charitable house catering for young people in care. We have also helped at the ETNA Centre in Twickenham cleaning windows, skirting boards, putting up Christmas tree lights and helping landscape the car park!

What are the mission runs?

Mission runs are focused on helping elderly people in the community who may need support in their homes and gardens. We work with Age Concern who provide referrals and once runners have been DBS checked they get involved moving furniture, simple fixings around their home such as changing a light bulb – anything that can help out. We also have ‘Coach Runs’ which are often simply sitting down for a cup of tea and a chat with someone that is elderly and isolated.

Do you have to be very fit to get involved?

Not at all, the run lengths vary and often if the community project for the group run is nearby, there is the option to walk it as well! We run throughout the year at the same time each week so it’s a good reason to keep motivated with your running to turn up and spend time with a likeminded, super friendly group.

Mark Barun, Run Trainer for Good Gym Richmond and Kingston goodgym.org talked with Kate Chesshyre from The Refill Larder, Teddington refill-larder.co.uk

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