Local running group takes up gardening for mental health charity

More than twenty runners from the fitness charity GoodGym assembled on 24 July to help clear a Tolworth allotment belonging to local mental health charity Mind in Kingston

Goodgym’s goal is to promote fitness while also completing physical tasks needed by members of the community.

Its work at the allotment was a step forward in finally providing a permanent green space for Mind’s members to use.

The running group met at 6:45pm  outside Guildhall and ran to the allotments in Tolworth where they began gardening, weeding and picking up litter. Once they completed the task they ran back to Guildhall.

Charlotte Thorpe, an organiser at GoodGym, said: “We are a registered charity that organises runs that help our members keep fit, but more importantly help out in our local communities with good deeds.”

Runs involve anything from helping older people with tasks they can no longer do on their own such as changing lighbulbs, to bigger projects such as clearing out gardens.

Mind in Kingston is affiliated to National Mind which has operated since 1972. It provides support to people with mental health issues within the borough as well as general information for the public.

Sue Ilsley, peer support project coordinator for Kingston Mind, said: “We really struggled to find volunteers to help us with the allotments. Working with GoodGym has been a huge benefit.”

Mind believes that having an active community project like the Tolworth allotments will be a massive benefit to it users. Sue Ilsley said: “It will provides a sense of achievement, focus and exercise which greatly helps our members.”

Mind has held the allotment for nearly a year but was unable to find volunteers to clear the place despite placing messages over its website and social media. Mind offered to handle all disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks and associated paperwork but nobody came forward.

Ilsley said: “It’s a shame, but we just do not have the resources to do this on our own and we desperately needed volunteer key-holders who can check on the allotment a few mornings each week.”

The running group has worked with Mind before. It helped promote the charity in August last year by running a stall in Alexandra park and handing out balloons.

GoodGym appoints a trainer in each area whose job is to build links across the community and help with deeds such as physical labour.

Mark Barun, who participated in the run, is also the trainer for Kingston. He has been with the organisation for over two years and has helped establish links with the local charities and support groups. This has  involved everything from cold calling to social media promotion.

Barun said: “The council has been exceedingly helpful in promoting us, especially their sports development team. We’ve done a lot of good work here and we are keen for more people to join.”

GoodGym is free to join and any level of fitness and age is accepted. However Thorpe said: “Being able to jog for ten minutes is a pretty good benchmark.”  The next run is organised for the 31st July at 6:45pm outside Guildhall.

Mind is still looking for volunteers and can be reached at: 020 8255 3939

GoodGym can be reached at: 0203 432 3920

 

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