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Container delivered! A solution to a Greenway Orchard Green Gym problem

The Green Gym committee and conservation volunteers are absolutely delighted, as well as relieved, that a secure container has been delivered to the Greenway Orchard.  This is a much-loved Container that means tools can be held on site as well as chairs and tables and other equipment. The Green Gym has re-opened since Covid-19 with some updated procedures, and it is open every Thursday 11-2.

The need for a solution started in November 2019, when the heavy-duty hand-built table and bench was seriously vandalised, followed by damage to the water butt shed and some trees.  Triio, the gas contractor, was working on the site at the time and Bernie was personally upset.  He had enjoyed the previous weeks’ harvest festival event as a keen gardener (he has an allotment) and promised that he would provide the volunteers with a container. 

It has been a long process with so many permissions and hoops but at last on Saturday morning, a couple of the volunteers were there to welcome the Container to the orchard!  Bernie was there too. 

The snap is of Clive (Chair), Bernie (Gas works) and Zofia (newest volunteer).  The one below includes Jim, Head gardener at the hospital.

“This is a wonderful day.  Thanks so much to those who have helped us along the way. Thanks to Thames Water, Newham Council, Bernie and Triio, Newham Hospital, Jim and gardening team, and of course PSBL” Clive

If you would like to join the Green Gym volunteers, please do contact them first, so they can make sure Covid-19 precautions are in place.  You can also be added to a weekly text reminder to let you know what is happening each week.  Lucy 07543 519174 / greenwayorchardgg@gmail.com

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Bike MOT event was a success – 50 bikers with lights, a high-viz and a working bike!

With big thanks to Daniell Hambrook of ‘See A Need, Fill a Need’ for leading on this community event to help make cyclists safer on the roads of Plaistow and beyond.  The August Bike health check event was a success!

Daniell says: ‘One of the positives about Covid-19 is that it has got more people out on their bikes but I was worried about their safety.  Bikes can be unsafe and a real danger without being checked and cyclists really do need to be visible and of course have lights.  I saw this a need and wanted to do something practical to help.’

With some funding from PSBL, 2 hard days’ volunteering by Daniell’s bike mechanic friend Neil Pook, techy support from Newham Cyclists, donated high-viz jackets from Biker Boyz and free use of the Mix, both Friday and Saturday 14/15th August were fully booked….  Bikes of all sizes from kiddies to adult, some unused for years, some out and about all the time and some new second-hand ones. 

Fabulous- all kids bikes fixed and adjusted…. encouraged to cycle, brilliant advice and very knowledgeable and thorough.  Thank you it’s come at the right time before school starts 5 (Momodou)

Very happy with freebies, glad to have biked fixed and close to home. Bike out of action for 1 year, grateful for free innertube (Piarve)

Excellent!  A lovely idea, useful, lots of knowledge. (Rose)

We hope to run more of these.  In the mean time we look forward to more people cycling, contributing to a greener, cleaner Plaistow and residents keeping fit in a way that is naturally socially distanced.  We very much hope you wear your high viz and use lights.

With thanks to REIN, Biker Boyz, Newham Cyclists, Neil Pook, and of course Daniell Hambrook of See A Need, Fill A Need.

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Green and Growing during Covid-19: Greenway Orchard, tree pits and sunflowers

Slowly but surely, the lockdown is easing off- and that means many more people out and about on Plaistow streets and green spaces.

The Greenway is filling up again with cyclists, dog walkers and runners- and summer is in full swing, although you could not tell by the weather.

Orchard on The Greenway is busier than ever, used by families and groups of friends, which is very encouraging to see. To add to its food growing theme, PSBL has purchased, delivered and organised planting of the cooking herbs in the two front boxes in The Orchard few weeks ago, which will be available for Green Gym volunteers and residents to use once the plants get fully established- for now, they need to be left to develop roots and new growth in their new home. Thankfully, recent rains have helped to keep them lush and healthy.

We also have a new volunteer, Zofia, who is very keen to put her enthusiasm for helping community spaces to thrive by removing litter from The Orchard and bringing water to ever thirsty Tree Pit Gardens on Tunmarsh Lane. She is also producing hand-made signs for both sites, bringing her artistic flair to the mix. Welcome Zofia, the Green Gym volunteers and Tree Pit Gardeners are so very glad to have you on board!

Last month we were contacted by Newham Mag to give our contribution to the promotion of volunteer activities during Covid-19 lockdown, and their resident photographer came both to the Orchard and the Tree Pit Gardens to capture volunteers at work; tidying, weeding and watering whilst also joking amongst themselves and clearly enjoying the outdoor photo session. We hope we make it to the next Newham Mag’s edition selection-look out for smiling faces of our volunteers, being a dab hand with shovels and rakes!

In the pipe line there will be a few gardening maintenance sessions at the Tree Pits soon. The PSBL Steering Group approved a further spend to re-populate Tree Pits- the variety of plants has been ordered, and the call out for all who want to join will be sent as soon as they arrive.  Look out for the message from PSBL on social media sites(Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Lastly, we are sharing a few photos of sunflowers planted across South Plaistow few months ago in resident’s front gardens and outside Plaistow Fire Station, clearly thriving- update to follow when their glorious flowerheads open!

If you would like to get involved with projects we are currently running, or are interested in joining the Steering Group, please get in touch with either ros@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk, or milena@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk, we will point you in the right direction. Wishing you all a pleasant rest of July!

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We have launched a new fund!

Have you got a great idea that would benefit Plaistow South at this challenging time during Covid-19? If so, Plaistow South Big Local is launching a small grants fund that could enable your idea to become reality!

We encourage residents and groups to apply for a grant for between £100 to £2500. It’s a simple application form (click on this link) or for further information, please drop us an email on info@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk”.  The deadline is Tuesday 21st July for projects that take place by 31st October.

Join us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also be kept updated with our regular E news – please email us to be added.

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PSBL Community competition – win a voucher a week!

During the time when some of us have to self-isolate, and all of us are required to practice social distancing, it is important to show solidarity , and make an effort to communicate with our neighbours by other means.  We have seen many an image of window displays in the social media for passers-by to enjoy or engage with.

That is why PSBL wants to invite all of you South Plastonians to take part, and SHOW US YOUR BEST DECORATED WINDOW!

There’s a different category every week for 4 weeks. This week post the photo of your ‘dressed’ window to our Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/plaistowsouth (or email to us and we will post it – ros@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk) and our FB followers will pick the winner by posting ‘Likes’- the window with most ‘likes’ gets the prize.

The winner will receive £25 Newham bookshop voucher (to support the local Newham economy – open for online orders), or a £20 voucher of your choice. Deadline Thursdays 5pm.

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What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that we undertake in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety, as well as a path to a good relationship with oneself and others.
                         Here are a few simple ways to practice self-care at home: 

1. Make sleep a priority
Sleep is incredibly important for how we feel both emotionally and physically. Any disruption to our nightly routine may cause a havoc with our health. Avoiding consumption of caffeine and sugar just before bedtime, minimising distractions in the bedroom (TV, telephones, laptops) and light-blocking curtains will all help to drift asleep and stay asleep. Also, sticking to regular timings when it comes to going to bed and getting up helps to assure a fair amount of sleep every night. If you still find yourself stressed and unable to switch off, having a calming bath will assist in relaxation and calming the mind.
2. Take care of your gut
The types of food you eat crucially impacts the bacteria that live in your stomach – an unhappy gut can lead to unhappy person. Eat a fair amount of fruit and vegetables, lean protein like fish, chicken or turkey, coupled with yoghurt or cheese and some wholegrain carbohydrates will ensure your gut is functioning to its optimum. Minimising overly spicy, highly processed food and alcohol ensures that your stomach is not subjected to unnecessary strain while digesting. Having a herbal tea after a meal (fennel, peppermint, chamomile) also aids digestion.
3.Exercise daily
We all know exercise is good for you, but what is our exercise when options are limited? There is a plethora of exercise videos available online, and some TV channels even broadcast daily exercise routine with few well known sports coaches. If that is to strenuous for you, simply walking up and down the stairs several times a day could get your heart rate up. Alternatively, going out for a walk (with a member of family or a pet) is bound to lift your mood and refresh you. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, some time spent gardening, pruning and repotting, as well as planting some easy-growing herbs and vegetables will leave you feeling serene (and there is an added bonus of growing your own food).
4. Make time for relaxation
Faced with a situation that is beyond our control, every one of us will react with elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Such a state is not beneficial for either our mental or physical health. If at all possible, best practice is to allocate some time every day for a relaxing activity, something that makes you take time out from your daily duties and focuses your attention on here and now. Good examples of such an activity are: doing crosswords/puzzles; reading an engaging book, undertaking a craft project (knitting, painting, sewing, jewellery making), meditating or writing a diary.
These simple points will hopefully remind us that self-love is the most important aspect of self-care, and without it we cannot be expected to help ourselves or others.
Milena Rouse, green spaces community worker, PSBL

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Green Gym volunteers to run a special litter pick session 27 February

The Greenway Orchard Green Gym volunteers pick litter on the Orchard site every single Thursday. In recognition of a recent and generous TKMaxx donation, they are doing a special litter pick at the PSBL shed on 27 February 11-2. The site is very littered and overgrown.

The Greenway Orchard Green Gym is now an independent community group in its own right. The inaugural AGM was held at The Mix on 19th February, with support from PSBL. The Officers (Clive, Eleanor & Nathalie) and the committee (Jaqui, Lucy & Will) have decided that they want to devote a whole Green Gym session to litter picking. This will take place on Thursday 27 February, 11-2, on the corner of Prince Regent Lane and the Greenway. See the flyer below. If you want to come, just turn up or ring -07957 534908

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Calling for a cement mixer and generator for positive response to vandalism!

The Plaistow Orchard gets care and attention every Thursday by the Green Gym volunteers. The Orchard is a feel-good touch of wildness and nature on the Greenway to be enjoyed by everyone. Unfortunately a week after our fabulous harvest festival event at end of October, vandals destroyed hand-made benches, the water butt shed and damaged the wooden table. This was very disheartening for the volunteers and all at PSBL and the way forward wasn’t at all clear.

Amazing things have happened since the vandalism. Gas work contractors tRIIO and Skanka have widened our paths and mulched them, and Bernie of tRIIO has identified an on-site container to store our equipment and will fund its delivery. Volunteer Clive is building the shuttering for a concrete base and permissions have been granted.

It’s just that we need cement/sand etc, a cement mixer, a generator (there’s no electricity on site) and muscle on the day, which could be a weekend. Can you help? Have you got any contacts? We hope to keep on with the in-kind support which has been phenomenal so far. We see such potential for this small patch of nature. We want to carry out this work and get the container on site by the end of January if we can.

Since the vandalism we have done many positive things:

Please do get in touch if …… you would like to join the Thursday Green Gym sessions – we could always do with more help. 11-2 every week…… or you want to help with the hard work of making the concrete base……. or you know anyone that has a cement mixer and generator we could borrow, and local companies who would be willing to help with materials.

Please get in touch with volunteer Clive (07485 123556) , or Ros at PSBL (07957 534908 / ros@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk

Thanks!!

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Green Gym – fab harvest festival, goodbyes and a new year begins…

It’s exactly one year since PSBL started to support the Greenway Orchard Green Gym. It’s been a great year! Sadly we said goodbye to Amanda who has been the lead volunteer – she is emigrating to Portugal. We now leave the Green Gym in the capable hands of Eleanor and Clive and other locals, and we will continue to give support. The plan is that by 31st October next year, it is a totally independent group. See some photos from today – it was a lovely Autumn day and an opportunity to enjoy nature in Plaistow.

Lots of folk came along to say goodbye to Amanda

The Green Gym continues all through the winter: mulching the paths, pruning, planting and whatever projects they come up with. Unfortunately the bench was stolen this week and so a new one will need to be made.

A fabulous day with 16 visitors and workers 🙂 Just pop round or ring/text 07957 534908. Plenty of room for more!

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The Greenway Orchard now has water butt shed – so we want rain!

It’s been a problem for nearly 3 years now, which we hope we have solved.

The Orchard on the Greenway, a beautiful green space, with raised beds and all sorts growing, but no water!  It’s a 8 minute walk to the hospital with trolleys and wheelbarrows.  Clive , Eleanor and other volunteers put their heads together and came up with a solution.  We now have a water butt shed, and desperately want some rain to try it out and see how much we can harvest! 

We are at the Orchard every Thursday, 11-2.  It’s fun!  See some pics below from the last few months 🙂  For more info click here