Many people will never have heard of GoodGym but they are an interesting and energetic bunch of people. On their website they announce that “They are a community of people who get fit by doing good”. They go on to explain that they run, walk and cycle to help community organisations and isolated older people by doing practical tasks.
So how does this relate to St Andrews you may ask? Well, following an approach to Sue McCoan, John Mitchell and John Jackson made contact with the local GoodGym coordinator, Kash Ziolkowska, to see what might be possible. Kash visited St Andrews and it was agreed that her team would take on a suitably physical task for the Church.
Sadly we had discovered that the dense hedge along our Aston Road border had become a haven for a wide range of anti-social behaviour in recent times. We discovered that some local people had gone to the lengths of reporting this to the police with mixed results. So the task GoodGym agreed to take on was to heavily cut back the hedge and, in doing this, to remove the convenient screening it had provided for undesirable activity.
Kash and a team of nine young people arrived one evening in early September and in just one hour dramatically reduced both the height and the width of the hedge. Some members of the local community stopped by to admire the work and to say it was a much needed improvement. Throughout the evening the GoodGym team remained cheerful and upbeat and they also did a briliant job of tidying up the debris.
Later Kash reported on the GoodGym website that “The area of dodgy activities had been turned into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!” That’s possibly an exaggeration but the dense screening previously provided by the hedge has been completed transformed.
Careful thought is now being given as to how best to use this largely cleared area of ground. One option could be to simply let the shrubs grow back in a carefully controlled way. But there could be other options to make this space even more attractive and a feature both for St Andrews and the wider local community. Stand by for further news in due course.
GoodGym web-posting at: https://www.goodgym.org/reports/no-i-don-t-want-no-shrub