During the Lakeland trails half marathon. One of the GoodGym big six races.

I am a proud member of the GoodGym movement. I joined GoodGym Lewisham in November 2016 and have enjoyed everything I have done with them to date including racing and volunteering. I initially stared attending and just did the group runs before signing up for missions and eventually coach runs.

Coach runs are where you run to meet an isolated older person in Lewisham. To begin with I was put off coach running as I assumed you had to be dedicated to the same time on the same day every week. As someone who works shifts this was not going to be possible. However, I was really determined to get involved so got in touch with the Coach Run team who said they would see if that suited any of the older people. To my surprise I was paired with someone within a week!

I understand the importance of a single visit to someone who may be isolated or rarely has any visitors. I hope that I would be making a difference to the person I would be making time for. I put myself in that person’s shoes and know I would appreciate someone coming to simply have a chat and a cup of tea.

Gardening on a GoodGym mission

As with anything you are doing for the first time, I was a little apprehensive about how the first visit would go. I needn’t have worried. We got on extremely well and have done ever since. During our visits we discuss a wide variety of topics and generally seem to enjoy each other’s company! Despite the age gap, we have a lot in common. I have now been coach running for the past 8 months and look forward to every visit. I would encourage everyone to join GoodGym Lewisham if only to experience a Coach Run. The more coach runners we have the more visits we are able to carry out. It makes me extremely happy to see the numbers we already have signed up to coach runs and enjoy watching it grow.

Volunteering on the baggage truck for Virgin London Marathon

Volunteering brings together a sense of community with like-minded people and is something that we should all spend a bit more time doing. I have always enjoyed volunteering and did a small amount of running so when I saw the opportunity to combine the two things I enjoyed I was excited. Plus, the concept of doing good while getting fit was very appealing. I went along with no expectations and was very happy I did.

So nearly two years on, many hours of volunteering and a large number of races later, I have a wider social circle and have been exposed to parts of my community that I never knew existed. Once we have completed a task it always fills me with joy knowing that I helped to make the community just a little bit brighter. As well as GoodGym I volunteer with other organisations and enjoy every moment when I am helping others. I feel better knowing that the spare time I have is used doing something constructive. Another example is when I volunteer with Lewisham Foodbank, I know that someone or a family will benefit largely from the small time that has been given through volunteering.

Nykolette Wallace

Would you like to volunteer in Lewisham? Click here


Volunteering with Lewisham Foodbank.

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