WHEN I wrote this, I looked back on what I had said last year, and as usual, was amazed at how time flies.

It has been a year since Friends of Bicester North Station started, and already so much has been accomplished by the Green Gym friends who make up the majority.

We also had celebrated 20 years of Green Gym in Oxfordshire, with Sonning Common’s celebratory birthday work session for all local Green Gym groups.

We ourselves have been going since 2006, and in that time have maintained a steady membership of 10-14 people, three of whom have been part of it all that time.

So, what’s the secret?

I would say the social aspect and feeling you have done a job well and made a positive difference – not just to just to the environment but to your own mental and physical well-being.

This love affair with nature (the sights and sounds of Spring are all around us now) and working with a family – a mixed bag of people but with a common connection. Long may this relationship last.

Poignantly, in our recent litter picks, we come across evidence of broken lives and negative attitudes.

Litter picking should be an unnecessary job, but once one piece is dropped, other people seem to think it is OK to add theirs. In amongst the rubbish is evidence of drug taking and homelessness.

We have found several rough sleeping sites in lonely places far from sanitation but with evidence of human kindness in donated tents, sleeping bags and duvets.

All long since ruined by damp once the person has moved on, abandoning their camp. We often wonder what becomes of these people.

Being connected with Bicester Salvation Army, positive stories come to light.

The work they do twice a week with homely drop-ins, offering warmth, food, advice and fresh supplies, is inspirational. Professional people are in attendance to offer a way out of the cycle of this lifestyle.

In these winter months it seems to have got more apparent with people sleeping in the town centre rather than out in the sticks. This has helped raise awareness and compassion in the town, and if people wish to do more to provide the right sort of help, then Will Pearson of the Salvation Army is the person to speak to.

One main concern is to get people a working bank account to apply for benefits, but with no fixed address, this is almost impossible. Any bankers who could find a way round this, please step forward.

So this season, get passionate for a good cause, and make a difference with the love you show.