People across the region can give St Giles Hospice a ‘tree-mendous’ Christmas gift this year by supporting the charity’s annual TreeCycle campaign.
St Giles is inviting families and businesses who don’t want to face the mess and inconvenience of disposing of their real Christmas trees to sign up to TreeCycle and have their tree collected in return for a small donation – and the hospice is calling for an army of volunteers to step forward in January to help collect the trees.
The TreeCycle team recycled 3,200 Christmas trees in January 2020 and raised over £35,000 for the hospice, a record-breaking figure which more than doubled the 2019 total.
Now, following a year when the COVID-19 pandemic has forced St Giles to shut its shops during two lockdowns and cancel its organised fundraising events, the hospice has announced that TreeCycle will be going ahead and collecting from more locations than ever before.
Elinor Eustace, Income Generation Director at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that TreeCycle can go ahead in January and we’re hoping that it will be bigger and better than ever. We’d ask everyone to support us this year if they can – we’ve never needed you more than we need you today.
“COVID-19 has disrupted so many of our fundraising campaigns in 2020 – heavily impacting our income – but TreeCycle’s doorstep collections are convenient, environmentally-friendly, and completely safe and socially distanced, making them the perfect way to launch our fundraising comeback in 2021.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who signs up for TreeCycle – and especially to all the individuals and businesses who kindly volunteer to work off their Christmas turkey by helping to collect all the real trees.”
All collections will be socially-distanced and managed in line with the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidelines, with appropriate equipment for both hospice staff and volunteers to ensure everyone’s safety. Tree donors do not have to be present when the tree is collected.
Among the TreeCycle volunteers in January 2020 was Retail Resource Manager Rachel Brown, from Branston, whose father David as well as a close friend were both supported by St Giles after they were diagnosed with cancer.
Rachel took part in TreeCycle as part of a team from her Fradley-based employer Wincanton for Screwfix, who have already pledged to put together another team for the January 2021 collection.
She said: “My dad was cared for by St Giles nurses at home until his death in 2006, and my friend was cared for at the hospice for two weeks last year (2019) until she died just before Christmas. We had a really positive experience with St Giles so my support for TreeCycle is personal – my dad and my friend had incredible care and we’re so grateful.
“My mum has supported TreeCycle since it started and I was really glad to be a part of it in January 2020. It’s a simple, easy way to get rid of your real tree after Christmas and it raises money for such a good cause at the same time.”
Rachel’s friend and fellow Wincanton team member Chloe Ingham, a Transport HR Adviser from Uttoxeter, added: “It’s a really fun event to be involved in. You don’t have to be a professional driver or able to lift heavy objects to do it and it’s so well planned. Treecycle is really good for the environment and everyone who signs up can be sure that their trees will be disposed of properly.”
This will be the sixth year that St Giles has been running TreeCycle to raise funds for the hospice, and teams will collect trees from around Lichfield, Walsall, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Burton, Rugeley, Burntwood, Uttoxeter, Swadlincote, Stafford and surrounding areas.
TreeCycle will be collecting trees from Wednesday 6th until Wednesday 13th January 2021. The minimum donation for trees up to 8ft is £10 and the donation for trees up to 10ft is £12. For trees over 10ft, please call 01543 432538. Collections must be booked by 5pm on Wednesday 6th January 2021 and trees should be left out overnight on Tuesday 5th January as collections will start early the following morning.
Lichfield Tree Works and Greener Composting in Wall, Lichfield, will be recycling the trees for agricultural uses and as a result artificial trees cannot be accepted.