An army of volunteers will be hitting the streets of Lichfield, Burton, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Walsall and surrounding areas in January to collect Christmas trees in return for a small donation to St Giles Hospice.
Last year the hospice raised more than £15,000 for its care services by collecting a record-breaking 2,000 trees from homes and businesses across the region.
Now the charity is hoping even more people will register to have their Christmas trees collected this year and is calling for kind-hearted volunteers to work off their Christmas dinner by signing up to help with local pick-ups.
By taking part in the annual St Giles Treecycle campaign, families and businesses can recycle their trees in a convenient, environmentally-friendly way while helping to support local hospice services at the same time.
St Giles Hospice Events Manager Chloe Herbert said: “Treecycle is a fantastic, popular fundraising event which helps people to get rid of their real trees easily and raises money to support our vital work.
“It’s so simple, you can book a place online and we can take away a tree of any size – it just has to be a real one.
“You don’t have to be in when we call round and you don’t have to cut up your tree. Just leave it outside your home and we’ll do the rest. Nobody wants to get needles all over their car, so why not book your collection and get your old tree taken away without the fuss and mess?”
Ian Harding, Finance Manager at DHL in Fradley Park which supports Treecycle, is all set to volunteer on the tree collection team for the second year in a row after his firm donated a day of his time last year.
“My dad had respite care at St Giles which was a huge help to my mum,” said Ian from Norton Canes.
“So when DHL asked for volunteers to help out on the Treecycle collections I put my name down straight away. St Giles were amazing. You can’t put a price on the service they deliver and I can’t praise them enough.”
Ian’s dad Eddie Harding from Walsall died in May 2008 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He left five children and nine grandchildren.
“I think the Treecycle scheme is a fantastic idea,” said Ian. “I loved my day of volunteering. For someone who works with balance sheets and numbers it felt like I was doing something truly worthwhile.”
This will be the fifth year that Treecycle has been organised by St Giles which supports people with a potentially incurable illness and their families. In January 2019, hospice volunteers collected 2,143 trees from 1,828 locations, raising more than £15,000.
You can book a collection online before 2pm on Tuesday, 7th January by visiting the St Giles Hospice website at www.stgileshospice.com/treecycle
Volunteers will then be collecting Christmas trees from homes and workplaces in Lichfield, Burton, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Walsall, Rugeley and surrounding areas between Monday 6th January 6 and Saturday 11th January. Please leave your trees outside your home on Sunday 5th January as we will be collecting from early morning.
Minimum donations are £8 for trees up to 8ft tall and £12 for trees between 8-10ft tall. Please email email@example.com to arrange a special collection for trees 15ft tall and over.
St Giles Hospice is advising people to book early to avoid disappointment and calling on people who used the service last year to spread the word among friends and neighbours.
Organisers are also reminding donors that the Treecycle service – supported by local companies Lichfield Tree Works and Greener Composting in Wall, Lichfield – is unable to chip fake trees.
Chloe added: “Our volunteers are vital to making this event a success so if you fancy starting the new year with a good deed then give us a call on 01543 756398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The more vans we have the more trees we can collect, so if you are a man with a van and you are able to help, let us know.”
PICTURE CAPTION: Treecycle volunteers in January 2019