Treecycling: my festive tradition
Meet Sue, one of our amazing Treecycling volunteers! With Treecycling, Sue will be joining a team of volunteers this January, who will be collecting real Christmas trees from people’s doorsteps in exchange for a donation to the Hospice.
Read her story and discover why she enjoys taking part in the campaign each year and why it’s become a favourite festive tradition of hers…
Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has been a big part of my life. I sadly lost my Mum twenty years ago and then my Dad just three years ago, but the care they and our family received was just amazing. It made everything that little bit easier during times that were so difficult for us all. Because of this, I’ve always tried to give back to the Hospice whenever I can – from volunteering to raising funds at work – but I have to say that Treecycling is one of the most fun ways to support the Hospice!
This year will be the third time that I’ve ‘Treecycled’ for the Hospice and it’s already becoming a tradition that I look forward to each January. It’s such a great event to be involved with – everyone has such a laugh together and it’s a wonderful way to end the Christmas celebrations.
The weekend kick-starts with a morning briefing at the Hospice. This is one of my favourite parts of the day, as it’s when I get to catch up with some people who have done Treecycling before, as well as meet the first-timers. There’s a real buzz in the room as everyone tucks into their breakfast sandwiches, helping them to fuel up for the busy day ahead.
The morning briefing sessions are always really useful. We are told our routes, given a health & safety update, and provided with the numbers of people we should call should we have any problems. It’s really well organised, which gives you confidence when going out to collect the trees. After the briefing, it’s time to grab your coat, put on your hat and gloves and head out with your team to get collecting!
I love going out into the local community to collect the trees. The locals are really interested in what you’re doing and will ask questions about the Hospice and the people it cares for. A lot of people who are just passing by will thank you for supporting such a great cause. It leaves you with such a warm feeling inside. Christmas is all about bringing the community together and giving back and that’s definitely what Treecycling does!
I will never forget the time when Maria, my Treecycling partner, and I were faced with an enormous 20-foot tree to collect. It was huge and we had no idea how were going to get it from the doorstep to the van. But we did it and we were so proud of ourselves. We had such a giggle getting it onto the van and took lots of pictures so we could prove our achievement to family and friends!
Volunteering for Treecycling has really helped me to learn more about the Hospice. When my Mum and Dad were cared for, I of course learned about the services that they and our family used. But since I’ve been volunteering, I’ve realised that the Hospice is so much more than just a building. It’s everywhere, providing care in people’s homes and in our local communities. As well as the care and support for patients and family members, I’ve found out about the Hospice’s fantastic research and the volunteering programmes that bring communities together. Birmingham St Mary’s really does make a difference to so many lives across Birmingham and Sandwell. That’s why taking part in Treecycling is so rewarding – you realise that with your support, you can help so many people in your community.
One of things I love most about volunteering is that you can see the knock-on effect it has with other people. Family and friends will see you giving up your time and will start asking questions about the charity, which in turn encourages them to volunteer or support the Hospice in some way. It’s amazing to see how my small part can get more people involved and together, we can make an even bigger difference to the lives of people that the Hospice supports.
I would hugely recommend anyone getting involved with the Treecycling campaign! It’s just a few hours of your time each year, but the impact it can have on others is huge. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and is a great way to end the festive period on a high.
Thank you Sue for sharing your story with us! Last year, Treecycling raised over £49,000 which will help provide expert care and support to people living with life-limiting illness. To find out more about Treecycling, or to sign up and volunteer, please take a read here.