As we send off the last cheques for donations to local charities, we are reflecting on a marvellously, successful 2018 Christmas tree collection or to coin a famous catchphrase, 'didn't they do well.' And the results speak for themselves - a huge £231,530* in donations going to hospices and local charities and with 23,662 real Christmas trees collected and recycled by hundreds of volunteers up and down the country, we couldn't have wished for a better start to the year.
There were 30 collections from Carlisle to St Asaph in North Wales, Worcester to Poole, Chelmsford, Cambridge and skirting northwards to Lincoln and York and many more collections in between all raising money for hospices who provide specialist palliative care and support to adult patients and their family, friends and carers.
And as the collections opened on the 15th November 2017, there was a steady trickle of registrations and this typically continued well into mid-December. But with cooler nights and drier, warmer conditions in homes across the land due to the central heating, Christmas trees began to look a little glum as needles fade and drop and as always we see a rise in registrations peaking after New Year's Day.
After weeks and months of meticulous planning, collection day arrives and the volunteers assemble - from local community groups, Lions, Rotaries and Round Tables, Scouts, local businesses and individuals who just want to help and together with a fleet of vehicles including vans of all shapes and sizes, pick-ups and trailers, the task of tree collecting begins.
The local tree surgeons join the army of volunteers and chip the trees which are then recycled in many ways such as for use on paths in gardens and parks or for using as a mulch on farmland. The trees, although withered can also be used in woodland areas such as Calderdale Reservoir to provide habitat for small animals or for protecting the sand dunes from erosion in North Wales.
In the end nearly 24,000 trees (as we always pick some extra ones up along the way) were collected and £231,530 (after costs and including Gift Aid*) was raised. An enormous and fantastic sum of money. £205,887 was donated to all the collection hospices and £25,386 was allocated to other local charities as nominated by the collection volunteers.
Hospices play a vital role in our towns and cities and they are always the main beneficiary of the Christmas tree collection but smaller, local charities are often even closer to the local community, working with the most disadvantaged and at-risk people in the local area. That’s why we’re so thrilled that we can support them each year. These causes range from local cancer care centres, food banks, charities who support bereaved families or those struggling with mental health, Alzheimer's or homelessness. You can read about which charities have benefited from each collection by clicking on the Hospice link on the Who we support page.
JustHelping received £20,461 which is being used to further expand the Christmas tree collection.