It was Longfield Hospice first Christmas tree collection and they absolutely S-M-A-S-H-E-D their target of 1,000 trees.
Vans and volunteers spent the weekend scurrying around the county collecting old Christmas trees from outside people’s homes and raising an incredible £11,000. People registering their trees online could make a voluntary donation. The Christmas tree collection saves people the trouble of taking the tree to the recycling centre after Christmas and trying to stuff it into the car boot when all the needles were dropping off.
Longfield Hospice which is based in Minchinhampton provides free support and care to more than 900 people living with life limiting illnesses across the county. It supports their family and carers too and provides a Hospice at Home service, enabling people in the last three months of life to stay at home, if that is their choice.
The Christmas tree collection event was supported by Stroud District Council and trees were collected around Stroud, Gloucester, Dursley, Wotton-under-Edge, Cirencester and other areas. There were a number of local businesses supporting the hospice including Ian Williams Buildings and Highfield Garden World as well as Downtown haulier which provided drivers and a large commercial vehicle to collect the trees. Local garden centres and tree growers also promoted the event to the general public with flyers, posters and banners.
It was a large operation, meticulously planned and all the volunteers worked very hard to collect the trees taking them to one of four sites – Cirencester, Fromebridge, Stroud or Dursley. The trees were then taken to Burleigh and shredded into wood chippings.
The monies raised from the collection will help people those in need and importantly, the collection also ensured that more trees were recycled rather than ending up in landfill or simply dumped.
The old trees were shredded and the chippings were used in the gardens at the Hospice, or sold, with proceeds going to the hospice. In total around 1500 trees were collected which produced approximately 15 tonnes of wood chippings.
The total monies raised from the collection after costs and including Gift Aid was £11,406.44. Local charities have also benefited from the collection as elected by four different groups of volunteers - Hugo Kirkwood from Copes and Loggers, Downton, Ian Williams and Hayden Sutton who assisted the hospice with the collection. They elected for the following charities to receive a donation:
- Home-Start - £228.12 - Home-Start is a local charity based in the district of Stroud and it supports parents who are going through challenging times. They are also looking to expand their service to Quedgeley & Kingsway in Gloucester.
- Teckels Animal Sanctuaries - £228.12 - They provide a top-class boarding facility, rehabilitation and re-homing centre for cats and dogs.
- St Rose's - £228.12 - They provide education, therapy and day and residential care for children and students aged 2 to 25, with a wide range of disabilities
- Downton and Ian Williams elected the hospice to receive their nominated amounts each of £228.12