Why I’m ‘Treecycling’ for Birmingham St Mary’s After all the festivities are over, getting rid of the Christmas tree can feel like an unwanted chore. Thankfully, the Hospice – and its army of brilliant volunteers – is on hand to collect used trees right from your doorstep, saving you time, hassle and mess! Mick Southern is just one of our many fantastic volunteers who will be ‘Treecycling’ this January. He’s the Site Manager at Fitzgerald – a local civil engineering contractor that has generously supported the tree collecting initiative since it first started. Here, he tells us how Treecycling helps combat the post-festive blues and why he’s already looking forward to taking part this January. I’ve been Treecycling now for five years – ever since Fitzgerald first supported the scheme – and I still enjoy it as much today as I did the first time. I decided to get involved with the collection as I thought it was a great idea for a great cause. Whilst I don’t have a personal connection to the Hospice, I know that its care and support is incredibly crucial to many local families living with terminal illness. That’s why I’m happy to give up my time and support it. I know helping out just one day a year isn’t a big ask for me but I’ve seen first-hand how one day can make a big difference to the Hospice. At Treecycling, my main role is to organise the volunteers from Fitzgerald. I make sure that the vans are ready and everyone has everything they need – from gloves and hi-vis jackets, to saws and brooms. I also get stuck in during the weekend and collect trees from people’s doorsteps – it’s always me that picks up the trees whilst my colleague drives! The whole weekend is always a lot of fun and everyone has such a laugh. The only time I see some of my colleagues outside of work is when we’re doing Treecycling. It’s good to do something together in a social environment as you get to see a different side to that person. Plus, with it taking place in January, it’s a great opportunity for us to shake off those post-Christmas blues. Whilst there’s always a bit of friendly competition between teams to see who can collect the most trees, we always help each other out. As the day goes on, we keep in contact with the other vans to see how we’re all getting on and where we can offer a helping hand. In saying that, I’ve told my daughter – who’s a teacher – about Treecycling and now her school have their tree collected by us. My round always starts with her each year so I’m always one tree ahead of everyone else! In fact, quite a few of us have gotten our family and friends involved over the years. I once roped in the services of my son-in-law – we ended up collecting a gigantic tree which was so big that we could only get another smaller tree in the van with it. One of my favourite parts of the weekend though is meeting the people who are donating their trees and supporting the Hospice. You don’t get to meet everyone but some people like to look out for us. There are lots of different people getting involved for all sorts of reasons. One year, I got chatting to a woman who had just spent two hours waiting at the tip to get rid of her tree, as well as pay £35. I told her all about Treecycling and how it’s for a good cause. The following year, we ended up collecting from her. It really is a simple and easy way to recycle your unwanted trees. Of course, you also meet people who are taking part because the Hospice has helped them. Every year, we collect the tiniest tree from a woman who makes a £100 donation. She takes part because her husband had been cared for by the Hospice and so donating to Treecycling is her way of giving back. When you hear stories like that, it’s a reminder that the work we’re doing really will help other local families – it’s such a boost and definitely makes the weekend worthwhile. That’s why I’m already looking forward to taking part in January’s Treecycling. I can’t wait to hit the road with the other volunteers and meet lots of new people. It really is a great weekend and it feels good to be helping out and supporting my local Hospice. If you would like to find out more about Treecycling, take a look here and see how you can get involved. We’re always looking out for volunteers and vans to help out, so, if like Mick, you would like to take part, please drop Emily an email at [email protected] or call 0121 472 1191.