Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is kick-starting the festive season with a packed fundraising programme as part of their ‘Care at Christmas’ campaign.

The campaign returns for a second year following a record breaking Christmas appeal in 2015 which raised over £50,000 of vital funds for the local Hospice.

The Selly Park based Hospice provides a range of free services in people’s homes and in the local community across Birmingham and Sandwell. It costs £8 million each year to run the Hospice which provides care and support for over 1,200 individuals and their families, carers and loved ones. Over half of these running costs come from voluntary incomes.

People across Birmingham and Sandwell are being urged to get involved in the various festive fundraising activities this year to help the Hospice provide care at Christmas;

Adults and children can suit up as Santa and take part in the annual 2km ‘Jingle Bell Jog’ on Sunday 4th December. The family fun run which takes place at Kings Heath Park attracted over 400 Santas last year. Each Jingle Bell Jogger receives a free Santa suit and mince pie for their efforts.

Locals can also book to get their Christmas tree collected and recycled as part of the Hospice’s innovative ‘Treecycling’ scheme. For a minimum donation of £10, residents can book to have their tree collected by Hospice volunteers and local business supporters which then go on to be recycled at local recycling centres. Last year over 1,100 trees were collected in selected postcode areas in Birmingham, raising £15,500. This year the scheme will also cover postcode areas B91 and B92 as well as B13, B14, B15, B17, B26, B27, B28, B29, B30, B31, B38. Trees will be collected on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January 2017.

Susan Newcombe, Director of Income Generation and Marketing said, “We were thrilled with the support we received last year for our ‘Care at Christmas’ campaign and we hope this year we can continue to build on that success. Whether you take part in our Jingle Bell Jog or buy one of our festive Christmas cards, you’ll be helping us to not only provide vital care but to make Christmas a special time for our patients and their families, carers and loved ones. Just £12 could pay for a delicious festive meal for a patient and their loved one at the Hospice on Christmas Day.

Christmas is also a time of celebration here at the Hospice. On Thursday 15 December, we’ll be holding our annual Light up a Life event where we invite members of the public to join us and celebrate the lives of those no longer with us. However you choose to support us, every penny raised will make a massive difference.”

Full details of all the ‘Care at Christmas’ fundraising activities can be found on careatchristmas.org or by calling the Hospice fundraising team on 0121 472 1191.