“When bucket collecting for the Hospice, flashing bunny ears are a must!” At Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, we wouldn’t be able to provide such a wide range of services without our dedicated team of volunteers. The Big Brum Bucket is just one of our volunteer-led campaigns which sees hundreds of people give up their time for free to hit the streets and bucket collect for our charity. Jo – who will be taking part in the Big Brum Bucket this summer – wanted to give back to Birmingham St Mary’s after they cared for her sister, Letitia, three-years-ago. She tells us why she can’t wait to grab her bucket and go collecting again to help raise vital money on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July… I’ll never forget the care and kindness that Birmingham St Mary’s gave to my older sister Letitia, or ‘Tish’ as she was better known as. The nurses and staff were just amazing – they really made her feel at home and they always seemed to have time for my sister and our family. That’s why I wanted to give something back and volunteer at the Hospice. So, when I saw on their website that they were looking for volunteers for The Big Brum Bucket, I thought "why not?" The next thing I knew, I’d persuaded a friend to join me and we were standing outside the Grosvenor Centre in Northfield collecting money in a bucket and raising awareness of the Hospice. It was a busy Friday afternoon which, as you can imagine, was a bit nerve-wracking at first. But as the afternoon went on, I was truly was amazed at how many generous people came up to us and put money in our buckets. The nerves soon transformed into excitement and I really enjoyed spreading the word about the incredible care that Birmingham St Mary’s provides to local people whenever they need it most. Because my friend and I enjoyed taking part in the Big Brum Bucket so much, we decided to do it again the following year. This time though, we thought it would be fun to dress up a little – not much, just the odd feather boa and silly sunglasses. People were smiling as they walked past and often couldn’t help but come up, have a chat and donate, even if it was just their spare lose change – every little helps after all! They say laughter is infectious and that certainly seems to be the case whenever we go out and bucket collect. Dressing up has now become a normal thing for us – in fact, I need to get some batteries for my bunny ears this year as they have stopped flashing! One particularly vivid memory I have during my time as a bucketeer was when a group of young girls, aged only about twelve or thirteen, came up to us and put some money in our buckets. We asked them if they knew what we were collecting for and they hadn't got a clue! So we decided to educate them about Birmingham St Mary’s and the work that the Hospice does. That’s what makes this campaign so special – it’s not just about collecting money but it’s about telling more people about the vital care and support the Hospice can provide. To this day, I am still surprised when somebody comes up to give a donation and stops to either find out more about the Hospice or to chat to us about their connections and personal experiences with Birmingham St Mary's. I think one of the best parts about bucket collecting is finding out how much has been raised at the end of it. It’s amazing to think that everybody who does their little bit is able to make such a big difference to the total raised for the Hospice. It makes such a huge impact and allows them to keep up all the fantastic work they do. I feel so proud to be part of such a wonderful and worthwhile organisation. If anybody feels that they would like to volunteer but are not sure, my advice is ’do it’ and just give it a go like I did. It can be a lot of fun, you’ll meet wonderful people and best of all, you’re helping to support a fantastic local charity. Last year, The Big Brum Bucket raised an incredible £9,500 which could help pay for a person to be cared for on our Inpatient Unity at the end of their life. We rely on the hard work of our incredible team of volunteers to help raise this money and support more people like Jo and her sister when they need us most. If you are interested in volunteering for the Big Brum Bucket, please read here to find out more information.