Published on: Friday 19 Jan 2024 at 12:56
St Clare Hospice’s perennially-popular Christmas tree recycling scheme has boughed out for another year – raising a record-breaking £30,000 to help fund the charity’s specialist palliative and end-of-life care and support in 2024.
Between 11th and 13th January, a small army of helpers collected a total of 1,540 trees from doorsteps across the St Clare catchment area, including about 500 in Harlow and Epping Forest and over 1,000 in Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and Saffron Walden.
This year, the collection branched out into three new postcode areas – IG7, IG9 and IG10 – with 120 trees collected for the first time in the Loughton, Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill areas.
St Clare’s Relationship Fundraising Manager Ellie Gale said: “Yet again we have been blown away by the response to our annual Christmas tree recycling scheme. This is an initiative that not only raises vital funds to ensure St Clare is there to help local people who need our compassionate care and support during challenging times, but makes life easier for our supporters by sustainably disposing of their trees once the Christmas festivities are over, whilst also bringing together a group of truly wonderful people who willingly give up their time to pitch in and help.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to every single person who booked for St Clare to collect and dispose of their tree for them this January. You’ve helped get our 2024 fundraising off to an incredible start, helping your local Hospice ensure that people who have a condition that can’t be cured don’t have to face it alone.”
This January, the initiative, run in partnership with JustHelping, was supported by a number of local waste management companies and corporate supporters.
- Goodnus in Epping, which had 36 volunteers in 18 vans on Friday and Saturday, collecting half of the total number of trees booked in;
- Harlow-based HTS Group Ltd with three vans out on Saturday collecting in Harlow and surrounding areas;
- Amazon with four vans collecting on Thursday;
- Dunmow Waste Management provided the skips for the tree chippings at the Hospice site in Hastingwood;
- Tom Burton, from Thornwood Design & Build, who volunteered his services to collect on Friday;
- Loughton Self Drive donated five vans for the three collection days and one additional van to use for the post-collection sweep up;
- Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Saffron Walden collected over three days in Saffron Walden using their Rotary van;
- Great Notley-based British Offsite used their van to collect trees over two days;
- Bishop’s Stortford Rugby Club allowed us to use their car park as a drop-off point and tree chipping site on Thursday and Friday;
- Weston Homes allowed us to use their Business Centre in Takeley as a drop-off point and tree chipping site on Saturday;
- Kurt Raas and the team at Wavey Tree Care, based in Waltham Abbey, chipped in Bishop’s Stortford on Friday;
- Rod Hunt and the team from Arbtec Tree Services, in Chipping Ongar, chipped at the Hospice on Friday;
- David Riddock from D.R Tree Services, in Waltham Abbey, chipped in Takeley on Saturday;
- Aidan Slater and the team from Slaters Trees, in Hoddesdon, chipped at the Hospice on Sunday; and
- Dagenham-based Bents Plant Hire provided the barriers to fence off the chipping areas at all three of our drop-off points.
A large portion of the chippings from the St Clare collection got dropped off to local allotments in Bishop’s Stortford and Little Canfield, with JustHelping estimating that the Hospice scheme has helped save more than 19,250kg of CO2e. The carbon footprint of a two-metre Christmas tree with no roots is 16kg of CO2e if it ends up in landfill, meaning this is a reduction of up to 80%.
Ellie added: “It’s been a true privilege to oversee this year’s collection, and watch it grow year-on-year since we started doing it back in 2019.
“At a time of year that is typically grey and miserable, this huge team effort is a welcome ray of sunshine, shining a light not only on the work of St Clare Hospice but also what can be achieved when community-minded people pull together.”