Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by The Hospice Charity Partnership
Erdington’s John Taylor Hospice are bringing back their Christmas ‘Treecycling’ initiative this winter, to help make the festive season extra special for the patients in their care.
As many of us rush around looking for Christmas presents and Cranberry sauce, staff at the Grange Road hospice are busy granting wishes for their patients – made possible by the money raised through projects such as the Treecycling initiative.
In exchange for an affordable donation, the Treecyling volunteers will collect your old Christmas tree from your home on Saturday 14 or Sunday 15 of January ’23.
Having run for over ten years, the Treecycling initiative has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help support John Taylor Hospice – which relies on charity fundraising and donations to generate 40% of the money needed to stay open.
To sign up for the Treecycling initiative visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/Treecycling
John Rastall, a patient cared for by John Taylor Hospice’s Inpatient Unit (IPU), wanted nothing more than to celebrate Christmas in style this year.
To make sure John was able to celebrate his favourite time of year, staff at the Erdington-based hospice decided to make Christmas come early and kicked off 12 days of festivities from 14 September.
The wonderful Inpatient Unit (IPU) Team decorated John’s room top to bottom in Christmas spirit – with a Christmas tree, his own advent calendar, and wall to wall Christmas decorations.
For the next 12 days, staff helped John celebrate Christmas with special gifts and festive treats – until ‘Christmas Day’ arrived on Monday 26 September.
After waking up in his festive duvet covers, covered in pictures of Santa and his reindeer, John was treated to his very own Christmas dinner – made specially by the hospice catering team.
After a second helping of turkey, John headed outside for another Christmas surprise – where the hospice staff had dressed up as Santa, an elf, a snowman, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
There was even ‘snow’ on the ground, courtesy of a snow making machine, that helped decorate the autumn lawn at John Taylor hospice in Christmas cheer.
John spent the rest of his ‘Christmas Day’ relaxing in his newly bought Christmas onesie and opening presents from people from across the hospice.
As an artist, John was especially excited with the beautiful art sets – with pencils, pens and drawing equipment – and wants to design his own Christmas cards for John Taylor Hospice to sell and raise money to help others.
John told staff: “I feel really lucky, everyone has been really kind. All my presents are amazing, thank you.”
John’s ‘12 days of Christmas’ was just one of the special activities and events that staff at John Taylor Hospice have organised for patients in their care, made possible by the funds raised by projects such as the Treecycling initiative.
While the care provided by John Taylor Hospice is free for all, to cover this, 40% of its costs need to be covered through fundraised income. This is why the hospice relies on donations and money raised through charity fundraising initiatives, delivered by a team of supporters and volunteers.
Mary Moorehouse, Discharge Coordinator at John Taylor Hospice, said the staff just wanted to make John’s time at the hospice as special as possible.
“John mentioned it to someone that he wanted to make sure he celebrated Christmas this year,” told Mary. “So, we discussed it as a team and decided to bring his Christmas forward.
“Our whole team have gotten really involved and we have had gifts donated from our IPU colleagues, their partners, and families and from teams across the hospice.
“John is a fantastic artist and will even be designing some Christmas cards for us which is wonderful.
“Thank you to everyone who got involved and helped us pull it off. We love to make dreams come true here.
“It has all been worth it to see John’s face and see him enjoying himself.”
John Taylor Hospice is located at 76 Grange Road, Erdington.
Now part of The Hospice Charity Partnership, alongside Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, John Taylor Hospice first opened in 1910 and has been providing free end of life and palliative care for over a century.
To sign up for the ‘Treecycling’ charity fundraiser and support John Taylor Hospice visit: www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/Treecycling
For more on John Taylor Hospice visit www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk