Pilgrims Hospices, east Kent’s hospice charity, is rolling out the renowned Christmas Tree Recycling fundraising campaign into Canterbury and Thanet for the first time while celebrating a decade of the scheme in Ashford.

The environmentally-friendly fundraising initiative is celebrating a 10 year milestone since its inception in the Ashford Borough Council area. With the support of Ashford Borough Council, the campaign has raised an incredible £125,000 to help deliver vital care for patients facing an incurable illness in east Kent.

The last campaign saw over 1,350 trees collected in the Ashford area and in excess of £21,000 was raised for vital hospice services. This year the charity hopes that residents in the borough will help their local hospice by donating online and booking their tree in for the initiative.

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, portfolio holder for environment and land management at Ashford Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating a decade of supporting this extremely popular and worthwhile cause. The Pilgrims Hospices provide tree-mendous support for our community and so I encourage everyone in Ashford to sign up to this scheme.”

Now with the support of Kent Country Council and Kent’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) and Transfer Station partner, FCC Environment, together the parties are helping Pilgrims with the extension of the scheme. The charity will be collecting real Christmas trees from households in the Canterbury City Council area and selected areas within Thanet (Margate, Westgate-on-Sea, Broadstairs and Ramsgate).

Help Pilgrims to take care of the planet and hospice patients one tree at a time!

When it comes to saying farewell to the festive fir, the charity can help residents enjoy a hassle-free end to the Christmas period with the environmentally-friendly service, which is collected from doorsteps. Charity supporters can register real trees for a donation and Pilgrims team of volunteer elves will do the hard work in unison with FFC Environment at the Recycling Centres in Ashford, Canterbury and Margate.

·        Canterbury and Margate household collections will take place on: Saturday 8th – Tuesday 11th January 2021. Online registrations close midday on Monday 3rd January.

·        Ashford household collections will take place the following week: Saturday 15th – Tuesday 18th January 2021. Online registrations close midnight on Thursday 6th January.

All trees must be booked online in advance through the Pilgrims Hospices website. To register your real Christmas Tree please visit www.pilgrimshospices/treerecycling

The collected trees will be picked up on specially planned rounds and the trees are taken to the local FCC Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

From there, they are taken to two farm outlets in mid and east Kent where they are composted within a covered building system. From here two grades of compost are produced, these are a 20mm grade used for agricultural purposes and a 10mm grade used as a soil improver for general composting and landscaping uses.

What’s even better is that, whilst helping to support the charity, donors will be reducing their environmental impact too. Some of the trees are also chipped and used for composts locally, some are used for horse jumps at an equestrian centre and others are chipped and donated to an animal rescue centre.

So, as you can see, the tree’s onward journey is far more valuable than just being put out after Christmas.

Cllr Susan Carey

The support of KCC has played an integral role in expanding the initiative. Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “I welcome this initiative to support Pilgrims Hospices and thank all the partner organisations and volunteers who make this recycling initiative possible – they show the true spirit of Christmas.”

FCC Environment’s Operations Director Steve Longdon explained: “After 20 months of operating through an ongoing pandemic, one thing we have learnt is just how much the public value the 12 HWRCs in Mid and East Kent so it’s great to be able to get involved with local initiatives like this one which not only helps residents to use our sites for recycling whilst directly benefiting such a good local cause too.”

To register your real Christmas Tree please visit www.pilgrimshospices/treerecycling.

By Ed

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