Colleagues from a Birmingham-based optical manufacturer have done their bit for the planet and for the city’s sick kids after recycling old company mobile phones and raising over £3,400 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Rather than binning their old phones, once their contracts had come to an end, the team from Carl Zeiss Vision UK, which is based on Birmingham’s Gas Street, came up with a much more sustainable plan. They sold their handsets still in good condition, recycled older ones for parts, and then donated the proceeds to charity.

In the knowledge that members of the team, both currently and previously, have been affected in some way by the fantastic care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, managers at the company agreed that the local paediatric centre should benefit from their scheme.

One colleague who couldn’t be happier with the choice of charity, is Jack Elbourn, whose baby son, Max, is currently undergoing treatment at the hospital.

After a seemingly straight forward pregnancy, Max was worryingly born limp and unresponsive. Within moments of entering the world, he was whisked away from his shocked mum and dad as doctors at Birmingham Women’s Hospital tried to work out what was wrong. It didn’t take them long to identify that baby Max was small and physically underdeveloped, and some months later he was diagnosed with an incredibly rare genetic disorder.

After spending the first three weeks of his life in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, he was big enough to be transferred across the city to sister hospital, Birmingham Children’s where his care continued for another week, before he was stable and well enough to finally be allowed home. 

Max’s condition has resulted in a full spectrum development delay, affecting both his physical and cognitive development. Now one, Max is still under the care of over 10 specialists and consultants at the hospital, who see him weekly for tests, treatments and therapy.

Jack said: “Max’s rare condition means Birmingham Children’s Hospital has become a second home for our family, with Max sometimes visiting up to three times a week for various treatments and therapies. We’re so grateful for the care Max is shown and I’m so pleased me and my colleagues at Zeiss have been able to give back in this way.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Our hospital treats over 90,000 sick kids every year so it’s unsurprising that so many people from Birmingham and beyond have been impacted by our wonderful teams at some point in their lives.

“Jack and his colleagues’ recycling initiative proves that you really can turn anything into a fundraiser, and the incredible funds they raised will go towards helping us support more children, like Max, and their families.”