Birmingham & Black Country

Acorns Children's Hospice: Cash boost for Walsall site

Acorns hospice
Image caption The charity cared for about 800 seriously children and their families, across the West Midlands last year

A cash-strapped children's hospice has managed to postpone closing one of its centres after a cash injection.

Parents said they were devastated when Acorns announced it would be forced to close a hospice in Walsall in June.

The hospice said funding from local healthcare commissioners and NHS England had given it a "lifeline" and time to start a campaign to raise £2m.

The hospice, which looked after 200 children in the last year, will be able to stay open until at least March 2020.

Earlier this month, NHS England committed to doubling its funding for children's hospices over the next five years.

Acorns chief executive, Toby Porter, said the charity was "deeply grateful" for the "significant" funding.

"These pledges have created a lifeline for our vital services in the Black Country," he said.

"We will now do all we can to raise the final funds we need to secure the hospice's longer-term future by appealing to the local community for their support."

Image caption Toby Porter announced a fundraising scheme to save Acorns from closure altogether

The charity is aiming to raise £2m to keep the hospice open for the next four years, until the five-year NHS pledge is reached.

Mr Porter financial pressures meant the charity had been forced to propose closing its Walsall branch.

Parents told the BBC at the time that Acorns offered them a "vital service" and they were devastated to be facing having to travel to the charity's other hospices in Birmingham and Worcester.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Mark Lyttle lobbied MPs after his daughter Isabella, who was cared for by Acorns, died in April

More than 30,000 people signed a petition to save the hospice and Mark Lyttle, whose daughter Isabella was supported by Acorns before her death in April, travelled to Parliament to lobby MPs.

Mr Porter said the charity has been "truly humbled" by the support it received.

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