Acorns Children’s Hospice will create 150 jobs and help hundreds of extra families over the next five years under expansion plans revealed today.
The charity, with bases in Walsall, Selly Oak and Worcester, hopes to help about 50 per cent more families by 2018. Acorns is bucking the trend after a difficult years in the recession.
Its expansion scheme comes despite other sites, such as Wolverhampton’s Compton Hospice, finding times tough.
Chief executive David Strudley today said the strategy was ambitious but he was “absolutely confident” it was achievable.
It will mean the charity needs to increase income by 50 per cent, bringing in an extra £4.2 million. Over five years, the number of hospice shops are would rise from 55 to 78.
Up to 150 staff may be taken on – including about 30 care jobs in Walstead Road, Walsall. “Acorns’ vision is that every child and young person in the West Midlands with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition should receive the care and support they need,” Mr Strudley said.
The hospice cares for about 640 children and nearly 900 families but hopes to be able to help 960 children and 1,290 families by 2018 – partly by developing the At Home service, caring for children and families in their own homes.
“We believe there is a good reason to support this kind of expansion, simply because the need is so urgent,” said Mr Strudley.
“The latest studies suggest there is a much higher number than we first thought of children and families needing our help.
“There could be around 2,000 in the West Midlands area.” He said Acorns would speak to all its partners and care commissioners to see what they can do to help.
About 40 per cent of money needed would come from statutory sources and a central Government grant, he added. Increasing the number of Acorns shops may lift a £1.3 million net profit by a further 14 per cent.
Fundraisers will play an important part.
Mr Strudley said about 90 care jobs may be added at the three hospices, with about 30 more in shops, on top of fundraising roles and backroom staff.
He pledged the charity would continue to live within its means and expansion would only come as funds were available.
“We appreciate the plan for the next five years is very ambitious, particularly in the current economic climate, but the purpose of Acorns is to help these children and families who cannot afford to wait,” he said.
“Their time is now and we must do all we can to meet their needs with a degree of urgency that reflects the huge challenges they face. Our vision is that every child in the West Midlands with a life threatening condition should have the care they need, so please help us to achieve this.”