Thousands join the fight to save Acorns Children's hospice
More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for Acorns children's hospice in Walsall to be saved from closure.
The community has been left devastated by the charity's proposal to shut the centre at the end of September because of rising costs and falling donations.
As well as a petition, fundraising drives in aid of the charity, which supports 233 families at the Walstead Road site, have been announced.
The online petition - at change.org/p/acorns-children-s-hospice-keep-acorns-children-s-hospice-in-walsall-open - has been started by Emma Tucker whose daughter attends the hospice.
It states: "This has come as devastating news to the 233 families,who currently receive care and support there, as well as staff facing redundancy and to the wider community.
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"Acorns Walsall is a fabulous facility offering home from home care to children with life limiting or life threatening conditions. As well as end of life care, it provides much needed respite to families who otherwise wouldn't have access to this level of care.
"This isn't the sort of thing you can just move around and replicate. There is something special about Acorns Walsall.
"It isn't just a building. It is all the dedicated staff and volunteers.The relationships that have developed with families over the years.
"Friendships. A garden filled with memorials to children who have passed away. How does all of this be transferred? Once it is gone, its gone.
"My daughter has been under the care of Acorns Walsall for years and I can testify what a lifeline this has been to our whole family."
The petition also says that many families will be unable to travel to the charity's other two hospices in Birmingham and Worcester.
The charity has pledged to work with those affected by the proposal including 70 staff at risk of redundancy.
Acorns chief executive Toby Porter said: “We have obviously seen the petition, and the very high numbers of people signing it.
"Seeing the level of support for our children’s hospice in Walsall, and appreciation for the service provided by our wonderful staff and volunteers there is not surprising, but obviously very moving for us.
"It adds to the tremendous sorrow we feel at having to propose the closure of our Walsall hospice. We completely understand that there will be lots people who will be concerned about the future, particularly Acorns families.
“Our priority during the consultation period is to listen closely to the families affected and support them in any way we can should this proposal go ahead. We are welcoming all feedback and comments on the proposal and we’d encourage people to get in touch via the specific channels we have set up, details of which can be found on the home page of our website.”
The family of schoolgirl Walsall schoolgirl Isabella Lyttle, who died aged 11 after an eight-year battle with cancer have also announced a fundraiser at Tesco in Walsall on June 15.
Their "Every Lyttle Helps" event will include a tombola, cake sale, face and nail painting and much more.
Almost £2,500 has already been raised for the charity in Isabella's memory. See www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/isabella-loves-acorns