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MPs vow to battle for Acorns Children's Hospice

MPs will ask the Government to step in to help save Acorns children’s hospice in Walsall from closure.

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Acorns chief executive Toby Porter, left, and Mark Lyttle, centre, at the meeting attending by a cross party group of Black Country MPs

A cross party group of Black Country MPs met chief executive Toby Porter to discuss the charity’s funding crisis.

They have agreed to write to Health Secretary Matt Hannock to see what help can be offered to Acorns to ensure the Walsall site remains open.

The meeting, held in Parliament on Tuesday, was arranged by Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden and was also attended by bereaved parent Mark Lyttle from Walsall.

His daughter Isabella, aged 11, who recently died from neuroblastoma, was cared for at the hospice in Walsall.

He praised the help that Acorns gave and said he would do everything he could to save the hospice.

Mr Porter outlined the financial challenges facing the charity which has been struggling due to rising costs and a fall in donations.

Mr McFadden said: “This hospice is a huge asset to the whole Black Country. It provides crucial help and support to families in the most difficult circumstances.

“The meeting took place because all of us are very concerned about the implications of the closure announcement for our constituencies.

“We will be writing on a cross party basis to the Secretary of State for Health to ask what further help the Government can make available to see if there is any way this closure can be prevented.”

Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz said: “This vital service needs to be underpinned by NHS funding. It cannot be right that we have to rely on donations to keep hospices open. The Government needs to assure Acorns that funding will be delivered.”

Mr Porter said: “I was very proud and moved to witness Mark Lyttle speaking so highly about the services he and his family have received from our children’s hospice in Walsall.

"His being prepared to talk so honestly about his daughter’s illness and death was incredibly powerful for all of the MPs in the room.

"We were very pleased to see the strong cross-party determination from the Black Country MPs to do everything they can to keep this facility open - and this confirms our belief that only the Government in Westminster can step-in and deliver the sustainable funds we need.”

Also attending the meeting were MPs Ian Austin, Eddie Hughes, Mike Wood, James Morris, Adrian Bailey and Eleanor Smith.