Duchess of Cambridge's children's hospice support welcomed amid Acorns woes
The Duchess of Cambridge says children’s hospices are “vital sanctuaries” - as Acorns prepares to close its hospice in Walsall.
Her Royal Highness made the comments as part of a message of support to mark Children’s Hospice Week 2019.
She thanked children’s hospices for the lifeline care their provide as part of the event organised by charity Together for Short Lives.
The Duchess’ speech comes just weeks after charity Acorns dropped the bombshell that its hospice on Walstead Road would be shutting its doors in the autumn.
Nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition calling for the hospice to be kept open, while campaigns are being supported by families of children who have stayed there.
In her personal message, the Duchess says: “Children’s hospices provide vital sanctuaries for those experiencing the very toughest of times. They help families and carers build life long memories that are poignant, happy and often filled with laughter.
“They provide a lifeline to children and families for however long support is needed and I hope that others join me in thanking them as we shine a light on their work during Children’s Hospice Week.”
Acorns is one of the charities joining the Duchess to mark Children’s Hospice Week and bosses are delighted that Her Royal Highness has sent a special message of support, shining a light on children’s hospices and showing how they help children, young people and families to make the most of their precious time.
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Chief executive Toby Porter said: “We are extremely grateful to Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge, for her continued support of children’s hospice care and for raising awareness of the vital part hospices like Acorns play in creating special memories to cherish.
“Both the Duchess and the Duke of Cambridge have seen for themselves the lifeline support that children’s hospices and palliative care services provide for children and families.
“We had the privilege of welcoming His Royal Highness to our hospice in Birmingham last September and were honoured to show the Duke the remarkable and life-changing work of Acorns, and to introduce him to some of the children and families support we support.
“I hope people will join the Duchess in supporting Children’s Hospice Week and championing the role that children’s hospices play in helping children and families.”
A letter to the Health Secretary has been signed by 11 Black Country MPs calling for a meeting to discuss increasing funding for hospices.
Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, who is one of the 11 to have signed the letter, said: “This letter is a strong and united statement of cross-party support from Black Country MPs for the Acorns Hospice in Walsall.
“When we met the chief executive of Acorns in Parliament earlier this week, he told us that £1.5m a year would be needed to keep the hospice open.
“In the wider scheme of public spending, that is a small sum of money to keep open such an important asset for the whole Black Country. The help the hospice provides for families at their time of greatest pain and need is absolutely priceless. We are therefore pressing the Government to provide more funding from the Children’s Hospice Fund so we can try to avoid the closure going ahead.”
It comes as the boss of Shropshire’s Hope House warned services would have to be scaled back or withdrawn entirely unless NHS England commits to properly funding children’s hospices.