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Lifeline funding hope for Acorns hospice

By Richard Guttridge | Walsall | Health | Published:

The boss of Acorns Children's Hospice says the charity is doing everything it can to secure crucial funding.

Acorns Walsall

It comes ahead of a crucial meeting tonight, where officials and trustees will discuss the proposal to close the hospice's Walsall centre.

Acorns announced plans close its Walstead Road hospice last month, sparking an outcry from families of children who have stayed their and fundraising campaigns to try and save it. The charity has blamed rising costs and falling donations for the decision.

Chief executive Toby Porter said discussions had been held with health bodies and councils to explore if there was any prospect of securing extra funding.

He said ahead of the meeting: "Nothing is more important to us than being able to continue to provide care to the children and families that need us in Walsall and the Black Country.

"We have been in discussion with local NHS commissioners, local authorities, as well as with actual and potential supporters in the community, to see if we can find the additional income we need. We will continue to keep families and the local Walsall community closely informed."

Campaigners were given a glimmer of hope last week when NHS England confirmed plans to increase funding to children's hospices, with £25million of NHS funding to be ring-fenced to support children’s hospices by 2023/24, increasing annually from this year’s baseline of £12m.

Following the announcement, Mr Porter said it was not yet clear how much extra funding would be available for Acorns and that the charity would be investigating what other cash might be available to plug the gap in its finances.

Acorns has pledged to continue offer support to the 230 families, who could be affected, from its sites in Worcester and Birmingham if the Walsall hospice was to close.

Around 70 jobs are at risk of redundancy and a consultation with staff was coming to an end today.

A petition calling for the hospice to be kept open has been signed by more than 30,000 people. Thousands of pounds have also been raised through online donation pages and fundraisers set up by kind-hearted supporters.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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