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Huge boost for Acorns children's hospice as immediate threat of closure lifted

By Richard Guttridge | Walsall | Health | Published:

The threat of immediate closure at Acorns children's hospice in Walsall has been lifted following an incredible response from the public - but bosses have urged people to continue donating money needed to keep it running in future years.

Nearly £500,000 has been raised so far

Bosses confirmed the much-loved hospice would stay open beyond next spring as an appeal to save it, backed by the Express & Star, closes in on half a million pounds.

The Walstead Road centre was due to close at the end of March before an ambitious bid to raise £2 million was launched.

Around £450,000 has been raised so far.

The total means Acorns can stay open for at least another year and has resulted in 60 jobs being saved.

The hospice is also taking bookings from families from beyond March as it begins to plan for the future.

How you can donate:

  • Text ACORNS5 to 70025 to donate £5*
  • Text ACORNS10 to 70025 to donate £10*
  • Visit acorns.org.uk/appeal
  • Phone: 01564 825 037
  • *With texts you will be charged your donation, plus your standard network rate. Acorns receives at least 98 per cent of your donation as it will incur a two per cent admin charge for this service. By texting, you are agreeing for Acorns to phone or text you to tell you about our work and how you can help. If you wish to donate and not hear from Acorns again, text ACORNS5 NO to 70025. For more information call 01564 825 037. Acorns Children’s Hospice registered charity no: 700859.

The charity dropped a bombshell earlier this year when it announced it could no longer afford to run the facility, which provide a vital lifeline to 230 families in caring for their seriously-ill children.

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Staff and families were left devastated but a campaign which was subsequently launched, and received massive support.

Fundraiser James Wright dressed as a giant acorn for Birmingham Half Marathon

Bosses said around £2 million was needed to plug a funding gap up to 2023 when more cash will become available for hospices from the NHS.

The total raised so far and further indications of incoming cash has provided confidence enough money can be raised.

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Dozens of fundraising events have been held, while donations have flooded in from generous members of the public.

Fundraisers including Mark Lyttle, whose daughter Isabella, was cared for at the hospice

A glut of celebrities have also backed the campaign including Noddy Holder, Julie Walters and Jasper Carrott.

All money that has been raised will be spent on delivering care to children and their families.

Hospice chief: £2m target remains in our sights

Chief executive Toby Porter said he had been blown away by the level of response but insisted the battle was far from over and there was still a lot of a work to do to ensure the survival of the hospice.

Mr Porter said: “Today is a significant day in the journey of our appeal - £450,000 is a fantastic milestone, and we have reached it faster than we expected when we launched it in July.

"We are obviously hopeful, but we cannot and will not rest for one moment before we reach our £2m goal.

Acorns children's hospice chief executive Toby Porter

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to everyone who has supported the Save Acorns Black Country Hospice Appeal so far.

"The community is responding in an amazing way, and every day directly funding the vital children’s hospice care that more than 230 children and their families across the Black Country rely upon.

“We are determined to reach our goal. I want to thank everyone who has responded so generously and who have shown that we can reach our target.

Background to the campaign:

"I would urge people to join us in recommitting to the Appeal and continue to support the Save Acorns Black Country Hospice Appeal until it reaches its final £2m target.”

He added: "Today is a really positive milestone reached. Families can book stays at our Walsall hospice further into the future.

“However, we still have a long way to go. Please continue to fundraise and to donate in the amazing ways that you have been doing and help ensure the long-term delivery of our care across the Black Country for the children and families that need us.”

People can support the appeal by visiting acorns.org.uk/appeal

Keep up to date with Acorns on social media via @AcornsHospice on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook.com/acornschildrenshopice. Use the hashtag #SaveOurHospice

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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