Acorns Children's Hospice chief executive to stand down after six years

The chief executive of a much-loved children's hospice in the Black Country will step down from his role later this year after six years in charge.

Toby Porter. Photo: Acorns
Toby Porter. Photo: Acorns

Toby Porter has held the role at Acorns Children's Hospice, which has a branch in Walsall, since 2016 and will hold the role until September 9.

Mr Porter will then take up a role as chief executive of Hospice UK in mid-September – supporting the work of hospices across the country.

"It has been a total privilege to lead Acorns, and its wonderful team working and volunteering here," he said.

"Acorns is an incredibly special charity and I have been completely inspired by the courage, compassion, and generosity I have witnessed during my time as chief executive.

“What will remain with me above all as I depart, will be the feeling of being humbled - every single day - seeing first-hand the countless ways Acorns makes a difference to children and families across our local community.

“Although it won’t be easy to say goodbye, it’s the right time to hand the reigns to someone else who can lead the charity with new ideas and fresh perspectives and help this vital children’s hospice service continue to flourish over the coming years.”

Toby Porter. Photo: Acorns

Mr Porter joined Acorns as chief executive in 2016 from his previous role heading up HelpAge International, and has helped steer the much-loved charity, which also has branches in Selly Oak and Worcester, through a number of significant milestones and challenges.

Among them was the concern the Walsall branch would have to close down, prompting a fundraising appeal to save the facility which was backed by a string of fundraisers and celebrities across the region – and the Express & Star – which resulted in it being saved last year.

Amid the concern over the Walstead Road site, there was also the issue of Covid-19 to deal with, with the children's hospice care service remaining available every single day to some of the region's most vulnerable children and families.

Mr Porter said: "Acorns is deservedly loved and supported across the West Midlands and Gloucestershire. I am incredibly proud that today, despite the upheaval and challenges of the past few years, this charity is stronger than ever, and able to provide the same love and children’s hospice care it always has done. I know that in the future, Acorns will reach more families than ever.

“I feel very honoured to be asked to lead Hospice UK and I look forward to joining its highly respected team and support the hospice and end of life care sector nationally.”

Acorns Children’s Hospice chairman Mark Hopton added; "Whilst all of us connected with Acorns will be sad to see Toby go, my fellow trustees and I can think of nobody better qualified to represent and champion the hospice sector nationally.

“Toby has provided truly inspirational and outstanding leadership to Acorns over the past six years, a period characterised by some extremely serious challenges. Toby and our wonderful team of employees and volunteers have guided Acorns to a position today of real strength and stability.

“It is heartening to know that Toby will continue following his passion for hospice and end of life care on the national level and on behalf of everyone at Acorns, we wish him all the very best.”

The Acorns Board of Trustees will shortly begin the process of recruiting his successor. For more information about the charity, visit acorns.org.uk

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