Walsall hospice officially reopens following major refurb after successful fundraising appeal

A hospice in Walsall has officially reopened following a major £2 million refurbishment.

Pictured from left, Trevor Johnson, Andy Street, Carmel Caldicott and Rachel O'Donnell with Charlie Wearing
Pictured from left, Trevor Johnson, Andy Street, Carmel Caldicott and Rachel O'Donnell with Charlie Wearing

Acorns Children's Hospice celebrated the occasion on Thursday when families, staff and volunteers gathered with supporters and Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, for speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The hospice has been transformed thanks to generous donations from the community, who helped raise £750,000 through the charity’s Room to Grow Appeal.

It now boasts completely modernised bedrooms, corridors, dining room, reception and a purpose-built arts and crafts room.

Acorns Children's Hospice has officially reopened

As part of the refurbishment, the new state-of-the-art bedrooms where children stay for short breaks, are the first of Acorns' three hospices to have built-in piped oxygen to help meet the increasingly complex clinical needs of the children it cares for.

Carmel Caldicott, hospice matron, said: "Today is such a joyous day for everyone at the hospice and to be able to share this momentous occasion with children and families, friends and supporters is just wonderful.

“The completed work is stunning and enhances the already exceptional service our amazing care teams provide. We couldn’t be happier with our new-look hospice.”

Steve Corns with Faith

The refurbishment is the first time Acorns in the Black Country, which opened in 2000, has been able to benefit from investment on this scale due to financial constraints.

It follows a successful campaign in 2019 in which Acorns issued an urgent call to help save the hospice which was under threat of closure.

The campaign captured the hearts and minds of the community and saw people, businesses and sports teams all step-up to show their support.

Mark Lyttle in Isabella's Place
A family care room

Carmel added: “We are so humbled by the overwhelming support shown once again by the Black Country community who have been with us on this journey each step of the way. We wouldn’t be here today without their phenomenal generosity.”

Among the guests of honour attending the reopening were Mark Lyttle and Jen Day, parents of Isabella Lyttle who spent many happy hours at Acorns and who sadly died in 2019, aged just 11.

Both Mark and Jen were instrumental in helping galvanise the local community when the hospice was under threat.

The hospice’s new arts and crafts room, a place Isabella loved to spend time, has been named Isabella’s Place in her memory.

Acorns Children's Hospice has officially reopened
The teenage lounge at the Walsall hospice

Emma Aspinall, director of care at Acorns, said: “The hospice has undergone a remarkable transformation and I am so proud of every single person who works or volunteers at the hospice for ensuring our vital care for local children has continued whilst the work has taken place.

“Today was not only an opportunity to celebrate the reopening of our hospice, but also to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported Acorns and enabled us to create a modern hospice for the many children and families who need us, now and in the future.

“Our thanks also to building contractors, Murray and Willis, who have overseen the work. It has been a pleasure to partner with them and benefit from their expertise over the course of the project.”

Whilst the improvement work has taken place, Acorns continued to provide care both in family homes and thanks to a groundbreaking partnership with St Giles Hospice, which offered use of its hospice in Whittington for children and families.

Representatives from the adult hospice charity, including director of clinical services, Kate Burbridge, were among the special guests at the reopening.

Part of the new dining room

Acorns in the Black Country provides specialist palliative care and emotional and practical support to children, young people and their families in a fun, colourful and home-like setting.

Acorns relies on fundraising, donations and the income from charity shops to continue.

To find out how to support their work visit acorns.org.uk

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