Walsall Acorns children's hospice to close

Written by on June 4, 2019

A children’s hospice is set to close due to a lack of funds.

Acorns in Walsall, which looked after 200 children in the last year, could shut at the beginning of October.

Chief executive Toby Porter said he was not hiding the “devastating impact” the closure would have, adding it was “desperately sad” but “the right decision”.

Staff and families have been told and care will be transferred to Acorns sites in Birmingham and Worcester.

The charity cared for about 800 children, plus their families, across the West Midlands last year.

A month-long consultation with staff in Walsall has started. About 70 people could lose their jobs.

Mr Porter told the BBC it had been “a bad year” for the charity and there was not sufficient cash reserves to support three hospices.

He said the cost of delivering care “was far higher than the total we’ve managed to raise”.

“We’re not hiding the devastating impact it will have,” he said, particularly for the 20-30 families who regularly have day sessions at the Walsall centre.

Acorns opened its Walsall hospice in 1996 and currently cares for 233 children.

The charity said it cost £10m a year to run the three sites.

Current spending figures are still being audited, but a spokesman said it looked likely that the charity’s 2018/19 spending would exceed income by £1.6m.

He added the charity had seen a drop in funds raised by its shops and from wills.

The shortfall would usually be met by charitable reserves but this figure reduced from £3.8m in 2018 to £2.2m at the end of March 2019, and the charity trustees concluded they could not risk reserves falling further.

“It’s very sad we’re leaving but I think we can be very proud at Acorns for what we’ve done in that area for over 20 years,” Mr Porter said.

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Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Birmingham and Black Country

From: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-48497820

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