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Acorns welcomes vital NHS funding boost for Children’s Hospices

Acorns CEO Toby Porter and mum Kirsty Murray joined representatives from Together for Short Lives to deliver a petition to Down Street calling for more sustainable funding for children’s hospices

Acorns Children’s Hospice has welcomed the announcement that NHS England is increasing vital funding for children’s hospices nationwide.

The annual Children’s Hospice Grant provided by NHS England is set to increase from £11 million to £25 million, meaning children’s hospices like Acorns will be better able to provide the lifeline services local children and their families need.

The announcement follows a national campaign led by children’s hospice charity Together for Short Lives with support from Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter and parent, Kirsty Murray, whose family used Acorns services.

Toby Porter, said: “We are thrilled that NHS England has made the decision to increase the Children’s Hospice Grant from April. After many years where the grant has not risen, we welcome the recognition that children’s hospices face exactly the same cost pressures as the wider NHS, and need more funding from the Government.

“The Children’s Hospice Grant has become a critical source of income for Acorns and for the wider children’s hospice sector. As soon as we learn exactly when and how this increased funding will be applied, we can plan to maintain our high quality and invaluable care for children and families. The increase of this grant is important news for Acorns and for the children and families we support.”

During the national campaign last summer, over 6,500 people signed a petition calling for more sustainable funding for hospices in England which was then delivered to Number 10 Downing Street by representatives from the children’s palliative care sector.

Attending the petition handover was Gloucestershire based mum Kirsty Murray, whose daughter Ella died aged two from a rare genetic disorder called Miller-Dieker Syndrome.

Kirsty and her family were given care and support by Acorns hospice, Acorns for the Three Counties, based in Worcester.

Kirsty said: “I am thrilled that we have been able to make a difference to all the children and families that use hospices and it is a testament to all those that work so hard to provide care and respite around the clock whilst supporting families and helping them to create such important memories.

“This is the best Christmas gift for all those families who rely on the hospices and I am so pleased that it has been noticed how important they are. This petition has proved to me that anyone can make a difference to the lives of others and I am over the moon that I got to be a part of it in memory of my little star Ella.”

Across England, 40,000 babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions rely on palliative care to enhance their quality of life, manage symptoms and provide their families with much needed help and rest.

In the past year Acorns has provided care to over 870 children and more than 1,000 families, making it the largest children’s hospice charity in the UK. Acorns relies on donations and fundraising from the local community for 70% of its income.

For more information about Acorns, please visit: www.acorns.org.uk.