Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2006. Chairman of Acorns since 2011 having previously been Vice Chairman and Chairman of Acorns Trading Company. David Is also a Trustee of Together for Short Lives. A career banker, David worked for over 30 years in the NatWest/RBS Group mostly focusing on asset finance and spent 10 of those years working for the bank in Germany. "The work undertaken by Acorns for the children and their families is so vitally important and it is a privilege to be involved with the wonderful team of staff and volunteers who make it all happen".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2006. Bob started his career in public service in the East End of London and gained practical experience across all aspects of local government policy, practice and engagement with the local community. "I enjoy contributing to the development of the best possible services for an increasing number of children, young people and families who really need them".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2011. Jim Qualified as a Chartered Accountant, and held a number of board level positions within leading manufacturers. "I am motivated to be a trustee through a desire to be able to be of some service to an organisation that is providing wonderful care in our community".
Tim is a professor of paediatrics with University of Birmingham and an honorary consultant in paediatric endocrinology and diabetes. He looks after children with growth and puberty problems, and with diabetes. Tim also leads a lab trying to find new treatments for children with rare types of diabetes. “I was asked to be the University of Birmingham representative Trustee; I was really glad to do this as many of the children I have looked after have benefited from Acorns support; and I want to give something back to Acorns for the wonderful work they do for the children I look after.”
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2006. Having trained at Beatties in Wolverhampton Vivien then joined Allders Department Stores, subsequently becoming a sales and product training consultant. "My husband had been involved in raising money for the new hospice in Worcester and I was pleased to be able to give some time to such a worthwhile charity which is full of wonderful and caring people. I became Chair of the Trading Board in 2010".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2011. Anne is a Semi-retired nurse specialising as a Specialist Practice Nurse in Occupational Health. Anne is also a Retired major in Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps (volunteers) & Company Director. "I am Keen to get involved in a charitable organisation and felt Acorns would make best use of both my professional nursing and business management skills".
Elected to the board of trustees in 2010. Avril is a full time solicitor and parent to a child with a life limiting condition. Avril is able to share first hand her experiences of being a parent under such difficult circumstances. "I understand the far reaching impact this support has upon the lives of many families. I saw this as an opportunity to contribute in whatever way I could to further the aims and objectives of the ever improving service this great charity delivers".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2012. Mark is also Deputy Chairman of Birmingham City University and Chairman of Governors at Solihull School. Mark has enjoyed a diverse and rewarding career with the global business advisory firm KPMG. "It is no coincidence that each of my current responsibilities reflects a long held personal interest in the development, motivation and care for children and young people, where I believe there is the greatest potential to help make a real difference".
Dr Sarindar Singh Sahota OBE
Elected to the board of trustees in 2005. With many years’ experience of business, Sarindar currently sits on the Community Advisory Board of the University of Birmingham, chairs the Quality Board for Adult Social Care of Birmingham City Council, a member of the Smethwick Delivery Board and Trustee of Nishkam Schools Trust. "I joined the Board after seeing at first hand the way in which Acorns Children's Hospice support children and families in their most difficult times".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in March 2014. Phil has enjoyed an esteemed career in local media initially at BRMB, then Heart FM and subsequently with Orion Media, where he was CEO and then Chairman until 2016. He is currently chairman of Birmingham TV commercial production company Koala TV. "I’ve helped raise money for Acorns for 25 years at both brmb and latterly Free Radio, and to be asked to help support Acorns directly by becoming a trustee was a request I simply couldn’t turn down. I only hope whatever business experience I can bring to the table helps Acorns grow and achieve more of their mission".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2007. David has over 35 years experience working in the international oil industry, serving senior positions in several countires. He and his wife cared for a son for over 20 years who had a life limiting condition. He died in 1989. "It is so rewarding for me to bring my life experiences in caring and in business and to feel that I am a part of an organisation providing such valuable support to the community that was sadly not available all those years ago".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015. Graham is an experienced Corporate Finance professional acting for clients engaged in public and private equity markets, with significant experience acting for professional services businesses. "Acorns has been ‘dear to my heart’ for a number of years having been involved in the past in organising a number of Acorns’ Balls. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to make more of a contribution".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in May 2013. A Corporate Banker for 46 years, Chris spent the majority of his career with Barclays Bank and Cooperative Bank. "Having retired I want to use my knowledge and experiences and ‘give something back’. I am extremely fortunate to have 3 healthy grown up children and 2 healthy young grandchildren. No better reason to want to help a Charity that assists those who have not been so blessed".
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015. Bob has over 30 years experience in the IT industry the last 17 of which were with KPMG advising clients on strategy. On completion of Acorn’s IT Strategy in 2014, Bob was invited to become a Trustee and asked to assist with the planned technical changes outlined in that strategy.
David Widdas MBE
Elected to the Board of Trustees in 2014. David developed and worked in two large NHS Community Children’s Nursing Teams which offer palliative care and care packages. David is also a trustee at Together for Short Lives. "I decided to join the Board at Acorns as my work around children’s palliative and complex care has shown me how important the work of Acorns is to the children and families I work with. I had a skill set the board required and am very pleased to be able to help such a vital part of children’s palliative care serves in the West Midlands".
Dr Penny Dison
Elected to the Board of Trustees in February 2016, Penny worked as a Consultant general paediatrician in Wolverhampton for 22 years with a special interest in epilepsy, neurodevelopment and palliative care. Penny retired in 2015 and undertakes some work for the Care Quality Commission. “Through my work I have seen the invaluable support provided by Acorns for children and their families. The Hospice at Home service is one of many fantastic developments and I am proud and excited to have been invited to work, as a Trustee, with such a forward thinking team.”
Nita was a full time carer for her son for 19 years, who sadly passed away in November 2015. Nita is a Parent Carer Champion with Acorns and has completed the training for Face2Face. Nita is also a member of the UK Transition Task Force group, offering her first-hand experience of caring for someone and highlighting shortfalls for transition to adult services. She has also recently been given the position of ‘Expert By Experience’ with CQC, through Together for Short Lives. “I am keen to put my first-hand experience of caring for my son and empathy towards other families going through similar experiences, to good use and give something back to Acorns, so that it may benefit other families going through difficult challenges when confronted with life limiting conditions”
Our Executive Directors
Toby Porter is the Chief Executive of Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust. He joined the charity in September 2016, following three years leading HelpAge International, a global network of organisations working to help older women and men claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty in older age. Toby has dedicated his entire career to humanitarian and development assistance, working for 10 years with Save the Children, and five years before that with Oxfam. As Global Emergencies Director, he led Save the Children’s response to the Asian Tsunami in 2004, the Pakistan earthquake in 2005, before moving to New Delhi as Director of Programmes for Save the Children India from 2008 to 2011. Earlier in his career, Toby worked in the Rwanda refugee camps in 1994 and 1995, and led Oxfam’s response to the Kosovo crisis in 1999.
Toby was a global civil society representative at the Annual Meeting in Davos of the World Economic Forum in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In June 2014, Toby accepted an invitation to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Population Ageing for 2014-16. Toby has an undergraduate and post graduate degree from Oxford University. He is married, with two daughters and son.
Director of Care
Joined Acorns in 2003. A HCPC and BASWA member, Emma has over 30 years’ experience working in health and social care including work with elderly residential homes, fostering and adoption services and children and adults with disabilities. Underpinning her work is the focus to develop partnerships and links with external organisations ensuring Acorns is integral in the agreed services offered to CYP who meet its criteria, and support the access of funding for the services as appropriate. "Whilst working at Acorns I have valued working with such dedicated and skilled colleagues and found it a privilege to have met so many wonderful children and families".
Director of Finance
Joined Acorns in December 2012. A member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, Sonia worked for 28 years in the public sector, the last ten years at director level, before joining Acorns. She has a track record for improving financial management across an organisation in support of strategic goals such as Acorns priority for growth in Care services. She believes that efficient, effective support services fully aligned to the needs of the care-givers have an important role to play in helping Acorns achieve its vision sustainably. "I am highly motivated to help – albeit behind the scenes, to make a real difference to the lives of the clients and families Acorns looks after".
Director of Income Generation
Joined Acorns in September 2014. Louise has put her career in sales and marketing within the private sector to make an impact in the third sector, initially working within national fundraising at Macmillan Cancer Support then followed by the RSPCA. Louise is now responsible for fundraising, marketing and the Acorns Trading Company. "Having been the sibling of a life limited child myself, but without the support of an organisation like Acorns, I am determined to ensure that no family within our region goes through that experience alone. I am so proud to be able to work with all of our wonderful supporters so that together we can fund the amazing support our care team provides".
Director of Human Resources
Joined Acorns in 2000. A qualified MBTI Practitioner, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and a Birmingham JP, Janet has worked in HR for many years across a range of industries including the retail, finance and engineering sectors. She has broad experience in all areas of people management with particular interest in strategic HR and Learning & Development. "I was motivated to be part of a team that had at its core the care and support of children, young people and their families. It is very rewarding to contribute to the work of an organisation that makes a difference to the lives of others".