Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter to Step Down after Six Years

Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter infront of a wall of children's toys at an Acorns hospice
Toby Porter

Acorns Children’s Hospice has announced today (29th June 2022) that Chief Executive, Toby Porter will be stepping down from his role after six years.

Toby, who has been CEO of Acorns since 2016, will be taking up a role as Chief Executive of national charity Hospice UK in mid-September, to lead the charity’s work with the country’s entire network of adult and children’s hospices.

Toby joined Acorns in 2016, most recently guiding the charity through the unprecedented challenges of the Covid pandemic. He leaves Acorns as one of the best-loved hospices in the UK, and with a care service and team highly respected across their region.

Toby said: “It has been a total privilege to lead Acorns, and its wonderful team working and volunteering here. 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 firsthand the countless ways Acorns makes a difference to children and families across our local community.

“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.

“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.”

“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.”

Toby joined Acorns as Chief Executive in 2016, from his previous role as CEO at HelpAge International, and over the past six years has helped steer the charity through a number of significant milestones and challenges.

A period of financial uncertainty in 2019 culminated in a successful fundraising appeal to save the charity’s Black Country Hospice. Six months later, Acorns quickly adapted its children’s hospice service at the onset of Covid. For the two years of the pandemic, Acorns and its children’s hospice care service remained available every day to some of the region’s most vulnerable children and families.

Today, Acorns has recently embarked on a new three-year Strategy, For Any Child, which outlines the many ways the charity aims to build on the lessons of the previous years and reach even more children and their families that could benefit from the charity’s services.

Acorns Children’s Hospice Chairman, Mark Hopton, said: “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, including the potential risk of closure of our Black Country hospice in 2019. This was then immediately followed by the two years of the pandemic. Despite these unprecedented threats, Toby and our wonderful team of employees and volunteers have guided Acorns to a position today of real strength and stability.

“Acorns today reaches more children and families than any other children’s hospice in the UK with our care service. The charity’s financial stability has improved substantially over the past few years, to a point where three years since facing closure, our hospice in Walsall is currently undergoing a major refurbishment.

“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.”

Toby will continue in his role at Acorns until 9th September. The Acorns Board of Trustees will shortly begin the process of recruiting Toby’s successor.

Toby Porter sits with Acorns Ambassador Gohar
Toby with Acorns Ambassador Gohar
David Strudley, John Overton and Toby Porter, all Chief Executives of Acorns
David Strudley (Acorns CEO 2006-2016), John Overton (Acorns first CEO) and Toby Porter