A state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool featuring multi-sensory light and sound for children with life limiting and life threatening conditions which was officially opened this week is already a splash hit.

The project at Acorns Children’s Hospice for the Three Counties has seen colleagues dive into months of work and the complete renovation of the much-used facility after a whopping six-figure donation.

Alongside a new pool and changing rooms, a hi-tech lighting system and ambient surround sound speakers will enhance hydrotherapy sessions, which are a vital service provided by the Worcester-based hospice.

Ian Smith, Chair of the Kildare Trust at the poolside.
Ian Smith, Chair of the Kildare Trust, at the poolside.

The project – costing around £200,000 – was made possible thanks to a grant from the Kildare Trust which funded the entire scheme, and it will benefit more than 200 children who receive care at the Bath Road hospice every year.

At the pool’s official opening (Tuesday, 20 January), the first family took a dip and were cheered on by representatives from the Trust, contractors and colleagues from Acorns.

Deputy Matron Siega Benwell with Catherine Atkins, and children Jack, Oliver and Maisie.
Deputy Matron Siega Benwell with Catherine Atkins, and children Jack, Oliver and Maisie.

Becky Hughes, Matron at Acorns for the Three Counties, said: “We are thrilled to officially open this amazing pool. The project has totally transformed this important space for children and families.

“Hydrotherapy is such a vital service, actively reducing pain and giving children at Acorns a sense of movement and freedom they may not otherwise get to experience because of the use of wheelchairs or spending a lot of time in bed.

“Our new pool will also help us give families visiting the hospice for family splashes the best possible experience, enabling them to make precious memories together which wouldn’t be possible in a public swimming pool because of infection control and colder waters.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Kildare Trust for the generous donation that has made this project possible.”

Hydrotherapy helps with pain relief and symptom management and can also help a child to develop their play and communication skills. The pool will help children to be as active as possible, both physically and emotionally.

The Kildare Trust, which was endowed by the late Phyllis Richards, a Worcester farmer who died in 2021 aged 100 years old, provides financial support to charities across Worcestershire.

Ian Smith, Chair of the Kildare Trust, said: “The trustees of Kildare were delighted to be in a position to fund the whole refurbishment of this vital facility at Acorns.

“We have supported the hospice for a number of years, but this is the biggest single project we have supported there.

“It was obvious from talking to the staff and parents how incredibly important the hydrotherapy treatment is to all of the users of Acorns.

“Most importantly, after several months of work, the children can benefit from the pool and expert staff support.”

Trevor Johnson, Chief Executive of Acorns at the opening with Catherine Atkins, and her children Jack, Oliver and Maisie.
Trevor Johnson, Chief Executive of Acorns at the opening with Catherine Atkins, and her children Jack, Oliver and Maisie.

Acorns provides specialist palliative care for children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions and support for their families.

Every year the charity cares for more than 700 children their families across the West Midlands and Gloucestershire, work which relies on donations and fundraising to continue.

Find out more about Acorns by visiting www.acorns.org.uk

The shelves were stacked, the signs were up and the lights were on as the biggest ever store for Acorns Children’s Hospice officially opened its doors.

The superstore, on Pershore High Street, will help to raise vital funds for the charity and its vital care for children with life limiting and life threatening conditions.

Gary Pettit, Director of Retail at Acorns, said: “This is a huge day for Acorns and for the first time ever we’re thrilled to open a fantastic new superstore, offering our complete range of items and more bargains than before all under one roof.”

The shop, which features pre-loved fashion, shoes, accessories, toys, books, homeware and furniture, held its official launch on Tuesday, 30 January with colleagues and volunteers.

Acorns has more than 40 shops on high streets across Birmingham and the West Midlands.

The new Acorns Children's Hospice superstore is officially opened on Pershore High Street
The new Acorns Children's Hospice superstore is officially opened on Pershore High Street
Inside the Acorns Pershore superstore
Inside the Acorns Pershore superstore

It’s our biggest shop yet

The Pershore store is open from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays. You can contact the shop on 01386 555 561 or to arrange a furniture collection email FurnitureSupportPershore@acorns.org.uk

Gary added: “This superstore is our biggest shop yet and will play an essential role in raising awareness of our charity and funds for the lifeline care and support we offer to local children and families.

“The easiest ways to support Acorns is to shop at our stores or donate your pre-loved items, or maybe you could give the gift of time and volunteer. By supporting your local Acorns shop you are helping us to be there for children and families when they need us the most.”

Acorns Children’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care for children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions and support for their families. In the past year, the charity has cared for more than 750 children across Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, and almost 1,000 families, including those who are bereaved.

Acorns needs around £30,000 each day to provide its children’s hospice care, with two thirds of that amount coming from generous donations and fundraising by the local community.

Find out how you can help Acorns be stronger together for local children and families by visiting www.acorns.org.uk/strongertogether

The logo of Acorns Children’s Hospice is taking pride of place on a host of smart new football shirts worn by AFC Wulfrunians ensuring they kick off their matches in style.

The club’s whole Academy section is sporting the new look tops in their games right until the end of the 2024 season to show support for the charity which provides lifeline care for children with life limiting and life threatening conditions.

The club is Acorns charity partner and has been raising awareness and vital funds with a host of activities. To date, they have raised nearly £4,000.

Claire Snape, Area Fundraising Manager at Acorns, said: “We’re thrilled to see our logo on the team kits and to have the support of our friends at AFC Wulfrunians. It’s amazing to see them proudly wearing the tops on the pitch and in their team photos.

“This really helps to raise an awareness with their fans and the community of how Acorns supports its families. With their help we are stronger together and every penny raised enables us to make every day count for the children and families who need us the most.”

The logo is featured on all home and away tops worn by the Academy teams, including under-8 players, right through to the under-18s. The club, based in Wolverhampton, is currently a member of the Midland League Premier Division and plays at the Prestige Midland Arena.

Danielle Cashmore, from AFC Wulfrunians, said: “We’re delighted to help raise awareness of the work that Acorns does by wearing its logo on our team shirts this season. Acorns is an amazing cause, and we are proud to be their charity partner.

“The work they do for children is incredible and by displaying their logo we can help spread the word and help even more local families who may need their help in difficult times.”

Sporting the Acorns logo on their new football shirts - AFC Wulfrunians

Acorns Children’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care for children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions and support for their families. In the past year, the charity has cared for more than 750 children across Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, and almost 1,000 families, including those who are bereaved.

Acorns needs around £30,000 each day to provide its children’s hospice care, with two thirds of that amount coming from generous donations and fundraising by the local community.

Find out how you can help Acorns be stronger together for local children and families by visiting www.acorns.org.uk/strongertogether