Major pool project to make a vital splash

A major project to completely transform a vital hydrotherapy pool and turn it into a magical multi-sensory facility for children with life limiting and life threatening conditions has officially begun.

The hydrotherapy pool at Acorns Children’s Hospice for the Three Counties, which received the royal seal of approval after it opened in 2005, is being given the six-figure upgrade to totally renovate the facility.

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

The improvements have been made possible thanks to a £205,297 grant from the Kildare Trust and will benefit around 230 children who receive care at the Bath Road hospice every year.

Becky Hughes, Matron at Acorns for the Three Counties, said: “This exciting project will completely transform what is such an important space for children and families. Hydrotherapy actively reduces pain and gives children at Acorns a sense of movement that they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy without the freedom that water allows.

Work begins on the new pool
Workers on site as the new pool is created

An incredible project

“Our hydrotherapy pool is so well loved and used by families who rely on our lifeline care and support. Not only does it enable us to provide vital hydrotherapy sessions but also allows us to offer family splashes, giving them precious time together to provide magical memories which wouldn’t be possible for a child with complex care needs in a public pool.

“The incredible project would not be possible without the generous support of the Kildare Trust. Words can’t explain how grateful we are. The impact will be felt for years to come, and will touch the lives of hundreds of families.”

Hydrotherapy not only helps with pain relief and symptom management but can also help a child to develop their play and communication skills.

The pool helps children to be as active as possible, both physically and emotionally, and helps to create happy memories for them and their families.

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 and has funded the entire project.

Ian Smith, Chair of the Kildare Trust, said: “The Kildare Trust has supported the wonderful work Acorns hospice in Worcester does for a number of years. When we heard that the swimming pool was desperately in need of a major refurbishment, we wanted to help.

“On a visit to see the pool and hear about the exciting plans, we were introduced to a foster mother who explained what a massive positive impact the pool and the staff who provide the therapy has on her severely disabled son. We are delighted to have been able to fund the entire project.”

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 730 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 grants from charities like the Kildare Trust.

Find out how you can help Acorns be stronger together for local children and families by visiting our Stronger Together campaign.