Acorns is the first children’s hospice in the UK to be awarded the UNICEF Gold Award.

We are proud to be the first children’s hospice in the UK to be awarded the Gold Rights Respecting Award by UNICEF.

Children and families have always been at the heart of everything we do at Acorns. As Duty Bearers for children’s rights, our dedicated teams are passionate advocates for ensuring the children and young people who use our services have access to these rights.

We are committed to providing choice and creating safe spaces and opportunities for children and young people to be heard and to feel valued.

A young boy laughing and playing with an Acorns nurse by his side.

Acorns commenced a partnership with UNICEF in 2019, becoming the first children’s hospice across the UK to be awarded the Bronze Rights Respecting Award, followed by a Silver Award in 2021.

The awards are given in acknowledgement of an organisation’s commitment to ensuring the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child is embedded into the culture, planning, policies and practice within an organisation.

The Convention has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights.

Rights of the Child case study

Meet Jess Powell, our Sibling Team Worker and one of Acorns Rights Bearers, who works to ensure all children at Acorns know and understand their rights.

Every child has rights

Every child has rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status.

Our Gold Award recognises that we have have fully embedded the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into our ethos.

We are proud to have UNICEF Champions at each of our hospice sites, delivering a range of activities to engage and educate children and young people on children’s rights, with both service users and their siblings aware of their rights and empowered to have a voice.

We have also developed a Declaration of Intent with Acorns teams highlighting our commitment to the CRC, with care colleagues thoroughly understanding child rights and fully adopting rights respecting attitudes. Child rights and Convention articles clearly displayed throughout our hospices to further demonstrate our commitment.

Our aim is to continue our Rights Respecting journey to maintain this high standard and do all we can to further our work to promote choice and opportunities for all children and young people to be heard, make choices and thrive.

UNICEF convention on the rights of a child poster

UNICEF remarks

In their review, UNICEF assessors remarked how it was ‘evident that children’s rights are embedded across Acorns hospices and underpin every facet of hospice life’.

The report outlined how the charity’s strategic approach to embed the rights has resulted in ‘staff who are passionate advocates for ensuring children have access to their rights’.

It also recognised how the rights of their child and convention articles are a ‘common language used across the hospices’, with Acorns creating a ‘strong culture of inclusivity where the values of dignity and respect are key to the hospice experience’.

Assessors praised Acorns ‘strong focus on health and wellbeing within the context of rights so that services users and their parents or carers feel supported’.

They also commended how ‘children’s voices are valued highly and are proactively sought’, with the focus on children’s rights ‘enhancing ways they can put their suggestions forward and for these to be acted upon’.

UNICEF logo

You can read our poster and leaflet detailing how we are a ‘Rights Respecting Hospice’.

Click here to read more about the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child and the 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life.