A message from The Acorns

Once it was understood that the “Phoenix 4” would not fulfil their promise of donating up to £50million to an employee trust fund for the ex-workers (yet took £42million in remuneration during their five year tenure) a decision had to be made as what to do with the money that was in the fund; the funds put aside for future administrative costs of distribution etc.. This sum stood at £23,532.10

Via the Justice for Rover Workers forums, it was unanimous among the ex workers that this money should be donated to a local charity. The trustees felt the overwhelming majority of those who put forward their thoughts on the matter would support the Acorns as the nominated charity. The Acorns also fitted with their ideology that the funds should be given to a charity local to the former Longbridge plant and supported a single donation to give maximum impact.

 

On the 31st January 2013, I along with the trust fund trustees visited the Acorns Children’s Hospice in Selly Oak (Birmingham) to meet the team and understand how important the donation was to them.

 

Understandably, when meeting the team at the Acorns it was clear they were delighted and very grateful to the ex-workers for their generosity. They took the time to prepare the following piece and would like it to be circulated among the ex workers:

 

The money donated by the Longbridge Trust will go toward the running of Acorns in Birmingham (Selly Oak). The hospice has helped hundreds of local families through extremely tough times since it first opened its doors in 1988. There are currently more than 250 children and over 350 families, including the bereaved, being provided care and support. 

 

David Strudley, chief executive of Acorns Children’s Hospice:

 

“The decision to donate the trust fund to Acorns Children’s Hospice is an extremely generous and hugely appreciated gesture.

 

“The £23,352 will go directly toward providing vital care and support to local life-limited and life-threatened children and their families, funding the equivalent of 31 days of care. Thank you very much on behalf of everyone at Acorns.”

 

Acorns Children’s Hospice is a regional charity that offers a round the clock network of care and support for children and young people with a life threatening or life limiting condition, which means they are unlikely to reach adulthood. The nursing care is highly specialised and tailored to each individual child’s needs, ensuring that their every medical, physical and emotional requirement is met.   

 

There are three purpose built hospices which deliver a home-from-home environment with a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Each hospice has ten bedrooms which are light and colourfully decorated. Special adolescent wings ensure privacy for older children and there are family flats on site so that families can stay close by to their loved ones.

 

The hospices offer day care, respite/short breaks and emergency short care breaks for medical and social needs. End of life care is also available and each hospice has special bedroom facilities where children can stay after their death and before their funeral.

 

Each hospice has a wide range of facilities including access to complimentary therapies, games rooms, soft-play rooms and activity areas, up-to-date IT equipment and beautiful landscaped gardens to play, relax or watch nature. A wide range of activities such as day trips, dressing up weekends, art and craft workshops and visits from magicians, petting zoos and theatres are also available to children and young people, ensuring a happy stay. 

 

The hospices’ specialised facilities include large hydrotherapy pools and multi sensory rooms. The warm pools are used for exercise, physiotherapy and relaxation, with special equipment ensuring that the children with even the most severe disabilities can use the pool, gaining an otherwise impossible freedom of movement and a chance to ease stiff muscles and joints. The multi sensory rooms stimulate all the senses through noise, light and touch, an experience much loved by children and families.

 

Each hospice has a highly experienced and dedicated care team consisting of nurses, care assistants and physiotherapists who deliver a tailored package of palliative care for each individual child.

 

The specialist nurses are experienced and trained in providing a high level of care for children with complex needs and are supported by a team of care assistants. Also at hand are a team of physiotherapists who help children with mobility and take sessions in the hydrotherapy pools.

 

The hospices have daily visits from local doctors and access to a paediatric palliative care consultant, a senior children’s doctor specialising in alleviating symptoms and pain control.

 

Volunteers support the work of the care team and greatly enhance the overall service of the hospices. There are over 100 volunteers in each hospice involved in a variety of tasks including housekeeping, reception, maintenance, gardening and supporting children and families at home via group work.

 

The charity provides an extensive support system for families, helping them to cope at every stage of their child’s life and beyond into bereavement. Each hospice has its own highly experienced and dedicated community team, who are on call to provide advice and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Acorns strives to deliver a highly personalised service and in this way each family has access to their own community worker who offers emotional, practical and bereavement support and also just a simple shoulder to lean on, or an ear to listen whenever it is needed.

 

Acorns also provides sibling support services, including a magazine group; support groups and creative workshops enabling siblings to express their feelings about the difficult circumstances they face.

 

There is no charge to families to use Acorns services but it does cost £8m plus a year to run all three hospices. Acorns relies heavily on voluntary donations, fundraising and community support to source the majority of its income to fund the provision of vital care and support services.

 

Out of every pound that is received, 88p goes directly towards providing vital care services for life limited children. The other 12p goes towards raising the next pound, so supporters can rest assured that every single penny they donate to Acorns truly impacts and benefits the lives of life limited and life threatened children and their families in the area, who desperately need support.

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