A West Midlands based charity which has been at the forefront in the battle against coronavirus has been shortlisted for a national award for its innovative emergency response to the pandemic.

Acorns Children’s Hospice, which provides care and support to life limited and life threatened children and their families, has been recognised in the Breakthrough of the Year category at this year’s Third Sector Awards.

The charity’s Covid-19 emergency response – designed to provide care to the most vulnerable families in the region caught up in the pandemic and included the unprecedented decision to temporarily close one of the charity’s three hospices and offer it to the NHS – has been shortlisted for the category which celebrates charities that have introduced new and different ways of working.

Toby Porter, Acorns Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Third Sector Awards and honoured to be recognised at national level for the important work we have done to support some of the community’s most vulnerable families throughout this crisis.

“Acorns was determined to step-up and these plans allowed us to continue to prioritise children’s hospice for the most vulnerable and support the wider response of the NHS and social care system. We are proud to have been able to continue providing our highly specialised care and support our partners in the NHS.”

In late-March in the early stages of lockdown, Acorns became one of the first children’s hospices in the country to launch its emergency plan in response to the pandemic.

Following the temporary closure of its hospice in Birmingham for the first time in its 30-year history, Acorns then redeployed its staff to its other two hospices in Walsall and Worcester.

The plan enabled Acorns to continue providing emergency and end of life hospice care to any family across the region who needed it, along with continuing emotional and practical support to 600 families shielding at home to protect vulnerable children from infection.

Toby added: “Despite previously unimaginable challenges, we have so far achieved much of what we set out to do. This is in no small part thanks the incredible staff across Acorns, who have shown flexibility, courage, and above all, commitment to do all they can to care for children and support families despite the threat posed by this new virus, during the most difficult working conditions of our lifetimes.”

It costs Acorns almost £11 million every year to continue – the bulk of which comes from donations and fundraising.

The winners of this year’s Third Sector Awards, which recognise the achievements of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, will be announced over a two-day virtual event in October.

For more information about Acorns, please visit www.acorns.org.uk