An outpouring of support, including a phenomenal one-off donation from a local family has helped an Acorns Children’s Hospice fundraising appeal reach an impressive £105,645.26 in just a few weeks.
The Room to Grow Appeal, launched by Acorns in February, aims to raise £750,000 towards significant improvements at Acorns in the Black Country, Walsall, and has seen the local community dig deep towards their local hospice.
Helping the charity reach its milestone were a local family who, after seeing the Appeal in the local news, decided to donate an incredible £50,000 towards Acorns in memory of their much-loved Dad, John Hicks.
John’s daughter, Alice Robinson from Hockley in Birmingham, said: “My dad was a very interesting man. He was very clever and very committed and really believed in the importance of people fulfilling their dreams, whatever their beginnings.
“As he became unwell about two years ago, he said to my mum that whatever was left in his business account – which had built up a fair amount of money in it – was to go to Acorns.
“My mum and I had been speaking about how and when we would get this money to Acorns and I saw the appeal in the news. I called my mum and said; ‘now’s the time to do it’. I made a phone call to Acorns the very next day.”
John Hicks, known as ‘Jack’ to his friends and family, sadly passed away in August 2020, aged 83. During a long and varied career as a playground safety inspector, later in life his work took him to Acorns in the Black Country where he would inspect the play facilities there. He became well-known to the staff there and familiar with the charity’s work.
Alice added: “Due to his career and due to being a lifelong educator, he was always very committed to young people, and increasingly, the importance of play and learning in a child’s life.
“Acorns was very close to his heart and he would be delighted to be able to help. He was very humble man and wouldn’t want to take any credit for the donation. But he was also a very kind, charitable man and it’s wonderful that people will be able to hear about his generosity and be inspired to give too.”
The Room to Grow Appeal aims to raise funds towards a number of significant upgrades at the hospice, something Acorns has been unable to do for many years due to financial constraints.
The improvements will include the ten children’s bedrooms where children stay for short breaks, emergency or end-of-life care, and a new purpose-built arts and crafts room.
Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter paid tribute to the local community and everyone who had got behind the appeal so far. He said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the support of the local community who have responded so brilliantly from the outset.
“I am so humbled by the support we’ve received and for the individual stories of local people who have helped us. The generosity of John Hicks and his family is just wonderful, and we are just so grateful for that support. Their story is a vivid example of how one individual becomes to understand first-hand the importance of our care and through their kind nature, strives to make a difference. It is something that can inspire us all.”
Acorns in the Black Country, which had been placed under threat of closure due to financial difficulties, was saved in April 2021 thanks to the actions and generosity of numerous individuals, businesses, celebrities, and sporting teams from across the local community.
During the pandemic, the hospice remained open every single day, providing the vital services local children and their families needed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Toby added: “Local families have access to the highest standards of love and care from our brilliant team at Acorns in the Black Country. Our number one aim through this appeal is to ensure that we have the highest standard of facilities to match. Everyone who donates, whether large or small will help us reach that goal.”
It cost Acorns £27,000 per day to provide its care and support, the bulk of which comes from fundraising and donations. To find out more about the Acorns Room to Grow Appeal and how you can get involved, please visit www.acorns.org.uk/roomtogrowappeal