Everyone at Walsall FC has been deeply touched and concerned by the situation at Acorns Children’s Hospice who have made the very difficult decision to propose the closure of their hospice in Walsall due to lack of funding.
We pride ourselves on the close links we make in the local community – knowing the positive force sport can be in making a difference to the lives of local people. The same is true of Acorns, who make such a difference in Walsall for the children and their families who rely on them.
One such family is the family of Isabella Lyttle who sadly lost her eight year battle with neuroblastoma just a few weeks ago, aged just 11. Isabella was named one of three ‘Fans of the Season’ due to her inspirational story.
Isabella loved Acorns, and during her illness she visited the Acorns hospice in Walsall for short breaks. The family also have close links to Walsall FC. As well as winning the award, Isabella has been a matchday mascot here at the Banks’s Stadium.
Isabella’s dad Mark and the rest of her family have become campaigners over the past two weeks for the hospice in Walsall. It was staff and volunteers there that cared for Isabella up to her death, and continue to support the family now.
Today, Tuesday 18 June, Mark has travelled to the Houses of Parliament with Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter to a special meeting of MPs to discuss children’s palliative care.
Like children’s hospices across the country, Acorns is reliant on shops and donations to fund more than 63% of its care, with only a small percentage coming from the Government.
Mark and Toby will be adding their voice to national representatives from the children’s hospice movement and asking politicians to choose to instruct NHS England to deliver a better and fairer funding settlement for the country’s children’s hospices.
On behalf of all the fans, the players and the Board of Directors, Walsall FC wishes Mark and Toby the very best at the meeting, as they continue the fight for children’s hospices and the children and families from our local communities who rely on their care.
Regardless of the outcome, Walsall FC have pledged our support for Acorns. The charity will be one of a select number of charities we will work with during the 2019/20 campaign and we await the outcome of the meeting at Westminster with interest.
Toby Porter, Chief Executive at Acorns Children’s Hospice, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the many messages of support and solidarity from the local community since we made the announcement about the proposal for our Walsall hospice.
“The ongoing support of Walsall Football Club is something we are extremely grateful for as a charity, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of Walsall families.
“We simply would not be here as a charity without the support of our local communities and we are very pleased that the football club is involved with Acorns and for their expression of support for better funding for all children’s hospices nationally and locally.”