THE long-awaited hospice which will provide care and support for life-limited Herefordshire children is here.

After six years of planning and building, Acorns welcomed the first children and families to the purpose-built unit in Bath Road, Worcester, on Tuesday.

The state-of-the-art facility will provide specialist care for more than 250 children and their families from not only Herefordshire, but Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire.

It cost £4 million to build - money raised by the tireless fund-raising efforts of Herefordshire people and further afield.

John Overton, chief executive of Acorns, said: "It's an indescribable moment and it is so wonderful seeing it all come together.

"The fact that we are open is a huge tribute to all our fantastic fund-raisers and the groundswell of support we have had from so many people, communities and businesses.

"This facility is outstanding and will undoubtedly be used as a model by the children's hospice movement worldwide.

"It is something we and the community should be really proud of and means so much to the many families, who up to now, have been struggling to cope with a life-limited child without the special care and support that a children's hospice can provide.

"On behalf of all Acorns families, thank you for helping us get us this far."

Fund-raising for Acorns is, by no means, over. With less than 10% of funding coming from statutory sources and running costs of £4,000 a day, the charity is urging people to continue to support Acorns and make donations.

Anyone who wants to make a donation can contact the hospice on 01386 554848 or visit