SIX months after she walked through the doors of the new Acorns, Bev Loader has visited the hospice twice with her five-year-old son, Josh.

Although she and Josh had been to Acorns in Selly Oak, the opening of the hospice so close to their Colwall home has had a huge impact on their lives.

"For the first time I've been able to leave Josh," says Bev, who cares for her son alone, though with a huge amount of support from her family.

"Because of the distance to and from Birmingham I never left Josh. The fits he has are so sudden and severe that he goes downhill rapidly - just last weekend he had one and stopped breathing.

"But when he's here in Worcester I know that he's only 20 minutes away."

For Josh, though, it's not all about location, location, location. "Josh loves it here and doesn't miss me at all," says Bev.

Pressed to name the best thing about having Acorns in Worcester, she finds it impossible. "Where do I start? Josh loves the multi-sensory room and the pool, and the staff all fight over who's going to look after him."

For Bev, Josh's visits to the hospice provide her with desperately needed respite. "It's made a real difference," she says. "It's really strange not to have my little man to look after, but it gives me the chance to recharge my batteries, making it easier to cope. And it's brilliant to have lie-ins with nothing to get up for!"