MOVING into a new home is always exciting, but taking possession of the keys is just the start of a lifetime's commitment to caring for your investment.

Six months ago, thanks to the extraordinary fund-raising efforts of people across the three counties, Acorns Children's Hospice was able to move into its new home, its fourth, in Worcester.

And the hard work is continuing with the cost of running the hospice becoming the focus for fund-raising.

The cost of a single hour's care for one life-limited child is £19 ... 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with just 9% provided by statutory funding.

The national average for children's hospices is just 5%.

That leaves children's hospices across the UK with the massive task of raising up to 95% of their running costs.

That they do, and on an ongoing basis, is down to the enormous generosity of the hundreds and thousands of their supporters, many of them in Hereford.

Next week, September 17-24, is Children's Hospice Week and one of the main themes this year is that children's hospices are places for living and making the most of life.

Walking into the new Acorns hospice, it is impossible not to recognise instantly that 'making the most of life' lies at the heart of all they do.

The building is spacious, flooded with light and every room opens on to the landscaped gardens with easy access to the outside space, even for those confined to bed.

There is no hint of the institutional at Acorns - the kitchen may be bigger to provide for such a big 'family' but the atmosphere is that of a domestic kitchen - a stimulating, welcoming and friendly environment. Since March this year, 50 families have used the hospice, many from Hereford, and referrals are increasing.

"Now that the hospice is open," says Cheryl Lee, Acorns' press and information officer, "we need people's support more than ever."