ACORNS Children’s Hospice has been handed a prestigious UNICEF award for its work to protect children’s rights.
The hospice, which supports sick children and their families across Solihull and the region, has been awarded the UNICEF UK Silver Award after having to alter plans due to the pandemic.
Bosses say it is the first hospice in the UK to receive the award.
The award recognises the charity’s commitment to ensuring the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child is at the heart of its culture, planning, policies and practice.
Emma Aspinall, director of care at Acorns, said: “Children and families have always been at the centre of everything we do at Acorns, so we are both thrilled and incredibly proud to become the first hospice in the UK to receive recognition from such an esteemed organisation at this level.
“It is our aim is for all Acorns care teams and care volunteers to understand the Convention for the Rights of the Child, and that Acorns services and responses to our young people is synonymous with these rights.
“We are excited to continue our Rights Respecting journey and already have a clear roadmap in place to help us to continue to build on our high-quality services and excellent practice and strive for Gold.”
Acorns began its partnership with UNICEF UK in 2019 and became the first non-school organisation to join its Rights Respecting Award programme, receiving the Bronze accolade in 2020.
Work to secure Silver was temporarily placed on hold during Covid-19 as the charity quickly adapted its services to support some of the most vulnerable children and families in the community impacted by the pandemic.
In their review, UNICEF assessors outlined how ‘empowering children to have a voice is central to the support that Acorns provides’, while at the same time staff are ‘sensitive to the needs and views of parents’.
It also recognised how ‘staff empower children to make choices about everyday life’ and how an organisational charter created jointly by hospice teams and children ‘clearly identifies how children and adults will respect’ key rights.
Acorns joins over 1,300 schools across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that have achieved Silver.