The following letter was sent to the parents of students in Darwin House as a part of the House Week (W/B 27th November) and in relation to the House’s work with Acorns Hospice:

Dear Parents/Carers,

On Tuesday 14th November, four members of the Darwin House Council visited Acorns Children’s Hospice in Walsall. This visit was inspired as Darwin’s House charity is the Acorns Hospice. This supports children from 0-18 years of age that may have life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses. It’s a home for the children to either live temporarily or permanently in the hospice. It contains many equipment that is beneficial for those with life-limiting illnesses, including large baths that support the children when they are in the water, water beds that can be heated and family rooms equipped with kitchens and televisions and games’ rooms for older residents. The idea behind it is a home from home experience. The rooms not only provided support, but are also suited for the different personalities. All this, for the three hospices in the Black Country area, costs £10 million a year to run and only thirty percent of this is funded. The rest relies upon donations from the community.

Tanya Fellows, who is the Community Fundraising Officer for the Black Country and South Staffordshire, gave us a tour of the Walsall hospice and the different rooms. It was lovely to see that the children and their families could design their rooms as they wished, just like at home, and were very well looked after. They also brought in their own bed sheets so that it felt homely. The rooms were decorated as different age groups may wish and they were allowed to choose which room they had. Each room was equipped for their illnesses without being too obvious. The rooms weren’t isolated, and there were doors big enough to fit the beds through to outside in every room.

The hospice was a horse-shoe shaped building that looked out onto the large, green gardens. The gardens had amazing play areas, with instruments made from plumbing pipes which were big enough for the children to hold and if they couldn’t do this then they could wheel their wheel chairs around the complex. Tanya Fellows said, as we questioned her on the tour, “It’s a home from home atmosphere. There are tables big enough to fit all the residents round so it’s like a big family.” This was important to the hospice because there were lots of children with different needs and it was important to show that they are all the same inside.

We found it quite upsetting to realise that there are children out there that don’t live until adulthood. We think that the hospice is important for these children as they provide fun activities and try to achieve any wishes that the children and their families want to do. These children aren’t always able to live lives like your children do and this is why it is so important for us to the time to raise money for those children and their families who use the Acorns Hospice. The Acorns Hospice aims to raise money for the children’s equipment, healthcare and enjoyment and well as important support for their families and siblings. They do this through so many activities, both locally and nationally, and organise sponsored events like their Santa Run next weekend, cake sales and dressing up days. You can find more information about what the Acorns Children’s Hospice does by going to their website –

We, as Darwin House Captains, are trying to raise money and public awareness for the charity. Next week is Darwin’s House Focus week and we are organising many activities throughout this week in order to raise awareness of the charity and as much money as possible. We have organised the following things and we would very much appreciate your support:

  • Tanya is coming into our House assembly on Tuesday to talk to everyone about her work and the Hospice.
  • We have added an option on Parent Pay for you to make a donation towards the charity if you wish.
  • All students in Darwin House will be taking part in a Santa Mile sponsored event during tutorial next week.
  • A cake sale organised by our House sixth formers.

Finally, we are asking for any donations of unwanted, but good quality, clothes, books or toys. We will then organise these to be taken down to the Acorns Charity Shop in Lichfield.

All of this will help us to raise money for our charity and help us to work together as a community. Thank you all for reading our letter, and we hope you will support us in our donations.
Yours faithfully,

Tia Phillips – House Captain of Darwin (Year 11)
Evie Hulme – Vice Captain of Darwin (Year 8)

Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “A big part of our new House system is to give more and more students leadership opportunities and we are delighted that Darwin House Captains have chosen to speak to parents directly. We would encourage all Darwin parents – and any others – to support their work during their House Week and to give support to the wonderful work of Acorns Hospice.”