Available Car and their customers raise over £230,000 for Acorns Children’s Hospice 

Acorns Children’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care for babies, children and young people with life limiting and life-threatening conditions across the West Midlands, as well as support for their families.

The charity has been at the forefront in the battle against coronavirus, supporting some of the most vulnerable families in the community, as well as the emergency response of the NHS and social care system.

It costs £27,000 every day to run Acorns services providing care for children and support for their families. The charity relies heavily on donations to fund the majority of its activities. 

In the past year, Acorns has cared for over 700 children and supported 940 families, including those who are bereaved.

From left to right - Partnerships Fundraising Manager Libby Kaluna, Michael Bell, CEO Available Car Ltd, Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter and Acorns Ambassador and former service user Assya Shabir.

 

In 2014, Available Car expanded their business and opened their third used car supermarket in Cannock, West Midlands.  Acorns Children’s Hospice was personally selected by Graham and Alison Bell, founders of Available Car, as the charity to be supported by their new Store.  Available Car Cannock staff and their customers have been raising money for Acorns Children’s Hospice for the last 7 years.

Every time a customer purchases a car, they are asked if they would be willing to donate £5 to the charity, and Available Car also match their donation.  This equates to a £10 donation for every car sold at their Store in Cannock.

£5 allows Acorns to provide two meals for a family member from their hospice kitchens over one day and £10 could pay for art supplies for a session of specialist craft play.

Toby Porter, Acorns Chief Executive, said: “We are deeply grateful to Available Car and their customers for what can only be described as truly incredible support. To reach this milestone of over £230,000 raised is a remarkable achievement. To give a sense of the difference this makes, Available Car and their customers have now raised enough funds over the years to fund the running costs of a whole children’s hospice for an entire month!

It has been a year like no other for the children and families who use Acorns, many of whom have told us how isolated they have felt during this pandemic. We are doing everything we can to be there for the families who need us, and that has only been possible thanks to the dedication of our supporters, like Available Car, who have continued to fundraise despite unprecedented challenges.

On behalf of everyone at Acorns, I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the Available Car customers who made a donation and to Available Car for match-funding that generosity. They are a wonderful family-run company, with fantastic values, and we are privileged to partner with them.”

Available Car was established in 2001 by husband-and-wife team, Graham and Alison Bell. A family owned and operated used car retailer, Available Car now have four large used car supermarkets in the Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Graham and Alison had a vision from the very beginning, to raise as much money as possible for some very deserving, local children’s charities.

In 2019, Michael Bell, son of Graham and Alison, took the reins as CEO, with the same passion and vision to raise as much money as possible for these very deserving local children’s charities. Michael had been involved in the family business from the very young age of 16, and shares his parents’ passion for these fantastic children’s charities.

In addition to this, Michael and the Available Car Staff at Cannock have participated in various charity fundraising events, all of which has added to this incredible fundraising milestone.

From left to right - Acorns Chief Executive Toby Porter and Michael Bell, CEO Available Car Ltd.

Michael Bell, Available Car CEO said “As a family business, we all very much support the amazing work and care the wonderful people at Acorns Children’s Hospice provide to the children, and their families. We are incredibly proud to have raised enough money so far to cover the running costs of the hospice for an entire month. This is an incredible achievement, and we would like to thank our wonderful customers and dedicated staff for their continued support over the last 7 years.

I recently visited Acorns Children’s Hospice, and I was overwhelmed by the incredible work they do every day. The help and support they offer to children and their families in such challenging times is amazing. It is a truly special place.

Every single team member at Acorns is an absolute hero, working with such enthusiasm and passion for each and every child in their care.

During my visit, I also had the privilege of meeting Assya Shabir.  Acorns was once a lifeline to Assya and her family, and Assya is now an Ambassador for Acorns.

It is true, not all superheroes wear capes!

We look forward to continuing our support for many years to come, and reaching our next fundraising milestone for Acorns in the not-too-distant future”

 

Assya’s Story

Assya, now 34, was diagnosed with a rare skin condition at birth called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), which causes painful blisters all over her body. It means her skin and internal organs are so fragile that the slightest movement, scratch or injury can cause blisters to appear. Her family were given the heart-breaking prognosis that Assya’s life would be limited and that she wouldn’t survive infancy. But Assya has continued to defy the odds time and time again.

Assya’s family found a lifeline in Acorns Children’s Hospice, receiving vital care and support from the charity’s hospice in Birmingham. She is now an Ambassador for Acorns, helping to raise awareness of the charity’s work caring for children and families like hers. 

Despite her condition and fear of heights she completed a skydive for Acorns in 2017 and had the honour of meeting HRH the Duke of Cambridge during his visit to Acorns in Birmingham to mark the charity’s 30th birthday in 2018, giving the Duke a guided tour of the hospice which means so much to her and the children and families who need it.

For more information about Acorns, please visit www.acorns.org.uk