AN expansion of Acorns Children’s Hospice will “make a real difference” to the seriously ill youngsters.

Work on an 18-week project to expand the Bath Road hospice is now under way.

It will see the addition of a single-storey extension to the main hospice building featuring two therapy rooms, a dedicated storage room and a garden room.

Trendgrey Construction Ltd has been appointed the contractor for the £290,000 extension. The Department of Health has given the charity £190,000 for the project while the new garden room has been funded entirely by money raised by the public at the Free Radio – Walk For Kids events in Worcester in July.

The remaining money required to complete construction and fit out the rooms will be met with fund-raising by the children’s charity.

Susan Hayward, head of care services at Acorns for the Three Counties, said: “The new extension to the main building will make a real difference to everyone who makes use of facilities at the hospice, from our children and families, to staff and volunteers.

“The garden room, which has been made possible entirely due to the Walk for Kids events, will provide much needed extra space for social activities and meetings, whilst overlooking our beautiful gardens.

“The two therapy rooms will allow us to offer a greater range of services to our families, including one to one counselling and group work for parents and siblings, as well as complementary therapies for children including massage and aromatherapy. And due to the wide-ranging and often complex needs of our children, we need to have a lot of varying specialist medical equipment on site.”

Acorns is entering the first year of its ambitious five year growth strategy which aims to help to provide palliative care and support to the 2,000-plus estimated life-limited and life-threatened children in the region. The five-year strategy aims to increase the numbers that may use their services by 50 per cent to 960 and 1,290 respectively by 2018.

It will mean an overall increase in annual care costs of about £4.2 million by the end of the five-year plan period and will require an increase in overall income of almost 50 per cent by 2018 to meet costs.