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Acorn House cooks up £5k funding

Press release   •   Jun 23, 2014 16:52 BST

A ‘Home from Home’ which provides accommodation and support for families of children receiving treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital was today celebrating the news it has received a £5,000 funding boost.

Acorn House, part of The Sick Children’s Trust, has won a £5,000 award from Engage Mutual and will use the money to fund a new kitchen in the house for families caring for some of the UK’s most seriously ill children.

The house was in desperate need for funding as the kitchenwas in a poor state after years of continual use. Families use the facilities daily to take some time away from the hospital wards to have lunch or cook a proper dinner.  The funding from Engage Mutual ensured the overall target of £20,000 was achieved, meaning work on the new kitchen can finally commence.

Engage Mutual customer, Caroline Holloway, applied for the funding from the Mutual’s Foundation which has set aside £1m as an exclusive benefit for its customers to make their lives and communities better. Although only Engage Mutual customers can nominate a community project for funding from the Engage Foundation, the public are encouraged to show their support via an online vote, with winning projects decided by the highest number of votes.

Caroline, who is also a member of the Cambridge Fundraising Committee for The Sick Children’s Trust said, “Acorn House has been open for 14 years and in that time our 15 family bedrooms have almost been continually occupied. The house provides a sanctuary for families who spend the majority of their days up at the hospital by their children’s bedside. With Addenbrooke’s Hospital being a centre of research, teaching and pioneering treatment, we have families from all over the UK coming to Cambridge in need of accommodation close to their children. This is why the work that we do is vital as it not only solves a practical problem, but also ensures the support and well-being of the family which in turn helps them work through such a terrible time.

“The kitchen within Acorn House is not just a space to prepare food, but the heart of the house where families gather after emotionally exhausting days. They share food, stories and occasionally tears. It is this time that makes them realise that they are not alone and can offer support to one another in a way that is truly inspiring. By Engage Mutual offering us the final piece of the fundraising puzzle, we can now ensure that this space is up to the standard that these brave and wonderful families deserve.”

As a mutual organisation, Engage is owned by, and run for, its customers. The Engage Foundation was set up to provide customers like Caroline with personal grants and awards for community projects. Customers can apply to help what matters to them in their corner of the world (the communities in which they live). All customers need to do to be considered, is apply. The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.

Anna Drabble, Head of Community at Engage Mutual said “When we set up the Engage Foundation earlier on in the year we did so with one overriding objective: to enable customers to benefit from the financial success of their business. We think it’s great to be able to help a community project or a good cause that our customers feel passionate about. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the finished work funded by the £5,000 grant and wish everyone at Acorn House all the very best.”  

To find out more about the Engage Foundation please visit

The Sick Children’s Trust was founded in 1982 by two paediatric specialists Dr Jon Pritchard and Professor James Malpas. They believed that having parents on hand during hospital treatment benefited a child's recovery.

Today we have nine ‘Homes from Home’ at major hospitals around the country where families can stay free of charge, for as long as they need whilst their child is undergoing treatment. 

Every year we help around 3,500 families, but there is a growing demand for our ‘Homes from Home’ as children must increasingly travel long distances to get the specialist treatment they need. 

We are working to a future where every family with a seriously ill child in hospital will be able to stay together, just minutes from their child’s bed during their treatment.

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