Despite the gloomy economy, the Harrogate and Ilkley-based charity, Acorn, continues its success by raising £74,000 in its 11th year. Acorn raises money to support people with dementia and their carers in the Ripon and Harrogate area and research into scleroderma disease at Leeds General Infirmary. The Acorn Committee was founded in 1999 by Louise Hanen whose father, Luc, had been diagnosed with early onset (working age) dementia in his early 50s. The Acorn charity divides its funds equally between helping people with dementia locally, and research into scleroderma, a disease which attacks mainly women in their mid-years for which there is currently no cure. The Rheumatology Department at Leeds General Infirmary is a world centre for excellence for the treatment of scleroderma and is led by Professor Paul Emery and his team.
The Acorn Committee has now raised over £694,000 from a whole range of fundraising activities from balls to bike rides, golf and tennis tournaments, sponsored walks, bridge days, cookery demonstrations, fairs and many more activities. This year’s Acorn Sponsored 100k Bike Ride in May raised over £28,000 with a record 540 cyclists taking part. The Bollywood Ball which took place at Harrogate Ladies’ College last November raised over £47,500 – the largest sum ever raised by Acorn at a ball. Other new events this year have included a cookery demonstration at Fodder by renowned Yorkshire chef, Stephanie Moon who was recently featured in BBC’s Great British Menu. More recently, the annual Acorn Tennis Tournament moved to Ripon Tennis Centre this year where forty keen players competed for the Jim Jackson Trophy raising £900.
Acorn’s contribution to the care of people with dementia includes kickstarting a programme for younger (working age) people with dementia in Harrogate, providing the initial funds for the development of a befriending service and giving support and running activities for people with dementia, helping them to live at home for longer. Amongst the many projects funded by Acorn, the Monday singing group held at Christ Church in Harrogate has proved extremely popular and continues to increase in numbers. Two Acorn-funded respite holidays for people with dementia and their carers also took place this year for the first time.
The money raised by Acorn has also helped to buy equipment and fund a research fellow at Leeds General Infirmary, and the Department of Rheumatology at Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds includes an Acorn Room where patients are advised on their treatment.
Earlier this year, Louise Hanen, chairman of Acorn, was honoured in the Strayfm Local Hero Awards and received, not only the Charity Fundraiser of the Year award, but also the Ultimate Hero award.
Louise Hanen says, ‘I continue to be amazed by the generosity of our supporters, many of whom have been involved with Acorn from the start. Since our year end, we have had the annual Acorn 100k Sponsored Bike Ride and the Tennis Tournament so we have had an excellent start to our new year of fundraising.’
The next Acorn event is the annual Golf Day at Alwoodley Golf Club on Friday 9th September which is sold out but there are some sponsorship opportunities still available. For more information about this and other Acorn events, please contact Louise Hanen on 01423 734876 or go to www.acorncharity.org.uk.