Jessie’s Fund, UK


Jessie’s Fund helps children with additional and complex needs learn, express themselves and communicate through music. Initially a small charity, it’s grown to operate on a national scale. The charity goes into special schools and hospices to teach children musical skills.

Jessie’s Fund was founded by Lesley Schatzberger after the death of her nine-year-old daughter Jessica from a brain tumour in 1994. Jessica passed away before she could be flown to see a specialist and so with the £15,000 that had been raised, Schatzberger bought musical instruments for Martin House children’s hospice. Since then, Jessie’s Fund has installed musical instruments and set up music therapy posts in 36 of the UK’s 46 children’s hospices and over 100 special schools.

Winning the Guardian charity award has had a profound impact on the charity, says Schatzberger. “Jessie’s Fund was in its infancy, we had only been going for three years when we won the award.”

Despite having won the award more than a decade ago, it still has a positive impact on the charity. “Getting out to all the Guardian readers, it was really significant for us and had a big impact,” she says. “We still have supporters now who learned of us through that award.”