York charity Jessie's Fund wins national recognition and £2,000 boost

: Lesley Schatzberger, from left, founder of Jessie’s Fund, is presented with the National Nominee trophy by Karen McCormick, group HR director at Care UK

: Lesley Schatzberger, from left, founder of Jessie’s Fund, is presented with the National Nominee trophy by Karen McCormick, group HR director at Care UK

Updated in News

A CHARITY set up in memory of a musical little York girl who died of a brain tumour has received national recognition and a £2,000 boost.

Jessie’s Fund, which helps seriously ill and disabled children through the creative and therapeutic use of music, came second in a poll for the title National Charity of the Year.

The vote was organised by the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation, a charity recently set up by health and social care provider Care UK to promote health and wellbeing among the most vulnerable in society.

It conducted a nationwide search for a cause which reflected the theme of the foundation, which for 2014-15 is promoting wellbeing through the arts.

Although Jessie’s Fund didn't win, organisers said there was clearly huge support and admiration for the great work it did, and so it had decided to donate £2,000.

Belinda Moore, group marketing and communications manager, said: “Jessie’s Fund does a fantastic job of promoting wellbeing through the arts, and is therefore a shining example of what we at the Care UK Wellbeing Foundation are trying to achieve."

The fund was originally set up to pay for complementary treatment in America for nine-year-old Jessica George after she became ill and was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumour.

She died in May 1994, before the treatment could be undertaken, but her parents, musicians Lesley Schatzberger and Alan George, decided the fund should become a charity dedicated to helping seriously ill and disabled children through the creative and therapeutic use of music.

It now works with children in hospices nationwide, providing a wide range of musical instruments and giving the children access to creative music-making and music therapy. It also works in schools for children with special needs, hospitals, and other centres for children with special needs.

Lesley said: "It was great to have the opportunity to talk to representatives of the foundation, and let them know about how Jessie's Fund uses music to improve the quality of children’s lives - sometimes even transform their lives.

"We’re very grateful for this donation of £2,000, which will fund music therapy sessions for children with life-limiting illnesses.”

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