A local charity which provides care for terminally ill children within the home is in with the chance of winning a grant of £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s Project.
Jessie May, which supports families in Bristol, Bath, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire has been shortlisted for the fund which will go towards expanding support for the siblings of terminally ill children within their care, with respite breaks and bereavement support.
To win the grant the charity must achieve enough votes on a special video created by ITV to explain how the money will be spent.
The video, which can be viewed on the Big Lottery Fund website and the Jessie May website, is eligible for votes until Sunday 13th March.
Julian Withers, head of fundraising at Jessie May, said: “As a small local charity this is incredibly exciting news for us and if we win the money it will mean a huge deal to the Young Carers we help to support.
“These young people are not only loving brothers and sisters for their terminally ill siblings, they are also carers and so often their needs are overlooked as the family struggles with the complex demands of a child with life-limiting disabilities.
“We find that tea-time is a particularly stressful time for parents and siblings. Coming home from school, sorting out tea and homework as well as coping with the clinical needs of a child with a terminal illness can be a real pressure point.
“Our respite breaks, which often take place over tea time, can be a lifeline for families.
“Currently we have 99 children on our caseload and we help 122 young carers in the region. We recently expanded into Wiltshire and with the grant we would be able to double this number to 244 young people.
“The funds would allow us to provide our Jessie May nurses for respite visits giving siblings an opportunity to spend quality time with mum and dad, enjoying a treat like bowling or a trip to the cinema or perhaps just doing everyday things like shoe shopping.
“Mainly, it is about giving this young person the chance to do normal things for a while, knowing that their brother or sister is being cared for in the best way.
“Young Carers are often isolated and lead very different lives to their friends. From a very early age they often help with feeding, medication and general caring, without even thinking about it.
“Our sibling support means they can enjoy stress-free time with their parents, which is something many children take for granted. These children deserve a childhood as much as anyone.”
Since it was founded in 1994, Jessie May has cared for over 260 children within their own homes at a cost of around £1,000,000 a year.
Julian continued: “We need as many votes as possible by the closing date of 13th March so we’re urging our supporters and anyone this story might have touched to please help us by clicking to vote and sharing with friends.”
If you would like to vote and help Young Carers, visit the website at www.jessiemay.org.uk and click on The Big Lottery Fund link or visit the People’s Project website.