About us

Children with drumOur mission and aims

Jessie’s Fund was established as a registered charity in 1995 and helps children with serious illness, complex needs, and communication difficulties through the therapeutic use of music. Music can provide a powerful and profound way in which children can express themselves and connect with the world around them. Our work covers all areas of the UK. We aim to:

• enable children in every children’s hospice in the UK to access music therapy by establishing posts for music therapists, providing appropriate musical instruments, and offering musical training to staff;
• help children in special schools and hospitals to participate in creative musical activities;
• train staff in special schools to use music as a tool for communication and learning.


Jessie, aged 8, with violinOur story

Jessica May George was lively, bright and musical, and just nine years old when she was suddenly diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumour. Jessie’s Fund was established to meet the cost of treatment planned for her in the USA and was named by Jessie herself, but she died in May 1994, just five months after her diagnosis and before managing to travel to the States.

 

Jessie’s parents, musicians Lesley Schatzberger and Alan George, decided that Jessie’s Fund should become a charity dedicated to helping seriously ill and disabled children through music: it was registered as such in 1995. Based in York, Jessie’s Fund helps children all over the UK.


Boy in wheelchairWhat we’ve achieved

When Jessie’s Fund started in 1995…

• There were 8 children’s hospices in the UK, none of which had experienced music therapy
• There were no courses in using music for communication specifically with life-limited children
• There was no charity dedicated to children with complex needs through the creative and therapeutic use of music

 

Now…

• There are some 48 hospices for children and we have provided musical instruments for all
• 39 have established posts for music therapists with our help
• 446 members of care/staff teams from all over the UK have attended two-day training courses
• We have funded or part-funded over 7,000 music therapy sessions with children in the community
• Soundtracks, our nationwide creative music programme in schools for children with special needs, has now worked in around 100 schools.
• ‘Music Therapy in Children’s Hospices – Jessie’s Fund in Action’ is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers
• Just three years after our inception we were awarded the Guardian Jerwood Award for Community Achievement. We won the DSC Social Change Great Grant Giving Funders Award 2010. In 2012 we won a TalkTalk Digital Heroes Award.


The numbers story

Where our money comes from

In our financial year ending 31 March 2016 our fundraising efforts drew in £322,269.

• Voluntary income – grants, donations, Gift Aid tax refunds etc raised 64% of our income.
• Fundraising activities raised 30% of our income
• Investing our funds wisely raised 1%
• Income from charitable activities contributed 5%

Children playing percussion

And how we spent it

We spent £281,459.
• 89% was spent on our charitable activities – helping children through music
• Fundraising took 11% of costs

 

You can see our most recent Annual Report and Accounts by clicking here.

Annual Report cover image

 


Who’s who in Jessie’s Fund

Jan-Berger

Jan Berger, Chair of Trustees

Jan has been associated with the Fund since it was established and began by helping in the production and distribution of the Newsletter. His valuable experience in business has enabled him to inform our fundraising and investment policies.
Stephen-Burkeman

Steven Burkeman, Vice Chair of Trustees

Steven has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector, having worked as a chief executive, a board member, and a volunteer. He ran the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for nearly 20 years, and was for 6 years a board member of the Community Fund (now part of the Big Lottery Fund). He is currently a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, and the Rowntree Society.

Alan George

Alan George, Trustee

Alan, father of Jessie, is the viola player in the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, which originally became well known for its relationship with Shostakovich, whose last three quartets they premiered in the UK. He has held teaching posts at the University of York and the Royal Northern College of Music, as well as a residency at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by both Bucknell University (USA) and the University of York.
Hannah George

Hannah George, Trustee

Hannah is Lead Clinical Psychologist in a specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health service, working with deaf children, young people and families across the North of England. As the sister of Jessie, the fund is something very close to her heart. She has been involved since the outset, when she was just 12 (designing the first version of our logo!). She has been a proud trustee since 2004.
Andy Grace

Andy Grace, Trustee

Andy has worked in York as an Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon with a particular interest in voice since 1988. He was Clinical Director for Head and Neck Services for nine years; Regional Advisor for ENT Surgery to the Royal College of Surgeons, and President of York Medical Society in 2011 – 2012. He is passionate about the arts and their transformative effect in all aspects of life, and is keen to use his knowledge of the health sector to support Jessie’s Fund in its outstanding work with young people.
Rebecca Howard

Rebecca Howard, Trustee

Originally working as an historical researcher, Rebecca moved careers into the world of classical music, organising concerts and recitals. Having played the piano from the age of four, and now, sitting down with her own children at the keyboard, she says that she ‘can totally understand and applaud the tremendous work and achievements of Jessie’s Fund’.
Nancy-Maguire

Nancy Maguire, Trustee

Nancy studied at music college and subsequently worked for charities as a fundraiser and fundraising strategist for over 20 years. She is now a psychotherapist. She was privileged to be asked to become a trustee of Jessie’s Fund and hopes to be active in many ways, in particular using her expertise to support Jessie’s Fund in securing the financial support needed to implement its plans for the future.
Lindsey Woods

Lindsey Woods, Honorary Treasurer

Lindsey says ‘As a keen amateur flautist and York resident, I have long been an admirer of Jessie’s Fund. I have played music ever since I can remember and I understand the influence simply making music can have on someone’s wellbeing. To bring that opportunity to sick and disabled children is an inspiring thing.’ Lindsey is the manager of a legal membership association, which gives her much experience useful to her role as Treasurer for Jessie’s Fund.
Lesley Schatzberger

Lesley Schatzberger, Director

Lesley is a clarinettist, having been involved in a range of music-making – from working with Stockhausen in his chamber group to touring extensively with orchestras such as the English Baroque Soloists and the Academy of Ancient Music. She teaches at the University of York and the Royal Northern College of Music. Following the death of Jessie, her daughter, she increasingly turned her energies towards running Jessie’s Fund. In 2006 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York.
Britta Koerber

Britta Koerber, Director Of Soundtracks

Britta is a project manager and producer who has spent over a decade working with musicians on educational projects. She previously held the post of Schools and Early Years Manager at the renowned Sage Gateshead, working with children, teachers and parents to bring music into classrooms and homes, and she is delighted to be bringing her skills and experience to help further the marvellous work of Jessie’s Fund.
Karen Kadow

Karen Kadow, Administrator

Karen has supported Lesley in the office as the charity’s part-time Administrator since 2001. During that time, she has also qualified as a French-English translator, and worked privately as an English tutor. As a music-lover and mother of two children, she is keenly aware of the importance of the services Jessie’s Fund provides and is delighted to be able to contribute to its success.
Lisa Williams

Lisa Williams, Projects Assistant

Lisa previously held the post of Corporate Development Manager for the London Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that she had been Projects Co-ordinator for the Natal Philharmonic, and whilst in South Africa had also worked for Buskaid, which gives impoverished township children the opportunity to play classical music to a high standard. A pianist herself, she very much understands the power of music.