Jessie’s Fund on BBC TV with Maxine Peake

Jessie’s Fund can be seen on TV, in a BBC Lifeline Appeal which was broadcast in late October 2020. This is a great chance for you to see some of the amazing children and young people we work with. We’re delighted that our Patron, Maxine Peake, presented the ten minute programme. You can watch it here.

This is a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of how powerful music can be for children who have complex needs. We see music therapy in action and we witness a few minutes of an interactive music session in a special school, where so much learning can be accessed through music. We introduce you to some stars of the programme here.

Caleb, who you can see with his music therapist, Tina, in the banner at the top of this page, was born with a rare condition which affects his brain function, vision and mobility. He also has autism and very limited verbal communication. Caleb finds new environments challenging, so the family spend a lot of time at home. His mum, Michelle, finds that it can be hard to connect to Caleb, and she’ll to do anything she can to foster connection. When they discovered music therapy, Caleb just came to life. The fact that through the music they are able to connect without words is very special to the whole family.

Jessica was diagnosed with Leigh’s syndrome, a life-limiting neurological disorder, at five months old. Her parents, Vicky and Keith, were told that she might not live past her toddler years, so have devoted themselves providing the highest quality of life for their daughter. For the last nine months Jessica and her family have been receiving music therapy from Anouska, from the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service. It has taught Vicky how to communicate with Jessica, and hear what she needs. The music therapy sessions are the highlight of Jessica’s life, as they give her the opportunity of expressing herself.

James Rennie School caters for children between the ages of 3 and 19 who have severe and profound learning difficulties. Many have limited verbal communication and can exhibit challenging behaviours as a result of their communication frustrations. Jessie’s Fund started working with the staff and students in January 2019. Expert musicians Joe and Martha have trained staff from across the school in ways to use music to connect to, and communicate with, the children. Music is now used every day and underpins the teaching and connections between staff and students.