Northants music therapy charity appeals for more support

Posted 26th September 2023

The number of young people with life limiting conditions in the East Midlands is expected to increase from over 6,500 in 2023, to over 9,000 by 2030, and more young people with life-limiting conditions are living to the age of 19 years.

In Northamptonshire, it is estimated that there are currently around 1,300 young people aged 0 – 24 living with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

This is why a Northamptonshire charity, providing music therapy (at home/hospital) to young people with life-limiting illnesses, is appealing for more support as they approach their 16th anniversary on 23 September 2023. The much-loved local charity, which receives no direct statutory funding, needs more financial help to cover core costs for it to be sustainable and meet the current need, let alone an increase in demand for its service.

Thomas’s Fund works with young people with a range of illnesses and/or disabilities, including some with cancer, and the charity’s new appeal for support falls during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Florence Bark, aged 7, from Corby in Northamptonshire, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2022 and has been receiving music therapy from Thomas’s Fund since June 2023.

Florence said: “I love Thomas’s Fund music therapy because it’s something for me to look forward to on a Monday morning when my little brother, Freddie, goes to school. It’s also brilliant that Esther my music therapist comes to my house, full of smiles, because I’m not well enough to go to school at the moment and she’s teaching me to play the guitar which I love.”

Stacey, Florence’s mum added: “The music therapy makes such a difference to Florence’s day and gives her something to look forward to and is an amazing outlet for her. The sessions help Florence to actually open up about her feelings regularly and just let the music take over.”

Thomas’s Fund provides its music therapy free of charge to families, but it costs the charity about £75, plus petrol, to provide each session. Last year the charity worked with 252 individuals, providing 624 individual and 123 group sessions. Although the charity is celebrating this amazing achievement, their core costs are constantly increasing which calls into question whether the charity can continue to operate long term.

Jan Hall said: “It’s vital that organisations like Thomas’s Fund can continue to provide services and thrive as the demand increases. We’ve got a strong track-record improving the lives of young people living with life-limiting conditions throughout Northamptonshire and can continue to do so with the right financial support.

When we set up the charity in 2007, we hoped that more access to Music Therapy, for children like Florence, would become available through other organisations and projects in the years to come.

Sadly, we are now 16 years on and, whilst there is slightly more availability, the need still far outstrips provision.”

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