A grant of £73,852 has been awarded to a Northamptonshire charity that provides music therapy for seriously ill children by BBC Children in Need.
Thomas’s Fund was founded in 2007 following the death of Lucy Smith’s son, Thomas, in 2004 from a neuro-degenerative disease. Since then it has helped children and their families across the county.
Esther Mitchell, lead music therapist from Thomas’s Fund, said: ““This grant gives the charity great stability and will fund two days of music therapy per week for three years.
“It supports vital work with children and young people with life-limiting conditions who are too ill to attend school. They often feel very isolated and too unwell to travel, so Thomas’s Fund’s music therapists work in homes and the children’s wards at Northampton General Hospital.”
Lucy added: “Thomas’s love of music was evident during his sessions at Fairfields Special School. You could see the enjoyment and control he gained from them. Sadly, when Thomas was too ill to attend school, music therapy was not available to him.
“After he died, his school music therapist, Jan Hall, approached me and the seeds for the charity were sown.”
Since 2007 Thomas’s Fund has grown tremendously due to the demand for its service. Its team of three Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered music therapists provides four days of therapy a week.
“Over the past year alone, the team has carried out 502 sessions and travelled over 7,300 miles to reach individuals who otherwise would not be able to get to music therapy,” says Esther.
Music therapy provides a safe, therapeutic space where individuals can have a non-verbal outlet for self-expression. They can explore specific issues, such as end of life, or can work towards musical aims including the development of communication, social or physical skills. The team accept referrals from parents/carers, health and education professionals and can be contacted at www.thomassfund.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melinda Connelly, BBC Children in Need central regional manager, said: “We are delighted to award further funding to Northamptonshire to support projects like Thomas’s Fund.
“These grants are only made possible thanks to the incredible support we get from fundraisers each year. Organisations working with children and young people in Northamptonshire who would like to apply for funding in future rounds should visit the grants section on our website to find out more about our grant programmes.”