Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


As an insurance company Aviva helps families cope with loss in the event of the unexpected – possibly an accident in the car or a burst water pipe. Jessie May nurses help families from Bristol and surrounding areas cope with a very different kind of loss - the loss of a child and all the family’s aspirations for that child when they are told they will die before adulthood.

How the money would be spent? £25,000 would support a Jessie May Nurse for a whole year, enabling him/her to continue our work in the local community providing continuing support for our families.

The Difference this will make Jessie May families face a terribly difficult journey and have many difficult decisions to make throughout their child’s life. Some children may be expected to die within a few weeks of birth or may have a long term condition that causes them to degenerate over a number of years.

All of the children we care for have extremely complex medical needs and Jessie May Nurses make respite visits for as long as they are needed – providing parents with expert help to care for their children, emotional support to help them cope with their worries and fears and relief from the acute isolation that the families we help so often feel. A trusting relationship between family and Nurse develops which helps Jessie May Nurses to deal with all the demands of their children’s physical care, including their medication, and they are ready to respond quickly to changes in a child’s condition.

Jessie May Nurses also use all of their skills and experience to provide fun and stimulating activities that help to enrich children’s short lives. When the time comes, Jessie May Nurses will provide children or babies with intensive end of life care and go on supporting their families through their loss.

Our Nurses support the Jessie May community, helping alleviate the social isolation many of our families feel by organising social gatherings and fun days. Families come together to enjoy precious days and make memories, not only with their extended family but also alongside other Jessie May families that totally understand the problems that they are all facing on a daily basis.

All of our events are held within the local community and siblings, who act as young carers to their brother or sister are actively encouraged to enjoy themselves and let their hair down with their Mum and Dad, knowing that a Jessie May Nurse is providing the essential care their poorly sibling needs.

Facts and Figures Jessie May currently supports 129 children who are terminally-ill and living at home in Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and Swindon. These children have a variety of rare chromosomal, genetic,metabolic and neurological conditions. Most do not walk or talk and they all need intensive, long-term medical and physical care from their parents. Jessie May’s team of nurses provide regular support to each family for as long as they need it, giving parents a break and helping them come to terms with their inevitable loss. We are the only charity locally to provide this free hospice care within the home, with no planning or physical preparation needed by the family, and importantly at no cost to the family.

Established 21 years ago Jessie May is widely recognised as one of the most experienced organisations in terms of providing children's community palliative care. This year our service is being delivered to a record number of families, a testament to the quality of care we provides and our reputation. But for every child in our care there are hundreds more that are currently unsupported but who could qualify for support. We have recently extended our service into Wiltshire; a direct response to the lack of support that exists for terminally-ill children in the county.

Project Video

The Jessie May Trust

Moment of Pride

The real sense of reward, and a genuine job satisfaction I have experienced working with the charity Jessie May is immense. The passion and ambition of the charity is truly inspiring. The trust that these children and families place in the nurses is implicit.

Location: Kingswood Foundation