Research Shows 63,000 eligible for Wishes

Posted on 29th Apr 2021

The number of children in the UK who are eligible for a wish has doubled in the last 15 years, and it's increasing, according to research commissioned by Make-A-Wish UK and released to mark World Wish Day on 29th April.

Right now, there are 63,296 children and young people in the UK who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening or life-limiting condition.

In England alone, that number could rise from 53,472 in 2018/19 to as many as 73,273 by 2030.

The research, by a team based primarily at the University of York, also showed that these critical conditions are more prevalent in children aged three to seven; in Pakistani communities; in areas of high deprivation; in the North of England and are 10% more common in boys. The most prevalent of those conditions is neurological, following by respiratory.

To meet this increased need, alongside the backlog of wishes waiting due to Covid-19 restrictions, Make-A-Wish is asking the public to help them create hope for these children by donating this World Wish Day, and beyond.

The charity is also adapting its working model to enable communities of volunteers to help grant wishes in their local area, or within their networks. Make-A-Wish has created an online Wish Map so that anyone can see where there’s a wish waiting near them and help to grant it where possible.

Celebrity supporters Stephen Mulhern, Mo Gilligan, Saffron Barker, Bear Grylls, Hannah Cockroft and Millie Bright are backing the campaign, and have talked to wish children to find out more about the impact of illness, and the hope that wishes create.

In one of those recorded online meets, Stephen Mulhern performed a magic trick – turning a £5 note into £50 - and was given a Catchphrase clue to decipher by wish child Griff Crowther, 12, from North Wales.

29th April every year marks the anniversary of the day the first wish in the world was granted.

A wish creates hope because, in the words of Leeds student Jakob, who is waiting for his wish to have a bespoke guitar to be granted: “Hearing that I could have a wish was just the best feeling in the world... Knowing that someone acknowledged my pain; someone saw my pain; someone heard about my pain, and they were willing to help me out and make me feel good about my life was just the best.”

To help create hope this World Wish Day, donate it, activate it or bake it by visiting and follow the charity on social media @makeawishuk

Media contact

Simon Henry
Make-A-Wish UK Communications
[email protected]
07786 650922
Make-A-Wish UK, 7th Floor, Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading, RG1 1LX

For images or video footage to support this story, please contact [email protected]

About Make-A-Wish UK

Every day, the lives of 10 families in the UK are changed forever when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness. From that moment, childhood takes a backseat to medical appointments and worry. A wish helps to restore that childhood and puts worry on the backseat. It provides an opportunity to choose something positive to look forward to and the chance to be a child first and a patient second.

Make-A-Wish UK is a registered charity that was established in the UK in 1986 to support children and young people diagnosed with a serious illness or life-limiting condition, by granting them their dearest wish. The charity receives no Government funding - registered charity numbers: 295672 in England and Wales, SC037479 in Scotland.

Notes to editors

We do not use the phrase ‘terminally ill’ and ask that you follow suit because some poorly children and young people are not made aware of the exact nature of their diagnosis and we respect their family’s approach to their situation. Some also recover fully from their illness.

Please refer to us as Make-A-Wish® UK in the first instance to distinguish us from affiliates in other countries. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ is suitable.

Please hyperlink to our website ( when you mention Make-A-Wish online.

You can also find us on social media @makeawishuk