Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Make-A-Wish

In a world where there seems to be so much conflict, and polarised views on the way society should work, there is a common humanity in all of us that seeks to help a child in distress. It is this common purpose that provides the cornerstone for creating the type of Make-A-Wish we need to be. The child - all children - deserve nothing less.

We exist to grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses. In recent years, we have learnt a huge amount about the emotional wellbeing that a wish brings to a child and their family. Wishes are also a source of happiness, confidence and resilience for a child and their family. They make a difference.

That is why it is so important that every child has equal access to a wish. Together for Short Lives recently co-commissioned a piece of research by the University of York that looked at the current and future prevalence of children and young people with life-limiting conditions in the UK. The study ‘Making Every Child Count’, found that the prevalence of life limiting conditions amongst children aged between 0-19 increased from 26.7 per 10,000 in 2001/2 to 63.2 per 10,000 in 2017/18. This is, in part at least, driven by the good news that children survive with conditions that could previously have proved to be fatal in their formative years.

The study also found that prevalence varied significantly across different communities. For instance, just over 100 children in every 10,000 children of Pakistani origin have a life limiting condition compared to 63 black children, 48 white children and 32 children of Chinese heritage. It also showed that children living in areas of deprivation are far more likely to have a life limiting condition.

This study has huge implications for us. As children’s survival rates improve, there is a growing need for what we do. The vast differences in prevalence for children in different communities presents us with a challenge to ensure that every child has equal access to a wish. A child’s ethnicity, gender, disability or economic circumstances should not present a barrier to their wish being granted. Unless we strengthen our ability to reach these children, there is a risk that this is exactly what will happen.

We need to fully reflect the communities we seek to serve. This is the right thing to do and it is essential to our mission.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will be taking practical steps towards providing equal access to a wish for all children.

We have a long way to go but our plans and actions will include:

  • Our employees and volunteers need to be more representative of BAME & disabled communities
  • We need to strengthen our ability to reach children in areas of deprivation
  • We will look at the way we recruit, develop and equip all our employees and volunteers
  • We will seek help, advice and expertise along the way
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion will form a key part of the way in which we refresh our organisational strategy and develop our organisation.

There will be much more to come on this as we continue to explore the role of equality, diversity and inclusion in all that we do.

Jason Suckley
CEO, Make-A-Wish UK

Additional resources

Make every child count - full report

Read the report, co-commissioned by Together for Short Lives and the University of York, as referenced in the above statement.

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Institute of Fundraising ChangeCollective strategy

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the fundraising sector, fully endorsed and adopted by the Institute of Fundraising.

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Diversity & equality in business

The Guardian website has a section dedicated to discussions and articles around the issue of diversity and equality in business.

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