A July update from our CEO, Jason Suckley

Make-A-Wish UK Chief Executive, Jason Suckley

I’m an optimist. Always have been. I have previously thought England was going to win a major football tournament about a dozen times in my life. However, this time was going to be different. It so nearly was! Oh well, there's always the World Cup in 2022.

As an optimist, I am thinking that our lives will gradually return to some form of normality over the next few months. Some things will have changed for ever, of course, and Covid will be with us for the long term. However, experiences and freedoms that we previously took for granted like a family party, attending a sports or music event, even the chance to travel abroad, are slowly becoming possible again.

We recently refreshed our values. They are: Be Magical. Be Inclusive. Be Inspiring. In the world of Make-A-Wish, a child’s imagination is the source of the magic. The creative force that drives everything we do. This has never been more evident than over the past 16 months. Hundreds of children have created a wish that they can experience even as their lives became ever more restricted. One of those children was Tommy who wished to have a gaming party. His mum told us:

"The walls got smaller in the hospital, but gaming expanded them again. It was a complete escape for him; it was not numbing him but filling him."

Tommy died three weeks after his wish was granted. His wish gave him the chance to live out his imagination during the time he had left, leaving his family with positive memories of his wish amongst all the heartbreak of losing him.It's children like Tommy, and their loved ones, who inspire us every day.  

As restrictions continue to unwind, it’s uplifting to see that the number of wishes we can safely grant is gradually increasing. Since the start of Covid we have worked within our national government guidelines and sought to inform parental choice as much as possible. As travel wishes gradually become possible again, we will continue to work to these principles and will not be placing any restrictions of our own over and above what the UK Government deems to be safe. We don’t serve a purpose unless we are granting wishes and we will continue to work with children and their families to adapt to their circumstances and the world around us.

Right now, there are 63,000 children in the UK eligible for a wish. All these children face challenges that you and I can only imagine. Tragically, most of them won’t be granted a wish. This must change. Our vision is to grant the wish of every eligible child. Our strategy seeks to achieve this vision through a combination of sustainable income growth and the establishment of a community-led model across all that we do.

We will empower and equip volunteers and partners to grant wishes, fundraise, reach into more diverse communities, and provide equal access to a wish for every child. We already work alongside some incredible volunteers and have invested in technology that will shortly enable them to do more of what has historically been done by employees. Over the next 12 months we will be seeking to recruit many more volunteers from across the communities we seek to serve. The optimist in me can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

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