What are wishes and dreams?
There are a number of organisations in the UK that aim to provide positive experiences for children and young people living with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. These organisations each have their own criteria, so young people can apply to have their ‘wishes’ or ‘dreams’ become a reality.
What can I ask for?
Each charity has its own policies on what they are and are not able to provide as part of a wish or dream.
Some charities will provide funding to cover the cost of a child’s wish, or will contribute towards it. Many will organise the wish as a whole, allocating a member of staff to work with the child’s or young person’s family, or in some cases the young person themselves. This member of staff will then organise the wish on behalf of the charity, consulting the family and keeping them informed along the way.
Some charities will consider wishes that involve going abroad, but some won’t. Those that do will sometimes have a list of locations they will consider. Similarly, some organisations will consider applications for pieces of equipment such as wheelchairs or mobility aids, but some won’t. Most organisations will consider granting wishes for day trips, possessions (phones, computers, TVs), bedroom makeovers and celebrity ‘meet-and-greets’. Find out more about what each organisation can and cannot provide by visiting their websites or giving them a call.
Can I ask for more than one wish?
Most organisations operate a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ rule. This means that once a child or young person has received a wish or dream from one organisation, they will not be eligible for another, even from a different organisation. It is also generally agreed that an applicant should not submit more than one application at a time.
There are some charities which will consider applications from children who have already received a wish or dream. These are indicated in the organisation list below, but please note that these organisations reserve the right to change their policies at any time.
How do I apply?
Application processes will vary between organisations. You’ll normally need to complete a short form explaining the child’s condition and what they would like to ask for. Some charities will also ask for the form to be signed by the child’s consultant.
Family members can apply for a wish or dream on the child or young person’s behalf, or the applicant can apply by themselves. If the applicant is under 18, the parents or legal guardians will usually need to be involved in the process at some stage. For more information about the policies of each organisation, and to request an application form, please use the contact details below.
Starlight Children’s Foundation
227 Shepherds Bush Road
Tel: 0207 262 2881
Starlight arranges wishes for children (aged 4-18). Wishes can be anything from a special holiday, a longed-for meeting with an idol or a computer to play games on.
15 Chiltern Court
Tel: 01494 722733
Dreamflight is a UK charity set up by British Airways staff. It arranges trips to theme parks in Florida for children, aged 8 -14. Children are accompanied by a team of escorts, not by their families.
Make a Wish Foundation UK
329/331 London Road
Tel: 01276 405060
Make a Wish aims to grant the special wishes of children aged 3-18. Wishes can include special parties, meeting famous people or the provision of a special piece of equipment.
The Muscle Help Foundation
UK Campaign Headquarters
P O Box 155
Tel: 01763 274658
Muscle Dreams provides memorable experiences for children and young people with muscular dystrophy.
Ground Floor Edwin House
Boundary Industrial Estate
Tel: 01902 212451
Promise Dreams fulfils the dreams of children and young people aged 0-18. Dreams can include trips abroad, the chance to meet a celebrity as well as medical equipment, home adaptations or wheelchairs. Promise Dreams will consider applications from children who have already received a wish from another organisation.
Rays of Sunshine
1 Olympic Way
Tel: 0208 782 1171
Rays of Sunshine grants wishes for children aged 3-18. Wishes can include a meet-and-greet with a celebrity, a bedroom makeover or a day trip. Holidays abroad are sometimes awarded, but these are limited. Rays of Sunshine will consider applications from children who have already received a wish from another organisation.
When You Wish Upon a Star
Tel: 0115 979 1720
When You Wish Upon a Star helps children ages 2-16 fulfil their dreams, be it a visit to Lapland, a special day out or a trip to Disneyland.
The Willow Foundation
Welwyn Garden City
Tel: 01707 259777
The Willow Foundation arranges special days for young people and adults aged 16-40 years.
Please note that Muscular Dystrophy UK is not in a position to recommend any organisation, whether listed here or not. You must make your own investigations and satisfy yourself that you are happy with all aspects of the holiday or event and its safety.