Muscle Help Foundation charity thrilled to announce £45,000 award by BBC Children in Need

Posted on February 28th, 2024

The Muscle Help Foundation charity based in Hampshire has been awarded a grant of £45,000 over three years by BBC Children in Need. This grant will help fund further support and activities to children and young people (8-18yrs) across the UK with Muscular Dystrophy.

MHF’s CEO Michael McGrath MBE said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled! This funding will help make a difference to our vulnerable beneficiaries with muscular dystrophy that face disadvantage. It’s our hope that through several bespoke programmes, wellbeing will be improved.

As part of our continued work and impact, the funding given to us by BBC Children in Need not only gives crucial confidence and a level of stability but also much-needed flexibility. Without it, we would not be able to support those for whom the charity exists to serve.

With the cost-of-living crisis, economic uncertainty, and an increasingly unsettled world, it’s exactly this kind of support that so many charities desperately need to push on in making a difference to those vulnerable groups they help. We’re looking forward to working closely with BBC Children in Need over the next three years. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!”


Pam Bacon, Regional Impact Officer, South East at BBC Children in Need, said:

“We’re thrilled to provide new funding to The Muscle Help Foundation. Funds donated by the British public allow BBC Children in Need to support children and young people facing a range of challenges. Funding will deliver a space where young people can take part in activities and build positive relationships with their peers

Muscle-wasting conditions, such as muscular dystrophy (MD), are individually rare, but together they touch the lives of significant numbers of people in the UK. Until recently, it was unclear just how many people were affected. Back in 2022, research funded by our friends at Muscular Dystrophy UK revealed that there may be far more people living with muscle-wasting conditions than previously thought.

110,000 affected across the UK

Dr Iain Carey and his team at St George’s University (London) reviewed millions of healthcare records from GPs across the UK and estimated that there were around 110,000 people affected by a muscle-wasting condition in 2019. That’s an extra 40,000 people compared with the earlier estimate of 70,000 that was referenced by for example clinicians and other MD charities.

Profound and lifelong impact

Muscle-wasting conditions such as muscular dystrophy (MD) can have a profound and lifelong impact on the health and quality of life of those affected. There is an ongoing urgent need to ensure that sufficient healthcare resources are available to meet the complex needs of this growing population.

Muscular Dystrophy is a rare disease

Of the conditions included in this study, muscular dystrophy was the third most common and it was estimated that there may now be almost 20,000 people affected in the UK. It may be officially classed as a rare disease, but muscular dystrophy touches the lives of a lot of families – it is a genetic condition that causes mutations in muscle fibres that progressively weaken the muscles.

Rare diseases are often overlooked and underfunded, yet this study has revealed that muscle-wasting conditions collectively may actually be as common as better known conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease.

No cure for Muscular Dystrophy

Over time, decreasing muscle function results in increasing levels of disability. Some MD variants will eventually affect the ability to swallow, as well as weakening the heart and respiratory muscles. There is no cure for MD. There are various treatments depending on condition type and severity.

Most severe variant (DMD) is life-limiting

The vast majority (>96%) of the charity’s beneficiary community is made up of children (boys) and young male adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), the most severe variant. It is life-limiting. DMD affects approximately 1 in 3,500 new-born boys. On average, those aged 10-13yrs will transition into a manual wheelchair. By the time they reach 17-19yrs, breathing, cardio and diminishing arm movements are increasingly prevalent. Fewer women and girls are affected than men and boys. MD affects approximately 1 in every 50 million women worldwide and their condition is generally less severe.


About BBC Children in Need

BBC Children in Need believe every child and young person deserves the opportunity to thrive and be the best they can be.

BBC Children in Need’s ambition is to create lasting, positive change across the UK for the children and young people who need it most. Together with the BBC and partners, BBC Children in Need aim to inspire the nation in support of their work.

BBC Children in Need’s 1,700 local charities and projects work tirelessly in every corner of the UK to help children & young people overcome the additional challenges they currently face, including supporting children and young people living in poverty, providing emergency support to families in crisis, providing comfort to children feeling sad, lost and alone, helping children overcome social injustice and supporting children to feel safe and secure again.

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2024/25 sees the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) charity reach an important milestone, its 21st Anniversary – since 2003, MHF has touched the lives of 1000’s of people across the UK living with Muscular Dystrophy, from families and local communities to schools and businesses.

With the cost-of-living crisis in mind, every single penny counts, so please, if you’re able to support our cause with a donation of £21.00 or more to mark the charity’s 21st anniversary, the charity will be very grateful – thank you.

To push on with its 657 mission, MHF continues to look for new partnerships and collaborations but like many small charities, it needs support in order to continue its important work – please get in touch if you can help.


Over the past 12-months, MHF’s tailored approach in operationalising bespoke virtual ‘person-centred’ Muscle Dream programmes continued to deliver positive outcomes for beneficiaries and families. The ‘lived experience’ of the charity’s CEO (Michael McGrath MBE) who has Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD2A) and who is the driving force of the organisations work, provides both a unique, valuable and trusting influence on those for whom the charity serves.


The charity’s mission is to deliver 657 transformational Muscle Dream interventions for children, young people and their families with Muscular Dystrophy in the UK, that’s one life-changing experience for every muscle in the human body. Discover why the #powerof657 drives us every day and the difference you can make.

We invite you to think about the number 657 – the charity is on the lookout for links to the number 657. We are keen to establish mutually beneficial collaborations around 657. So, get in touch if you know of any connections in your world or in your work and remember, the more unusual, the better!

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