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Art therapy founders

269. Laura Young
270. John Young

Set up a charity that provides art therapy to thousands of sick children across Scotland. Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop presented the Youngs with their award at one of the art therapy sessions they provide for sick children at the new South Glasgow University Hospital.

10 Downing Street

Laura and John Young, from Gullane in East Lothian, established ‘The Teapot Trust’ in 2010, a year after their eight year old daughter Verity tragically died having suffered from SLE Lupus and then, cancer. The organisation funds art therapy in medical settings, including clinics, hospital wards, mental health services and hospices for children with chronic illnesses in 6 centres across Scotland with a total of 21 funded art therapy projects providing either individual or group art therapy for sick children.  

The couple have led an extraordinary campaign, since they established the Trust, to get art therapy provided for children with chronic illness across Scotland, securing over £600,000 from individuals, organisations and foundations as well as inspiring a large group of volunteers who help with further fundraising and provide office support. The Youngs have had great support from friends and families hosting fund-raising tea parties or taking part in long distance running and cycling events. From the first art therapy service at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

In 2011, the Trust expanded rapidly and in the last financial year 12 specialist art therapists provided sessions for 3528 children, through 2652 hours of art therapy – many group sessions some repeat individuals – helping children to cope with the emotional and mental strain that can experience a battle with illness. The Trust has also recently provided Art Therapists to work in the Penguin Ward, at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Laura and John have taken the awful experience of losing their daughter Verity and used it to selflessly dedicate their lives to finding a way to help other sick children. The art therapy their work has provided has helped thousands of children with serious illnesses across the country, helping them to feel more in control of their condition.

“For those children and their families Laura and John are true Points of Light.”

Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop said:

“I am delighted to be able to present this award to Laura and John on behalf of the Prime Minister.

“Following the tragic death of their daughter, Verity, they dedicated themselves to making life better for others, raising more than £600,000 to establish art therapy programmes which have helped, and will help, thousands of children with chronic illnesses.

“Laura and John have done this with the help of family, friends, businesses and members of the public; they have shown what can be done when people pull together for the common good. “They truly are an inspiration and worthy recipients of a Points of Light award.”

Laura and John said:

“Laura and I started the Teapot Trust in 2010 after discovering a gap in the hospital experience for children with long term conditions like SLE Lupus. The main work behind the charity started after our daughter Verity died. However, the charity has snow-balled well beyond this initial mark of respect into a service that has become part of many children’s weekly life in hospital.

“This success is down to the outstanding support we receive from friends and associates; generosity of private and corporate donations; the enthusiasm and skills of Teapot Trust office team of Linda, Daryl, Rhianna; the understanding and professionalism of the art therapists and Laura who devotes her time and heart so selflessly to the task. It is fantastic and so encouraging that the work of the Teapot Trust, in support of chronically ill children, has been recognised by the Points of Light award.”

George Kerevan, MP for East Lothian said:

I am immensely impressed by the achievements of the Teapot Trust. In the five short years since Verity died, Laura and John Young have set up art therapy sessions for children in hospitals in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Kinross, as well as at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. There could be no more inspiring memorial to their daughter, and I am delighted to see them nominated by the Prime Minister for a Point of Light award for their work.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, said:

“To lose Verity at such a young age was an unimaginable tragedy for Laura and John. The way they have focused their energies on helping other families with sick children is truly inspirational. Congratulations to them on this well-deserved award.

“Art therapy groups can bring great benefits to children attending clinics. Creating and making gives them something else to think and talk about than just their illness. Young children can sometimes feel defined by the limitations of their illness. The Teapot Trust, by providing a creative environment, is helping them to feel much better about themselves.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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