The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that Friday 16 December will be Local Charities Day, a celebration of the work of small, local charities and community groups, such as the Teapot Trust, based in East Lothian, Scotland.
At a time of year when people traditionally give money to charity, Local Charities Day reminds us that, although the marketing spend and profile of small, local charities cannot compete with the large national causes, the work that they do is just as necessary.
The Teapot Trust provides art therapists for sick children in medical settings, with a particular focus on children suffering from rheumatological conditions. Art therapy can give children an alternative way to communicate their emotions, a distraction from their conditions, or even just a chance to have fun while waiting for appointments and medication.
The charity was founded by Laura and Dr John Young in 2010 after seeing the gaps in the care of their daughter Verity, who suffered from Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) and also cancer before her tragic death at the age of eight, in 2009.
The Teapot Trust is Scotland’s largest employer of art therapists with 17 art therapists, running 22 projects in 11 towns and cities, from Inverness to the Borders. It has also expanded into England, with two projects running for children at hospitals in London.
Laura Young, who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for services to chronically ill children, said, “The Teapot Trust is dedicated to providing art therapy to children with long-term medical conditions.
“One of the most difficult things for many children is expressing themselves verbally. The great thing about art therapy is that it provides an alternative, yet profound, medium of communication.
“This builds confidence, which helps children cope with their conditions. If children are worried about being in hospital, art therapy is used to help them to relax.
“I am so pleased that, even in uncertain economic times, the Teapot Trust is continuing to grow to provide more one-to-one art therapy, and that we are able to help more children each year.
“We do rely on the kindness of the public and Christmas is a time that we know that people want to give money to charity. Our message to people who want to give back this Christmas is ‘why not support a charity which helps children in your local area?’
“For just the cost of a cup of tea, you can contribute to the support that we give to children suffering with chronic illnesses and their families across the UK.”
Hannah, the mother of Annabelle, said, “It makes a huge difference to my children’s visits. There’s a wide variety of art materials suitable for all ages and it’s a very welcome distraction for the children here. It takes the children’s minds of things that are going to happen and calms them when our heads are full of worries. The children really enjoy it. I think it’s a wonderful service and it’s well-used at the hospital. It’s a simple charity that can make a huge difference.”
Another mother of a child helped by the Teapot Trust said, “It was amazing. Matthew’s self-esteem was really low and he was really struggling, and the rheumatology team suggested that he might benefit from a weekly therapy session with the Teapot Trust.
“Thank you to the Teapot Trust – they make a huge difference to these children’s lives.”
The Teapot Trust receives no funding from the NHS but offers its services to 12 different NHS Trusts. Jim Crombie, Acting Chair of NHS Lothian, commented that NHS Lothian was very lucky to have the Teapot Trust’s flagship projects running within the CAMHS unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, augmenting the psychological services on offer.
The Teapot Trust is expanding its services in the forthcoming year and as a result of this increase it has moved to a new, larger capacity, office in Eskmills Park, Musselburgh.
The Teapot Trust has a Christmas range for those looking to buy presents and contribute to charity this festive period: http://shop.teapot-trust.org/
Teapot Trust: http://www.teapot-trust.org/