Co-founder of Scotland-based charity the Teapot Trust, which provides art therapy to sick children across the UK, Dr Laura N Young MBE, has been named Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year 2016 at a reception at the City Chambers, Glasgow.
The value of the charity’s support to children and families in hospitals was recognised by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood, who Tweeted ‘Huge congratulations to an amazing woman really helping sick children & their families – learning from her own experience’.
Laura won the prestigious award, which has been running for 54 years, for co-founding and her voluntary work with the Teapot Trust, which provides clinically qualified art therapists for chronically ill children in hospital, 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 Teapot Trust was founded by Laura and Dr John Young in 2010 after seeing the gaps in the care of their daughter Verity, who suffered from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE Lupus) and also cancer before her tragic death at the age of eight, in 2009.
Today, 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.
Dr Laura Young MBE, who received a standing ovation when she collected the award, said, “I’m really touched to have been awarded such a huge accolade, and it’s a great reflection on the work that all of our art therapists are doing and the generosity of donors. All the finalists are amazing – I dedicate this award to the work of art therapists and female friends.
“It was being in Glasgow that seeded the idea for the Teapot Trust.
“I vividly remember watching a mother struggling with a kicking and screaming child, trying to carry them into the hospital and every time she put them down they ran back out of the doors. Embarrassed, apologetically the mother said ‘she is just totally fed up with coming here’ and I thought, I am not the only one manhandling my child into the car, who then kicks and screams for the whole journey... we have to do something to help.
“The Teapot Trust provides a friendly and supportive service to help both children and families. We have grown across Scotland providing art therapy in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Kinross.”
Evening Times Editor Graham Shields said: “Laura is an outstanding example of courage in the face of adversity. Despite devastating personal grief, she never lost sight of what she wanted to do – to create a service she knew would help countless families during the darkest of times.
“Nothing can prepare parents for what lies ahead when their child is diagnosed with a serious illness. It takes an exceptional person to understand what needs to be done to help those parents, and, despite coping with her own overwhelming loss, to have the vision, the compassion and the tenacity to do it. Laura is nothing short of remarkable.”
The Teapot Trust: http://www.teapot-trust.org/
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Dr Laura Young MBE Timeline:
1990 - Laura graduated from the University of Bristol in Chemistry, BSc Hons Graduate Trainee, Science Museum, London
1992 - Junior Curator, Medical Collections & Science Box exhibition team
1995 - Visitor Services Manager at Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry Northern Ireland
1997 - Project manager in Visitor Attractions industry in Northern Ireland
2000 - Full-time mother and carer
2005 - With husband wrote the children’s book Sandy Starfish
2010 - Registered charity set up: Founder and Chair of Trustees Teapot Trust, and fundraising begins
2011 - Edinburgh RHSC Rheumatology Group begins 26 September (first provision of art therapy)
2012 - Edinburgh RHSC Oncology Ward 2
One-to-one art therapy at RHSC Edinburgh
Glasgow RHSC Yorkhill Rheumatology Group
CHAS Rachel House Hospice
Glasgow 1-2-1 Art Therapy
Runner up in Clarins and YOU Magazine, Most Dynamisante Woman of the Year
2013 - Dundee Paediatric Rheumatology Group at Tayside Children’s Hospital
Part-time book Finance Manager Starts
Winner Inspiring Volunteer Achievement Award, City of Edinburgh Council
Family Hero for Scotland 2013
4Children and Take a Break Magazine Awards 2013
Part time Project Manager starts
2014 - Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital Rheumatology Group
Tayside Children’s Hospital, Ninewells, Dundee 1-2-1 art therapy
Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, Paediatric Rheumatology Group
Administrator and Community Fund-raiser employed
Clinical Manager Employed
CEO role created
Laura named Tesco Charitable Mum of the Year
Teapot Trust celebrates its fourth birthday party
Teapot Trust operating in 6 Scottish cities and expansion plans announced
2015 - Grants assistant employed
Teapot trust operating at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London
Laura and John Young named Points of Light by David Cameron
Laura Young awarded honorary doctorate from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
‘West of 8th’, donated by artist John Byrne, sold for £20,000
Teapot Trust named Charity of the Year (income under £250,000) and Children’s Charity of the Year at Charity Champions Awards
2016 - Laura Young awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in recognition of her services to chronically ill children in Scotland
2017 - Dr Laura Young MBE named Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year 2016
About The Teapot Trust
The Teapot Trust provides professional art therapy to children with chronic illnesses in medical settings, with a particular remit to help children with rheumatological conditions. The Trust’s art therapists work in outpatient clinics, hospital wards, mental health services and hospices.
Long term health problems can cause anxiety, anger or upset for children and their families and may be difficult to talk about. Art therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety in clinics and before blood tests as children don’t always have the words to describe how they feel. Making art often gives them the ability to share worries non-verbally, helping children gain confidence, feel more in control and cope with their condition.
All of the Trust’s art therapists are clinically qualified with postgraduate-level training and extensive experience of working with children. They are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and the British Association of Art Therapists.
In July 2015 Dr Laura N Young received an honorary doctorate from the Queen Margaret University for her work in using art therapy to help children and young people cope with long-term medical conditions.
The Teapot Trust runs up to three art therapy projects a day and currently works alongside other medical professionals in the following locations:
RHSC (‘Sick Kids’), Edinburgh
Tayside Children’s Hospital (‘Ninewells’), Dundee
Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital
CHAS Rachel House Hospice, Kinross
Art workshops for TCT, SNAC, SPARN and others
Group work for CAMHS, Young Person’s Eating Disorders Unit, Edinburgh
Raigmore Hospital, Inverness
Great Ormond Street Hospital, London
Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy
Borders General, Melrose
Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals, London
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