As International Women’s Day, Wednesday 8 March 2017, approaches, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world and recognise the ways they have made it better.
Dr Laura N Young MBE, 49, is a remarkable woman whose own story provided the inspiration she needed to make a difference to parents and families across the UK.
Laura and her husband Dr John Young co-founded the Teapot Trust 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 clinically trained 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 explains the need for art therapy for children:
“Children with chronic illnesses often have to visit hospital very regularly over a long period of time, and in many cases grow to find the experience painful or traumatic.
“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.
“Art therapy gives a welcome distraction to children attending hospitals and gives them a way to express their feelings to someone who is not only kind and friendly but highly trained as a therapist.
“For the parents, it makes life a lot easier as it makes hospital visits much more bearable, with children having something to look forward to – something positive to associate with going to see the doctor.”
Laura’s pioneering work in setting up, running and rapidly growing the Teapot Trust has been recognised by a wide range of people and bodies.
In 2014 Laura was named Tesco Charitable Mum of the Year, and in 2015 Prime Minister David Cameron named her and husband John Points of Light, an award reserved for those who contribute greatly to society.
Later that year, she received an honorary doctorate from Queen Margaret University, and in 2016 Laura was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in recognition of her services to chronically ill children in Scotland.
Most recently, in February 2017, Laura was named Scotswoman of the Year by the Glasgow Evening Times, and dedicated that award to the work of art therapists and female friends.
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/
Interviews with Dr Laura Young MBE can be arranged.
For more information please get in touch with Rhianna Adams at 0131 273 4340 or firstname.lastname@example.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
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