A leading Scottish company has ‘poured’ a cash donation into a pioneering art therapy service that helps reduce feelings of stress for children attending hospital in Aberdeen.
The Teapot Trust provides professional art therapy to youngsters with chronic illnesses in medical settings, including clinics, hospital wards and hospices across Scotland.
The children don’t always have the words to describe how they feel, but giving them the opportunity to create art often leads to them being able to share worries, gain confidence and feel more in control and able to cope with their condition.
The Trust’s art therapists work with children and their families, at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and the Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation will fund the Open Group work there for a year with a grant of £7236.
Any child attending a clinic can visit the art table to paint, draw, make a collage or model clay and engage with an art therapist if they wish.
The group helps to reduce anxiety before medical procedures, as well as providing a safe space for children to express feelings about their illness that may be difficult to talk about.
East Lothian parents, Laura and John Young, set up the Teapot Trust after they lost their eight-year-old daughter Verity.
The little girl spent her life in and out of hospital, with much of the time focused on tests, medications and coping with illness, but art gave her a way to express herself, and this activity became essential for the family’s coping strategy.
The charity operates across Scotland employing nine art therapists on a part-time basis.
As well as the open group art sessions, the Teapot Trust provides small ward-based therapy for children who are hospitalised, and one-to-one assistance for those who need additional support to help them.
The Trust does not receive any NHS funding, so it is reliant on the generosity of individual donors and grants,
Laura Young said: “The Teapot Trust is delighted to be awarded a grant of £7236 from Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation for the Open Group.
"These children face a lifetime of having to cope with their condition.
"They and their families are often highly anxious about hospital appointments, and art therapy is proven to reduce anxiety, encourage self-expression, promote healthy coping mechanisms and can be used by the medical teams as a communication tool.
"This year, we expect to help almost 400 children attending out-patient clinics in Aberdeen.”
Parents appreciate the role the service plays in supporting families at what can be a challenging and difficult time.
One parent, whose child attended open group art therapy, said: “My daughter was very upset when she arrived at the hospital, but as soon as she saw the painting, she calmed down and immediately joined in.
"The art therapists were extremely kind and encouraging and what had been a horrible experience was turned into fun.
"This also made the medical procedures later on much more straightforward.”
Further information is available here.