Our inaugural Christmas Craft Fair will take place at the Columcille Centre in Morningside on Saturday 8th December, 10am-4pm. As well as indulgent, delicious food, hot chocolates, a chance to win some fabulous raffle prizes and fun workshops, there will be a wide range of art, design and craft stalls to meet all of your Christmas shopping needs! Entrance fee is £3 for adults and £1 for children over 5 years old.

Visit our Facebook page @TeapotTrust to find out more about our event and see sneak previews of some of the talented artists, designers and makers who you will be able to find at our fair.

Workshop Times:
10:30am – 1:30pm – Teapot Trust Ceramic Painting Drop-In Workshop
2:30 – 3:30pm – Lottie Longman Christmas Wreath Workshop (book online)

All proceeds will go towards helping to provide art therapy for children with chronic illness in hospitals. We can’t wait to see you there!

Head over to our Facebook page for more information about the event –



Teapot Trust is delighted to announce that our poster ‘Transforming the Treatment Matrix: using art therapy to help children manage and cope with their illness’ has been chosen as a finalist for the VHS Get the Picture Conference poster competition.

The poster is inspired by the children that use our service and our art therapists. It uses fun infographics, photographs and descriptive text to tell delegates about our cross-sectoral approaches to provide early art therapy interventions to chronically ill children and to influence policy change in the provision of treatment in the healthcare system throughout the UK.

It explains our aim to provide sustainable art therapy treatment to as many chronically ill children as possible, as well as what we have learned from family and clinical feedback: children with life-limiting conditions manage and cope with their illness better when they receive art therapy in parallel with medical treatment.

Delegates will be able to see how this works, as they follow ‘Jamie’s Journey’: a section of our poster that uses infographics to present a qualitative case-study of a young boy, who successfully worked with his art therapist to manage his needle-phobia and overcome his anxiety over routine hospital appointments.

Our poster also will give delegates direct insight into how our innovative embedding of BAAT certified art therapists into clinical teams ensures a more joined-up approach to the care and support of chronically ill children.

Delegates also will be introduced to our new research programme:

  • what we are doing to address the lack of evidence-based research on this topic
  • current projects, and
  • how we ultimately plan to use research results to transform ‘the health and care system from a hospital-centered and illness-based system to a person-centred and health-based system’.[1]

We look forward to seeing you all at the VHS Conference and invite you all to stop by and have a chat with our Art Therapy Project Coordinator, Kirsty Edwards. We would love to get your feedback on our services, as well as our cross-sectoral approaches to research and efforts to encourage the uptake of Teapot Trust’s research. After all, it’s all about doing everything we can to change the conversation as well as policy!


[1] All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry. 2017. Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing (The Short Report) 4. All Party Parliamentary Group: UK.

At Teapot Trust, we love Halloween. Our services are all about using creativity for wellbeing, and we think Halloween is a great time to take inspiration from our little artists and spark your own creativity. This year, with the help of Mackie’s of Scotland, we are launching our new Scream Tea fundraiser. Our pack includes fundraising tips for a successful Scream Tea, inspiration to make your event spooktacular, invitation templates, and much more. Creators of Scream Teas will have a chance to win free Mackie’s prizes, so if you’re salivating like we are at the thought of delicious Mackie’s treats, get baking, creating, and decorating and host your own screamworthy Scream Tea this Halloween. Email or call 0131 273 4341 to order your pack today!

Mental health problems affect approximately one in four of us. World Mental Health Day provides a great opportunity to show support for improving mental health and wellbeing and ignite much needed conversation around this incredibly important topic. Set by the World Federation of Mental Health, the theme of World Mental Health Day this year is young people and mental health in a changing world.

Teapot Trust is a Scottish charity which provides a UK wide programme of art therapy and creative interventions in hospitals, to support the wellbeing of chronically ill children, young people and their families. One of the primary aims of the charity’s open group art therapy service is to promote positive mental health, and they have provided an art therapist every week at the National Child Psychiatric Inpatient Unit to offer one to one art therapy interventions in Glasgow since January 2016. Teapot Trust’s art therapy services work alongside children and young people to understand their lived experience and identify effective techniques to self-manage stress, anxiety and feelings of loss of control related to chronic illness. Art therapy also helps children and young people to explore how having a chronic illness impacts their lives and works towards goals that facilitate increased emotional wellbeing.

Dr Laura N Young MBE and Dr John Young set up the charity in 2010 after seeing the gaps in their daughter Verity’s care, when she suffered from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE Lupus) and cancer before her tragic death at the age of eight in 2009. Verity spent much of her young life coping with her illnesses, daily medicine regime and the effects of her treatment. Art provided a way for Verity to express herself and served as a coping mechanism.

Art therapy can build resilience in children with chronic illness, providing an alternative way to express their emotions and a chance to engage in something different whilst waiting for blood tests, appointments and medication. Laura commented “Teapot Trust provides a friendly and supportive art therapy service to help both children and families cope with long term conditions that are often hidden. Children may be on quite strong daily drugs and have many visits to hospital, feeling life is unfair and ‘why me’?  Teapot Trust art therapists are able to help them with this.”

Today, Teapot Trust is Scotland’s largest employer of art therapists with 21 art therapists running 23 projects in 10 hospitals, from Inverness to London. It has also recently expanded, with art therapists supporting children at hospitals in Liverpool and Isle of Man. A further 7 services (including Newcastle, Cardiff and Cambridge) are in development to begin shortly, many of them involving research to help build evidence based on the impact of art therapy for children in hospitals.

Teapot Trust recently launched fundraising campaign, doART at Bonhams, London. The doART Fund allows the charity flexibility to assign funds where they are most needed at any given time and to move forward with research work. Supporters of the charity and the doART Fund include Teapot Trust Patron, artist and playwright John Byrne and Dr Saleyha Ahsan. Saleyha, from Bear Grylls Celebrity Island 2018 and The One Show commented “I have seen first-hand the anxiety children experience when waiting for tests. It’s fantastic that Teapot Trust are launching the doART Fund so that people can donate to keep these fantastic services running”.

Teapot Trust have also created journals named ‘Inking Out Loud’. The journals can encompass a range of uses, a great outlet for writing down thoughts and feelings and creative expression, as well as a method of tracking symptoms and developing organisational skills. The charity will be launching journaling workshops for children with chronic illness and their siblings throughout Scotland. These sessions are also available for adults, so get in touch with Teapot Trust today to book a journaling workshop for your workplace.


Do you know of any children with a Rheumatic disease? Do you know a child with Lupus or JIA? Can you imagine what it’s like to live with a chronic disease?

I knew very little when I began working with children on a Rheumatology ward. I had worked in cancer care, and mental health for many years as an Art Therapist and I had found that both patient groups had to face social stigmas and taboos on top of what they already struggled with. Whilst cancer patients and mental health conditions are still stigmatised, in society, there is more community awareness and support in place than I have found for a child with a rheumatic disease.

Since 2015 I have worked with children and families living a constant merry-go-round of appointments, four-hour intravenous infusions and strong medication such as the chemotherapy drug Methotrexate. These types of drugs and treatments help to keep the disease under control but come with side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue and headaches. 


Chronic illness can be very hidden. Having a chronic condition and being different from the general population subjects a person to possible stigma by those who do not have the illness. Coping with stigma involves a variety of strategies including whether to disclose the condition or not. Many conceal aspects of their condition and keep quiet out of fear of suffering further exclusion from the public. Parents are often viewed as being fussy and over-protective, as often nothing appears to be wrong with their child. Some children are even called liars by their peers at school when they have tried to talk about their struggles. They are told they are making the condition up, because the other school children cannot see anything wrong with them, and they are jealous for the time they get to have off school. The schools phone up the hospitals to check their hospital attendance as it affects their school attendance stats, and this reinforces the perceived stigma of being a liar. Whilst the doctors and nurses who care for these children understand and care deeply about these hidden illnesses, society as a whole does not always understand or care, and this is what needs to change.

A child with Lupus will never be cured and will have ill health their whole life. Still, there is very little empathy and sometimes no community support at all. Most people do not even know what Lupus is, or that a child can have the disease. I have found through listening to many children with a Paediatric Rheumatic Disease that to suffer alone can be a very frightening place to be in. Stigmas often become internalised, which in turn can become feelings the child and family also feel about themselves (self-stigma). This is a separate battle in itself alongside the actual medical battle. They often feel confused, misunderstood, shamed and ashamed. The expectation of discrimination prevents people from talking about their experiences and can stop them from seeking help. 


I often hear families speak about how some schools don’t understand children’s rheumatology at all. Many schools put pressure on the children and their families by judging the effect their missed attendance has on their school. This is felt as unfair and discriminating. When a child with an autoimmune disease (e.g JIA and Lupus), has their illness under control they often look well and feel well. Some schools do not seem to understand that they look well and feel well because they keep up with their regular treatment at the hospital, and need support from their schools to keep doing so!  

I think it’s important to communicate to the schools that if they do not keep up with their treatment it can become a safeguarding issue because their illness progresses and the damage cannot be retracted, such as poor sight or even blindness. When their treatment is not working the illness often disables the child which can lead to poor mobility or even leave the child wheelchair bound. Their joints or other parts cease to function and their pain is unmanageable. Inflammation can “eat into” bones, causing damaged areas, or erosions, where the bone wears out. 


Some schools do understand and can support the children’s psycho-social needs. An example is when the children cannot sit on the floor during the schools special ‘carpet time’, the schools accommodate other children to sit on chairs on the carpet too so the children effected by chronic diseases do not feel singled out. When they cannot join in with sports day, the schools do not exclude by asking them to just sit and watch. They instead plan other responsibilities to make the children feel valued and included. These are small gestures with a huge positive impact on children’s emotional wellbeing when forming their social identity.


Often, children share their psychosocial needs by portraying important feelings in their artwork. Common themes are often hidden sadness, fear, anxiety, danger, battles, desires, happiness, hope, belonging and body image. Their stories get communicated through what they are making and sometimes they are noticing similar themes in the artwork made by the other children. This can make them feel connected, understood, supported and has led to children opening up for the very first time about their disease.

The medication they take such as Steroids often causes mood change and excessive body weight. This side effect can be very difficult for the child, family, friends and school to adjust to as they do not recognise the physical change or behaviour and struggle to accept it.

Themes such as being bullied, despair and suicidal thoughts have often emerged in the Art Therapy groups around changed body image and self-identity. Through support in expressing creatively and confiding their confused feelings with someone the children soon feel better, even if their medical condition does not get better. Sharing seems to take some of the shame away from their self-image and the aliens and monsters they often draw turn into superheroes and princesses.


The Teapot Trust’s aim is to reach every children’s hospital through art therapy so that the NHS and the community at large will recognise the need to help young people with conditions that are often hidden to the public eye. The Teapot Trust Founder and CEO Dr Laura Young MBE says, “there is a whole mindset to change but it is getting there slowly one step at a time through raising awareness.”

Through the Teapot Trust  I am fortunate, together with many other Art Therapists who they also fund, in providing Art Therapy in hospitals to children with chronic illness. Art Therapy can help the child by reducing anxiety and can build resilience to their medical condition, as well as working through their psychosocial needs. It also holds potential to help grow empathy in the wider community, which I feel extremely passionate about.


Yes, now I know many children with a Rheumatic disease, children with Lupus and JIA and other autoimmune diseases. Now I can imagine more what it is like to live with a chronic disease and my empathy for these children and families has developed. 

Compassion is said to induce positive feelings in people and humans are innately wired to want to help the suffering, but they must first feel that the struggles the person has are serious enough to help. When the child and their family do not feel able to show and tell their community of their struggles and the public is unaware of their condition, it is difficult to make positive changes as the public do not know the seriousness of their paediatric rheumatic disease.

If it is possible that Art Therapy and Response Art (artwork made by Art Therapists in response to their patient’s Art Therapy) can help open up valuable communication pathways, I will do my very best to try and give society an insight into how it feels to be a child living with a disease invisible to most of the public eye.

To stop stigma is to grow empathy and that starts with being willing to imagine what it is like to be that child, to be that family and to live their life. Stories, pictures and objects are full of emotionally laden materials that can be a catalyst for installing compassion in our community and change people’s mindset.

Artwork can show what’s often hidden and can touch people’s hearts, so please do Art and share whenever you can.

Blog post by: Flisan Beard
Artwork by: Rosa Beard
Link to Flisan’s blog:

Teapot Trust are honoured to be chosen as a beneficiary of the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Christmas Card 2017. The card features a beautiful painting entitled ‘Say it with a kiss!’ by Teapot Trust patron John Byrne.

We are excited to announce that the original artwork will be auctioned on Saturday 22nd September 2018, and the proceeds shared between four charities, including Teapot Trust!

Teapot Trust would spend the proceeds from the auction on continuing to provide art therapy and creative interventions in hospitals, to support the wellbeing of chronically ill children, young people and their families. Our work aims to build resilience in children with chronic illness by encouraging them to express emotions, mentally overcome the challenges linked to their condition and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

To read more about the auction, please visit The Great Western Auctions Ltd website –
Full lot details –

Dr Laura N Young MBE, charity co-founder, has been shortlisted for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year category in Yorkshire, North East and Scotland for The Forward Ladies National Awards. These Awards recognise the achievements of business women throughout the UK and dedicate themselves to encouraging the growth and celebration of successful women.

Scottish charity, Teapot Trust was founded by Laura and Dr John Young in 2010 to provide art therapy for children with chronic illness in hospitals, with a specific focus on children suffering from rheumatological conditions. Laura and John set up the charity after seeing the gaps in their daughter Verity’s care, when she suffered from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE Lupus) and cancer before her tragic death at the age of eight in 2009. Verity spent much of her young life coping with her illnesses, daily medicine regime and the effects that her treatments had on her. Art provided a way for Verity to express herself, as well as serving as a coping mechanism.

Art therapy can build resilience in children with chronic illness, providing an alternative way to express their emotions, a distraction from their conditions, or even just a chance to engage in something different whilst waiting for blood tests, appointments and medication.

Dr Laura Young said, “I am hugely honoured to have been nominated for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year category with the FL National Awards. It is marvellous to be shortlisted for such a prestigious business award. The art therapists are at the core of our work and their expert care keeps children going, but in the background the charity office keeps our services funded. The charity wouldn’t be here without them, so thank you to the office staff for keeping our “company” going.”

“Teapot Trust provides a friendly and supportive art therapy service to help both children and families cope with long term conditions that are often hidden. Children may be on quite strong daily drugs and have many visits to hospital, feeling life is unfair and “why me”? Teapot Trust art therapists are able to help them with this.”

Today, Teapot Trust is Scotland’s largest employer of art therapists with 20 art therapists, running 23 projects in 10 towns and cities, from Inverness to the Borders. It has also expanded into England, with art therapists supporting children at hospitals in London, Liverpool and Isle of Man. A further 7 services are in development to begin shortly, many of them involving research to help build an evidence base for art therapy for children in hospitals.

Dr Laura N Young MBE is an extraordinary woman, whose own experience has provided her with the inspiration to make a huge difference to parents and families nationwide. This is a feat that we should all take great encouragement from. Laura’s pioneering work in establishing, running and rapidly growing Teapot Trust has been recognised by a wide range of people and bodies. In 2015 Prime Minister David Cameron named Laura and husband John Points of Light, an award reserved for those who contribute greatly to society. Later that year, Laura received an honorary doctorate from Queen Margaret University and in 2016 was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in recognition of her services to chronically ill children in Scotland. In the same year Laura was awarded Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year 2016.

At the end of June this year, to mark the occasion of the NHS at 70, Laura attended a Downing Street Roundtable with other Points of Lights award holders to talk about NHS Charity and Volunteer working.

Teapot Trust is proud to announce that it will have a major presence at the upcoming annual BSPAR (British Paediatric & Adolescent Rheumatology) Conference – the dedicated conference for paediatric and adolescent rheumatology in the UK, taking place 17-19 October.

We are excited to announce that Dr Kristin Leith, who oversees the Teapot Trust Research Programme, will be giving a presentation on the Conference’s Research Day, 19 October 2018. She will be speaking on the challenges of producing evidence-based research on the efficacy of early intervention arts therapy in paediatric rheumatology departments.

The charity will have an Exhibition Stand at the Conference, where Teapot Trust art therapists Emily Farrugia and Dr Patricia Watts will be available to chat and provide information about our services. Emily will also have two posters displayed at the Conference. 

This is a great opportunity for Teapot Trust to learn about new developments in the field and the current issues that patients face, and to get valuable feedback on its programmes from Clinicians and other Health Professionals working on the front lines of paediatric and adolescent rheumatology.

Watch this space as well as our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for live updates from the event!


Photographer credit: Colin Hattersley

Founder and CEO of Teapot Trust Dr Laura N Young MBE has met with Joanne Somerville, an Associate Professor/Medical Educator and Discipline Coordinator Division of Paediatrics and Child Health. Together they visited the charity’s art therapy service at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh. Joanne travelled from the University of Western Australia, Perth to discuss a potential collaboration.

Teapot Trust is a UK charity providing a nationwide programme of art therapy and creative interventions for chronically ill children in hospitals. Since being founded in 2010 by Laura and John Young, Teapot Trust has a team of professional art therapists working across Scotland and England, and is appreciated by children and clinicians alike.

In almost eight years Teapot Trust has gone from a small Scottish charity to now branching out across the UK, with this visit highlighting potential growth internationally. Joanne’s work links with Perth Children’s Hospital, which sees approximately 250,00 inpatient and outpatient visits each year. Joanne is interested in the development of a Teapot Trust art therapy project for the new hospital, as well as exploring research in this area.

Speaking about the first step in this collaboration, Laura said “I am delighted to have this amazing international visitor and hear about her work with children and young people. Joanne’s interest in our work is a huge compliment to Teapot Trust and it is great to begin sharing ideas”.

After her visit, Joanne said “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Laura and her team during my visit to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. It was inspiring to see first-hand the amazing work Teapot Trust is doing to reduce stress and anxiety in chronically ill children and their families requiring hospital care. It was great to be able to explore some ideas for research into the benefits of art therapy and explore the prospect of a collaboration with Teapot Trust to bring art therapy to the children of Western Australia”.