Teapot Trust provided over 6,000 art therapy interactions to children like William last year. To help give insight into the children who use our services, we asked William and his family to chat with us about his use of Teapot Trust services.

William, an eleven-year-old from Angus has juvenile arthritis and has been using Teapot Trust services for the past four years. William says that he often feels left out and others are unkind to him because they do not understand his condition. Doing art with Teapot Trust helps his self esteem and makes him look forward to his appointments as he knows he can do art when he visits hospital.

“I feel quite satisfied after doing art and I even feel a bit stronger. I feel a bit more confident. It takes my mind off all the needles and things. When the Teapot Trust are there I don’t really worry about my appointments. I just really want to do art.”

William’s sister, Sophie, also uses Teapot Trust services. She thinks it would be “a lot more sad and not as nice for everyone else” if Teapot Trust weren’t in the hospitals.

To continue to support the children and families that use Teapot Trust services, we are launching the Not Just William Campaign to show how children visiting hospitals benefit from our services. By showcasing how art therapy helps service users like William and Sophie, we are hoping to give a glimpse into the experiences of children coping with chronic conditions. To read more about William’s story, please visit our Not Just William campaign page.

William and Sophie proudly display some of their artwork made during Teapot Trust sessions

To help more children like William, you can donate through Virgin Money Giving, by cheque, or by BACS. If you have any questions, please contact

By taking on a Kiltwalk, you’ll be helping raise funds for children with long-term conditions and their families.

Whatever you raise is topped up by 40%, so help a child by donning a kilt, lacing up your boots, and get stepping for a creative cause!

Kiltwalk 2019 dates:

Glasgow : 28th April

Aberdeen : 2nd June

Dundee : 18th August

Edinburgh : 15th September

Why should you walk for Teapot Trust?

  • We will pay for your registration
  • Every participant will get a goody bag with treats
  • Prizes for most money raised and most referrals
  • You will be helping a great cause – what more convincing do you need? Contact us!

Email or call 0131 273 4341 for information about how you can get signed up today.

Give yourself the chance of winning some amazing prizes this Christmas all while helping us continue to support chronically ill children and their families!

Raffle tickets are £5 for individual tickets or £20 for a 5 ticket booklet. Buy your tickets today!

Prizes include:

  • Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at Greywalls 5* Hotel, Gullane
  • Champagne Afternoon Tea for 2 at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
  • East India Company Hamper
  • Rosie Brown Necklace and Earrings
  • £100 Voucher from Slaters
  • Greywalls Afternoon Tea Voucher for 2
  • Family Ticket for Silver Tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Two Tour Tickets for the Royal Yacht Britannia
  • £20 voucher for Café Andaluz
  • Two Tickets for a Distillery Tour at Pickering’s Gin
  • Two tickets for a Cadies and Witchery Tour, Edinburgh
  • £60 of Go Ape Voucher
  • Family Tour of Ibrox Stadium for six people
  • Family Ticket for Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • 70cl Bottle of Old Navigator Whisky
  • Mackie’s Chocolate Gift Stocking
  • Squidgydoodle Winter Wonderland Craft Box
  • Christin Lars Wrist Watch
  • 5 Candlestick Press Pamphlet Bundles (3 pamphlets incl.)
  • Beautifully Handsewn Blanket
  • Make your own Laura Ashley Westie Doorstop

On Tuesday 20th November, Martin Whitfield MP hosted a drop-in event at the UK Parliament for Scottish charity Teapot Trust. Held at Portcullis House, the drop-in, Do Art Daily, gave MPs a chance to learn about the charity and produce their own artwork with Teapot Trust art therapist Flisan, who works at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Dozens of MPs attended the drop-in and tweeted their support for Teapot Trust’s work using the hashtag #DoArtDaily. As daily life becomes increasingly fast paced and digital, Teapot Trust wants to encourage incorporating some form of creativity into your daily routine, whether that be painting, sewing, knitting, pottery or even a daily doodle! Teapot Trust believe that in addition to healthy habits such as eating well and getting enough sleep, art and creativity can have a positive affect on mental health and wellbeing and can be an integral part of the ‘5 Steps To Wellbeing’ recommended by the NHS.

A member of Parliament for East Lothian, Martin Whitfield MP was previously a primary school teacher. Martin has a special interest in the value of art in relation to health, which he spoke about, with mention of Teapot Trust, during the Westminster Hall Debate, ‘The Arts: Health Effects’ in October 2017.

Speaking about the parliamentary drop-in, Martin Whitfield MP said “I was delighted to host this drop-in event for Teapot Trust. It provided an opportunity for the charity to chat to MPs and Peers about its work and encourage them to show off their artistic skills by producing some art of their own in support of the Trust’s work.

Many of my colleagues talked about how impressed they were by the services offered by the Trust, and some said they had constituents who had benefited from them.

The event has undoubtedly helped raise awareness and understanding of the charity’s work and the huge difference it makes to the lives of the children with chronic illness who access its services.”

Dr Laura Young MBE, Founder and CEO of Teapot Trust, said “This drop-in event was a fantastic opportunity for us to tell Parliamentarians about our work and the difference art therapy can make to the lives of chronically ill children.

By having more decision-makers supporting and advocating for art therapy, we hope that its beneficial effect will be available to even more children in hospitals throughout the UK.

I want to thank Martin for hosting the event for us and all of the MPs who took time out to join us and help spread our positive ‘do art’ message.”


Teapot Trust have a fantastic line up of stallholders for our Christmas Craft Fair. The talented makers, designers and artists include:

Anna Wright –

Auld Connection –

Beautitude –

Beti Brown –

Boyes Botanics –

Carla Edwards –

Charcot Studio –

Charlotte Cadzow –

Cheryl Jones –

Chloe Gardner –

Diana Savova –

Ella Fletcher –

Hoop & Bone –

Ian Henderson –

Miss Gardener –

Krafty Koffeedoff –

Mairi Brown –

Marie Fielding

Philippa Mitchell –

Rebecca Crawford –

Rosie Faragher –

Victoria Rose Ball –

White Rabbit Stationary –

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. 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: