Our story Teapot Trust was set up in 2010 by Laura and John Young after seeing the gaps in care for children with rheumatological issues who were regularly visiting hospital. Their daughter, Verity, spent much of her short life in hospital coping with illness and managing the effects of her treatment (first for Lupus and then for cancer). Art gave Verity a way of expressing herself and was an essential coping strategy for the whole family, so John and Laura wanted to help other children and families who were struggling. We are often asked, “Why the teapot?” The ritual of making ‘proper’ tea, often accompanied by cake, was the means through which our founders encouraged Verity to increase her fluid intake - which was important due to the medication she was taking. Over time, the teapot came to symbolise support, comfort, friendship and respite. The charity began working in children’s rheumatology clinics in Glasgow and Edinburgh hospitals and grew via word of mouth amongst clinicians. Great Ormond Street and Addenbrookes were quick to embrace our art therapy and other hospitals followed. Ten years on, Teapot Trust is at the forefront of mental health support for children and young people living with chronic and physical conditions – using art as a breakthrough often where traditional talking therapies have failed. We have brought direct and lasting benefits to 12,000+ ‘at risk’ youngsters throughout the UK who struggle with anxiety related to their illness. Today, we work with 11 partner hospitals from Inverness to Southampton and with 11 other partners, including patient support groups, to extend our reach in communities and online. “We had been battling for two years trying to get a help… as she was going into teenage years, we always got the same answers – it was “just teenage problems”, “she’ll grow out of it”. As a mother, you can only take so much of that, you know your child, when they are making things up, and trying to get out of things, but there was something happening there. She was in excruciating pain in her joints at various times, so much so her 100% attendance at school started to drop when she was 12/13, steadily dropped further and further, and got very little understanding from schools or GPs… I kept fighting to speak to people, but nobody investigated anything, nobody thought about mental health, this kid was in a downward spiral situation. I could see it slowly affecting her mental health…” (E, R’s mother) “Beth [Art Therapist] is absolutely amazing. She always made me feel so at ease and relaxed to talk to her. I am so grateful to have got the opportunity to do these sessions. I am a lot happier and content with myself and how things have turned out over the past year. I will be grateful for everything I have gained through Teapot Trust.” (R, E’s daughter) A journey of self-discovery Through the gentle process of art therapy, children explore and express fears, which they may not be able to articulate verbally. A range of materials are used. Clay is always popular given how tactile it is. But it’s the process, not the product that matters. This means that children are helped to manage their anxiety, build their resilience and learn healthy coping tools. Art therapy has been successful as both a distraction and escape for children facing unpleasant invasive tests, treatments and medications and as a psychological tool for dealing with trauma. Its value can last a lifetime as using the ‘other’ side of the brain and getting absorbed in a creative activity is hugely beneficial for wellbeing – something that will serve children well their whole lives through. It is powerful and transformative.