Art therapy pair hailed for sick kids work

John and Laura Young were honoured with a Points of Light award. Picture: comp

John and Laura Young were honoured with a Points of Light award. Picture: comp

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A COUPLE who set up a charity to help sick children after the tragic death of their daughter have been given a prestigious award by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Laura and John Young, from Gullane, established the Teapot Trust in 2010, a year after their eight-year-old daughter Verity died having suffered from autoimmune disease SLE Lupus and then cancer.

The organisation funds art therapy in medical settings, including clinics, hospital wards, mental health services and hospices for children with chronic illnesses in six centres across Scotland, including the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh.

A total of 21 funded art therapy projects providing either individual or group art therapy for sick children are run throughout Scotland.

Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop presented the Youngs with their award at one of the art therapy sessions they provide.

Mr Young said: “Laura and I started the Teapot Trust in 2010 after discovering a gap in the hospital experience for children with long-term conditions like SLE Lupus.

“The main work behind the charity started after our Verity died. However, the charity has snowballed well beyond this initial mark of respect into a service that has become part of many children’s weekly life in hospital.

“This success is down to the outstanding support we receive from friends and associates and the enthusiasm and skills of the Teapot Trust office team of Linda, Daryl and Rhianna.

“It is fantastic and so encouraging that the work of the Teapot Trust, in support of chronically ill children, has been recognised by the Points of Light award.”

The Youngs are the latest recipients of a Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Each day, someone somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

Since launching their first art therapy session at the Sick Kids in 2011, the couple have secured more than £600,000 from individuals, organisations and foundations as well as inspiring a large group of volunteers who help with further fundraising and provide office support.

In the last year, 12 specialist art therapists provided sessions for 3528 children, helping them to cope with the emotional and mental strain that can be experienced in a battle with illness.

The trust has also recently provided art therapists to work in the Penguin Ward, at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

The Youngs are the 269th and 270th winners of a Points of Light award.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Laura and John have taken the awful experience of losing their daughter Verity and used it to selflessly dedicate their lives to finding a way to help other sick children.

“The art therapy their work has provided has helped thousands of children with serious illnesses across the country, helping them to feel more in control of their condition.

“For those children and their families, Laura and John are true Points of Light.”

The Points of Light award was set up in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the United States – first established by President George Bush Snr.

More than 5000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.