With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.
Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation has ‘poured’ a cash donation into a pioneering art therapy service that helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety for children attending hospital in Aberdeen.
The Teapot Trust provides professional art therapy to children with chronic illnesses in medical settings, including clinics, hospital wards and hospices across Scotland.
Young children don’t always have the words to describe how they feel but making art often leads to them being able to share worries non-verbally, helping children gain confidence and feel more in control and able to cope with their condition.
The Trust’s art therapists work with children who have chronic illnesses, and their families, at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital in Aberdeen, and the Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation will fund the Open Group work there for a year with a grant of £7236.
The Open Group is an innovative service tailored for hospital outpatient departments.
Any child attending 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.
After they lost their eight year old daughter Verity to cancer, East Lothian parents Laura and John Young set up the Teapot Trust in her memory. Verity had a life based around tests, medications, hospital visits and illness but art gave her a way to expressing 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 open group art therapy, the Teapot Trust provides small group/ward based art therapy for children who are hospitalised, and one-to-one art therapy for those who need additional support to help them cope.
The Trust does not receive any NHS funding so it is reliant on the generosity of individual donors and grants like the one from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation – it takes over £230,000 each year to continue its work with children and young people.
Founder Laura Young commented:
“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 deeply value and 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 commented:
“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 much more straightforward.”
Health experts have also spoken of the importance of art therapy helping children with illness and Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, ex-Chief Medical Officer said: “Arts and creativity is remarkably helpful and positive in hospital. The work of The Teapot Trust is quite inspirational.”
Dominic Kite of the Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Fund said:
“We are very pleased to be able to support the Teapot Trust which provides such a valuable and important service to children and their families.
“Being ill and going to hospital places a huge emotional strain on families, and through art therapy, the Teapot Trust is able to provide friendship, security, discussion, respite and relief.”
The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects. For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home
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