A couple from East Lothian who set up a charity that provides art therapy to thousands of sick children across Scotland have been named Points of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron. Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop presented the Youngs with their award at one of the art therapy sessions they provide for sick children at the new South Glasgow University Hospital.
Laura and John Young, from Gullane in East Lothian, established The Teapot Trust in 2010, a year after their 8-year-old daughter Verity tragically died having suffered from 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 6 centres across Scotland with a total of 21 funded art therapy projects providing either individual or group art therapy for sick children.
The Youngs are the latest recipients of a Point 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.
The couple have led an extraordinary campaign, since they established the Trust, to get Art Therapy provided for children with chronic illness across Scotland, securing over £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. The Youngs have had great support from friends and families hosting fund-raising tea parties or taking part in long distance running and cycling events.
From the first art therapy service at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh In 2011, the Trust has expanded rapidly and in the last financial year 12 specialist art therapists provided sessions for 3528 children, through 2652 hours of art therapy - many group sessions some repeat individuals - helping children to cope with the emotional and mental strain that can experience 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.
Laura and John Young are the 269th and 270th winners of the Point 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.
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.
Scotland Office Minister Lord Dunlop said:
I am delighted to be able to present this award to Laura and John on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Following the tragic death of their daughter, Verity, they dedicated themselves to making life better for others, raising more than £600,000 to establish art therapy programmes which have helped, and will help, thousands of children with chronic illnesses.
Laura and John have done this with the help of family, friends, businesses and members of the public; they have shown what can be done when people pull together for the common good.
They truly are an inspiration and worthy recipients of a Points of Light award.
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 daughter Verity died. However, the charity has snow-balled well beyond this initial mark of respect into a service that has become part of many children’s weekly life in hospital.’
George Kerevan, MP for East Lothian said:
I am immensely impressed by the achievements of the Teapot Trust. In the five short years since Verity died, Laura and John Young have set up art therapy sessions for children in hospitals in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Kinross, as well as at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
There could be no more inspiring memorial to their daughter, and I am delighted to see them nominated by the Prime Minister for a Point of Light award for their work.