Teapot Trust is making tiny changes

Published on 25.02.21

Last year, 22 charities received our emergency funding


The Tiny Changes Covid Relief Fund was set up in the early days of the pandemic. Sitting at our computers in lockdown, we were planning our website, talking over our small grants project, really just getting Tiny Changes off the ground, but feeling pretty helpless and wondering how our charity could support children and young people at this time.  So we decided to invite charities who were buckling under the weight of the pandemic, to apply for a grant. Teapot Trust, who work across the UK, was one of the very worthwhile charities that we supported throughout the pandemic and beyond. We funded one of their projects in the Highlands of Scotland. Here is their story:

Yellow map of Scotland on blue background with Highlands highlighted to show where Teapot Trust spent this grant

Teapot Trust

was set up in 2010 by Laura and John Young after seeing the gaps in care for children like their daughter Verity, who spent much of her short life in hospital, coping with illness and managing the effects of her treatment.  Art gave Verity a way of expressing herself and was an essential coping strategy for the whole family.  John and Laura felt this was a service that should be available to all families of children suffering from chronic illness.

The ‘Teapot’ name derives from the ritual of making ‘proper’ tea, often accompanied by cake, which was how Verity’s Mum and Dad encouraged her to increase her fluid intake, a vital element in the life of a child with a chronic or life-threatening condition.  Over time the teapot came to symbolise support, comfort, friendship and respite.  Now in its tenth year, Teapot Trust has improved the lives of over 12,000 children and young people.

Art Therapy helps young minds feel better

Living with long term health conditions can have a negative effect on the mental health and wellbeing, not only of the young people with the condition, but also of their families.  Children who have to attend hospital regularly can be overwhelmed, frightened and confused.  They are often in pain, anxious about invasive treatment, and struggle to process their feelings.  Art therapy, in all its forms, helps to keep children distracted and calm.  Through art therapy children explore and express fears, which they may not articulate verbally.  They learn to manage their anxieties and build resilience.

Child wearing pink trousers sitting on the floor beside a pot of pens and drawing with a red pen Teapot Trust art therapy

Teapot Trust quickly responded to the pandemic.

Before lockdown, professional art therapy was delivered largely in children’s hospitals, one-to-one, on wards, and through drop-in sessions at outpatient clinics. There was bespoke work in a children’s hospice and with a specialist in patient mental health facility for young people.  But in March 2020, the world changed and no one could have predicted the devastating effect that Covid-19 would have for us all, especially charities who rely mainly on face-to-face support – and funding.

Teapot Trust withdrew support from UK hospitals, where the risk of cross infection was too high and moved the art therapy online. Supported by Tiny Changes, they were able to adapt services, include early intervention from the point of diagnosis and offer family art therapy much more widely. Working online, rather than in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, meant Teapot Trust could work with children, young people and their families who live remotely and were unable to travel to hospital for therapy.  They can now take self-referrals as well as GP, hospital, school, social work and community based referrals.

The pandemic has had a huge effect on young people with long-term chronic conditions.

They have been more isolated than their peers due to shielding or being in vulnerable groups, which has meant loss of schooling and social interaction.  Online art therapy has given them a connection. Working with clay, making collages, drawing, painting or writing is a creative outlet which improves their sense of wellbeing and helps to relieve anxiety.

No one says it better than some of the children whose lives have been changed by the work of the Teapot Trust last year:

“My favourite thing about art therapy was being able to express my feelings and thoughts whatever way I liked.  Some days I expressed my thoughts through art and other days I just said them out loud.  Nicola was always really helpful and understanding”.

- Zoe, age 13

Art therapy has made me feel more relaxed.  I really like Nicola (the Art therapist) and I can talk openly to her, and not be scared to say anything.  She has helped me to talk a bit more about everything I went through last year, as well as anything that’s bothering me just now too.  I like that I’ve been able to do something fun with my Mum again, I love doing art the most.

- Imogen, age 9

What's next

Once lockdown has been lifted and we can all hopefully return to the ‘new normal’, Teapot Trust will go back to their original way of working, and have decided to continue with online support alongside that.  Online support has enabled them to work with families, as well as the diagnosed children, and has made it possible to access those in outlying areas.

We at Tiny Changes would like to thank the Teapot Trust for the chance to make changes together, we wish them the very best for the future and look forward to a long and fruitful friendship.

If you’d like to find out more about Teapot Trust and the work that they do, head on over to their website.

To help young minds feel better, and fund more projects like this one click here to donate to Tiny Changes.

Keep in touch on social media @tinychanges and by subscribing to our newsletter.

Join the conversation and become a tiny change maker today.

This is just the beginning of the journey, and with your help we can make lots of tiny changes that lead to a huge difference in how young people are supported and listened to.

Follow us on social media, add your voice to the community and become a tiny change maker today.