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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Scots charity sets up Art Therapy Hub supporting young Grenfell survivors

Written by Lucinda Cameron

Children and teenagers who survived the Grenfell Tower tragedy are being offered art therapy through a Scottish charity.

Art psychotherapist, Susan Rudnik, who lives near the London high-rise, established the Art Therapy Hub within the ClementJames Centre based in North Kensington, where she and a team of art therapists support children and teenagers.

The art therapy is funded by the Teapot Trust, which describes itself as Scotland's largest employer of clinically trained art therapists, with 17 art therapists running 22 projects in 11 towns and cities, from Inverness to the Borders.

It has also expanded into England, with two projects running for children at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Charity founder, Dr Laura N Young MBE (pictured) said: "The children get a huge amount out of the art therapy because as adults we remember things in images and for children their memories are really built out of images so when they have a traumatic experience, to use images as a way of processing that through art therapy is a really powerful tool to help deal with those upsetting memories.

"Also when they may not have the words to describe how they are feeling, for children it's their way of communicating.

"The children are doing a lot of images of Grenfell Tower before and after, images from that night."

She added: "The Teapot Trust needs to continue its support of the Grenfell tragedy through art therapy.

"We are submitting an application for grants to Comic Relief and to the London Community Fund which is supported by Simon Cowell who raised funds with the release of the charity single."

Dr Young and her husband Dr John Young co-founded the Teapot Trust in 2010 after noting how doing art activities helped their daughter Verity, who suffered from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE Lupus) and cancer before her death at the age of eight, in 2009.

Ms Rudnik told the BBC: "The children just have some art materials and they're free to do whatever they want to.

"That's been enormously helpful in this crisis and trauma whereby the children are just allowed a space to process their feelings through the art when words really aren't enough or even possible quite a lot of the time."

She added: "The tower features in a lot of their drawings because it's there, it's in everybody's eye shot. It's in everything, it's everywhere we look, it's everywhere we go.

"But also, there's a lot of other stuff, there's indescribable things, a lot of mess-making, a lot of stuff that's just processing which isn't pretty pictures or even horrible pictures, it's just something in the art materials themselves that really make it possible for the children to process some of their feelings in a very visceral way."

Anyone wishing to make donations to The Teapot Trust can do so by contacting the charity on or by calling 0131 273 4340.

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