Young people who are facing a range of challenges will benefit from art therapy sessions supported by a grant from the Manx Lottery Trust.

Manx Children’s Art Therapy (formerly Teapot Trust Isle of Man), which provides clinical creative therapies for children and teenagers with health conditions and mental health challenges, has been awarded a grant of £48,300 from Manx Lottery Trust. The funding will be used over three years to part-finance the provision of art therapy services four days a week at The Children’s Centre in Douglas.

The Manx Children’s Art Therapy service has already made a positive difference to the lives of local children at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Unit at Nobles Hospital helping them find a greater sense of wellbeing. The charity has now partnered with The Children’s Centre to provide a four day a week service and it hopes to be able to work with more organisations and young people in the future to further increase and enhance the provision of this much needed service on the island.

Joff Whitten, Head of the Children’s Centre said: Our partnership with Manx Children’s Art Therapy is a wonderful development and opportunity for us as a charity. We support children, young people and families living with challenges in their lives, offering a wide range of services and support both at our farm and across the island. Sometimes the children we work with need specific therapies. By working in direct partnership with Manx Children's Art Therapy it means we can help them with the right support at the right time. We would be naïve to suggest we can solve all problems on our own — only by working collaboratively and in partnership can we achieve our aim; to make the Isle of Man the best place to be born, raised or live as a family.’

Teapot Trust (Isle of Man) was set up in March 2019, but has since rebranded to its current name, Manx Children’s Art Therapy. The idea behind the rebrand was to make obvious that the charity exists to provide art therapy services for the benefit of the Manx children and young people. The charity has also appointed a new director and trustee, Lynsey Smith of Atla Group, and as part of the rebrand, the organisation is now searching for additional directors and trustees to join the board to help it develop and grow further.

Fern Callister, Art Therapist for the charity said: ‘Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses creativity to help improve an individual’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Accessing therapy in this way encourages self-expression and helps the individual come to terms with difficult and challenging emotions. As children so easily use creativity and play to understand their world around them, art therapy offers a more acceptable form of communication over the spoken word.

‘Each session is designed to support the child’s abilities and the type of art medium used is a crucial part of this process. Some children feel able to explore emotions using imagery, others require a more sensory approach, for example slime making. Sessions can involve talking about what is seen within the imagery or can be a nonverbal exchange of communication. The focus is to explore the process of creating artwork over the final product. Art therapy is for everyone, participants do not need to be ‘good at art’ to engage. 

‘Art therapy is a fantastic way to support children to look after and manage their mental health. It seeks to reduce anxiety and stress, build resilience and confidence, foster relationships, develop trust and explore coping strategies within the creative process.’

Jeremy Theobald, Director at Manx Children’s Art Therapy, explained: ‘We receive no NHS or Government funding so are reliant on the generosity of others, be they trusts, corporate partners, philanthropists or supporting fundraisers. We have been kindly supported by the Manx Lottery Trust, but as a relatively new charity on the island, we need to do more to raise funds, awareness and build a volunteer network.’

Sarah Kelly, Chairman of the Manx Lottery Trust, added: ‘It is clear that art therapy can have a truly positive effect on wellbeing. We hope that this programme is going to be highly successful.’

Manx Lottery Trust has been delegated to distribute National Lottery money that has come from The National Lottery Community Fund. To find out more about the Community Awards programme, please visit: www.mlt.org.im/grant-programmes

L to R Jay Jeffcoate from Manx Childrens Art Therapy and Fern Callister Art Therapist