Silent auction to boost arts therapy cause that wants to help Sidmouth youngsters

Maria Berry, Janet Newton, Josh Davies Laura Blatherwick and Alice, Kyle Baker, Christine Hardy are

Maria Berry, Janet Newton, Josh Davies Laura Blatherwick and Alice, Kyle Baker, Christine Hardy are staging a fundraiser for the Youth Arts and Health Trust - Credit: Archant

A therapist who uses art to help youngsters struggling with anxiety and depression is staging a fundraiser to one day expand her work into Sidmouth.

Laura Blatherwick, who used to live in the town, and her mum, who still does, have teamed up with writer Christine Hardy to stage a silent auction.

It will raise money for the charity Laura founded, the Youth Arts and Health Trust, and be captured on film by videographer Kyle Baker.

Laura said: “I wanted to set up the charity so that young people who needed help with their mental health could access it better when they need and also have the option of arts therapy available to them.

“I have witnessed time and time again how gentle, effective and empowering arts therapy can be.

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“We regularly help young people with issues like low confidence, bullying, self-harm, trauma, abuse and eating problems. We offer a safe place for young people to reflect, learn and grow in confidence with someone they can trust.”

Laura, who works part-time for the NHS, said arts therapy allows youngsters to talk through their problems, or to express themselves through their art without talking.

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Her charity is currently based in Exeter, but she is looking for ways to make it more accessible to East Devon residents.

She added: “This could be through helping to pay for travel expenses, as well as what we’d really like – to fundraise enough money to open an arts therapy room in Sidmouth, where families on a low income can access it for free.

“This could also involve hiring a room in a suitable location, like a youth service or health centre, employing an arts therapist to be based there once a week.

“This model works really well and we are now offering this to schools and colleges.”

Items for auction include a weekend pass for two to Sandy Park for the Mitsubishi International Rugby 7s event, a day at the spa, a voucher for Sidmouth Golf Club and much more.

Tickets (£5), including a finger buffet and music, will be available in February from Paragon Books and the Woodlands Hotel, where the event will be held at 7.30pm on Sunday, March 3.

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