Demelza Art Therapist wins prestigious award

11 March 2016

The ‘hard work and creativity’ of a Demelza art therapist have been officially recognised through a prestigious award.

Josie Mahoney scooped top prize in the Creative Counselling Initiative of the Year category at the Towergate Care Awards on Thursday 10 March.

Josie, who joined Demelza as a student and has been a qualified art therapist for two years, impressed judges with her innovative and caring ways of supporting seriously ill babies, children and young people.

Her work has been welcomed by bereaved families even at the most painful of times, by offering them prints of their baby’s hands and feet for treasured memories.

For primary aged children affected by medical procedures, Josie gives them a confidential space where they can express the feelings they find difficult putting into words through art.

With older children, as well as using a variety of art materials such as soft clay for those with weak muscle tone, Josie also uses Eyegaze for those with very minimal movement. This equipment allows the children to draw or paint electronically by making choices with moving eyes to indicate colour and shape. Parents are often moved to tears as they see their child producing images independently.

Demelza Therapy Services Manager Jane O’Neill, who nominated Josie for the award, said: “Josie is very deserving of this award. It recognises all her hard work, creativity and innovation to meet the needs of our families. Josie has also introduced therapy dolls at Demelza and is supervising art therapy students. We’re very proud of her.”

The awards, which are in the first year, celebrate unsung heroes and excellence across the care industry and were held at The Berkeley Hotel in London.

Josie was presented the glass accolade by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips and given a £500 Red Letter Day voucher.

Josie said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to receive this award. I had no idea I had been nominated until a week before. For me it’s all about making sure that art is accessible to all children, no matter what their condition or illness.”