Teddies to help 20,000 children & their families in South Wales
A special launch event for the South Wales Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) initiative took place on Friday, September 23, at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales.
The aim of TLC is to give free teddy bears to children who are distressed when they visit hospital accident and emergency departments to help calm them down and enable medical staff to communicate effectively with the child through the teddy.
The scheme is operated by South Wales Freemasons, who aim to raise enough money to deliver 20,000 cuddly toys annually to A&E units in Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, Bridgend’s Princess of Wales Hospital, Swansea’s Morriston Hospital, and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital For Wales.
The teddy bears, which have all passed stringent toy safety regulations, will be handed out by medical staff to children who are experiencing trauma, injury or illness.
Dr Zoe Roberts, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the University Hospital of Wales said: “Giving a child a teddy as a distraction is a great idea, it will help to calm them down and enable medical and nursing staff to perform treatment in a way that children can understand by demonstrating it on the bear beforehand, as well as a comforter to others.”
Director of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity, Suzanne Mainwaring said, “Our charity has benefitted a great deal from the Freemasons over the years; their commitment to helping us fund the best medical care and environment for the children of Wales is unwavering. Relieving anxiety in children attending A&E is a super idea and we are sure it will be welcomed by the many thousands of patients and their families that will benefit.”
The TLC South Wales scheme was officially launched by Provincial Grand Master Gareth Jones OBE, who said, “I thank all those masons whose hard work has established this excellent initiative, which alleviates the distress of our young children, and today South Wales Freemasons can stand tall with pride.”
The first delivery of TLC teddies have already been delivered to UHW, Bridgend & Swansea, due to generous donations by South Wales Freemasons over the launch weekend which has provided enough initial funds to help 2,500 children & their families through provision of teddies.
A huge team of volunteer Freemasons have been established to order and distribute the bears twice a month, while other people will head up the organisation’s fundraising arm.