Teddies for Loving Care, also known as the TLC appeal, has now been running in the London Metropolitan area for a little over 12 months. The objective of the scheme is to provide Teddy Bears to Accident and Emergency units for medical staff to distribute, at their discretion, to children who are admitted with severe distress, and where they feel that a Teddy to cuddle will help alleviate the stress and assist them in their work.
Dr G Hann, Paediatric Consultant at the North Middlesex Hospitals explains: “It has been extremely popular in our patient group and at the Homerton. I also hand the Teddies out to children brought in for child protection assessments in A&E who are often very scared and bewildered too. I won a screaming child over whose head laceration I had to glue with some bubbles and a teddy - teddy got glued too and I got a much nicer cosmetic job when she was calmer!”
The Scheme was started by Essex Freemasons following the visit to an A&E unit by one of its Members. The TLC appeal was launched initially to hospital A&E Units serving Essex and proved a resounding success. The idea to provide a teddy to hold at a time when a child can feel most vulnerable turned out to be a brilliant idea and soon spread to other masonic regions. With the support of the Freemasons and hospital staff the TLC Teddies are now distributed to deserving children at A&E units in most areas in the UK and other countries such as Gibraltar, Cyprus, USA, New Zealand and Southern Ireland. As such, over two million teddies have been distributed by Freemasons all over the globe.
Since the launch of TLC at the annual meeting of Metropolitan Grand Lodge in March 2017, the TLC scheme is currently operating in seven London hospitals; Royal London, Moorfields, Homerton, North Middlesex, Royal Free, St Thomas’s & The Whittington. The hope is to extend the scheme to a further three London Hospitals.
Over 5,000 Metropolitan TLC bears have been distributed in the past 12 months, these bears also serve another purpose as they are specially designed with defined hands, legs and eyes so they can be used by the doctors and nurses to describe the treatment of injuries to the children. Using the bears with the children proved to have a calming effect on them thus removing the negativity of the situation.
The Metropolitan Masonic Charity (MMC) funds the scheme in addition to individual donations from London Freemasons and the sale of badges and teddies.
Rina Patel, Senior Paediatric Sister, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust commented: “This is such a generous offer and one the children would greatly benefit from. We would be thrilled to accept this gift from you to be able to give to the young children presenting to our department.”