Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) arrived in Nottinghamshire in the early summer of 2005, when Graham Riche (a local Freemason) was seeking a charity to support during his year as Master of the Radcliffe Lodge.
He was introduced to the charity when visiting Denmark, early in the year, with fellow masons. He and his wife immediately saw how this simple charity could help comfort a traumatised child (resulting from accident or serious illness). Once installed as Master of Radcliffe Lodge, Graham set about introducing the charity into Nottinghamshire hospitals. His efforts were fully supported by the members of the Lodge - some of whom volunteered to join a committee to take the charity forward.
The TLC was quickly supported by the leaders of the Province, and this was demonstrated when the then Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Steve Mather, accepted the position of Honorary President. Support and advice was also given by the Provincial Almoner John Hastie.
The TLC bears were first introduced in Nottingham City Hospital Children's Wards where they were an immediate success; the Queens Medical Centre followed shortly after as did Nottingham NHS Direct and King's Mill Hospital Mansfield. In 2010 Newark Hospital joined in and also the independent Nottingham Children's Hospital within the QMC and the Children's Outpatients areas.
The feedback from doctors and nursing staff has been very positive; a regular theme is their continued surprise at the beneficial effect the bear has on a child and how it makes the medical staff's difficult job so much easier. The feedback from parents is equally positive; with the most common observation being how 'the bear' has become a very special friend and comfort to their child.
From early on the Charity has provided equipment (which would not otherwise be funded) to help comfort children and minimise distress. For example: a light tube in the QMC Children's A&E Department; DVD players to provide distraction whilst waiting for treatment; and a replacement fish tank. Donations have also been made towards appeals for an infant heart monitor (for a sufferer of meningitis) and to help other local Freemasons provide a 'Fun at the Fair' day for physically challenged and special needs children.
The work of the charity is supported through selling TLC badges and key rings, specially designed fundraising bears and donations from Lodges and individuals; fundraising events are also held throughout the year. These TLC events make a significant contribution to our funds, but they also serve to reach out to and involve those in the community of which we are a part.
TLC Nottinghamshire registered as a charity in its own right in 2010. This action was necessary due to the growth and scope of our work. However, we still look to our Brothers in Essex who gave birth to this wonderful idea and who still facilitate the provision of the bears and other items necessary for the continuing success of Teddies for Loving Care.
All of us involved with this charity feel privileged to be part of it and we are most grateful for the support we receive from individuals and from local businesses across our community.
A leaflet explaining all about Teddies for Loving Care is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org