In the Province of Northumberland, there are two Committees managing and looking after the TLC Appeal. For the North and East of Northumberland, the Committee consists of brethren from Northern and Eastern Groups and for the Central and West of Newcastle, the Committee comprises of those from Central and Western Groups.
TLC Appeal for the North and East of Northumberland
The TLC scheme was established in Essex in 2001 resulting from the admission of a Mason’s wife to the Accident & Emergency Department of a local hospital which experience they both found quite frightening. On reflection they considered how a young child must feel when faced with the same situation and on discussion with hospital staff they decided, as a thank you they would consult colleagues to consider what could be done. After considerable debate the idea of giving a Teddy to each distressed young child admitted to A & E and other hospital wards was evolved. Gradually the scheme spread throughout Essex and in time, to all other Masonic Provinces throughout England.
The object of the scheme is to alleviate the distress experienced by the child by presenting a Teddy which diverts his attention from any treatment and provides comfort, whilst at the same time easing the task of the medical staff who are providing care.
After consulting Ian Simpson, a Mason in Essex, who has been the prime mover in developing the scheme nationally, and with the approval of the Province of Northumberland, a Committee was established comprising W. Bros M. Harris; P. A. Danbury; L. Stobbs and Bro J. F. Brown. The proposal was to provide Teddies to North Tyneside General Hospital and after a period of initial fundraising, the scheme started in December 2006. Subsequently Bros P. Anderson and L. Murray set up a scheme to service Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington and this has recently been extended to include Alnwick and Berwick Hospitals.
Bears are provided by a central Source based in Basildon and last November a landmark was achieved when the 500,000th Teddy was issued to a child- locally we have supplied about 8000.
The TLC Scheme is a manifestation of Freemasonry in the Community and it is agreed by all concerned that to help and give comfort to children is indeed a worthy cause.
TLC Appeal for the Central and West of Newcastle
What is the TLC Appeal?
The Teddies for Loving Care Appeal is an appeal to raise funds to purchase small teddy bears which will be provided free of charge to Accident & Emergency [A&E] Units and the like, within the Province of Northumberland.
What Purpose does giving bears serve?
It has been identified that when children are first admitted into A&E units they are usually very distressed, frightened, and in many cases, in considerable pain. By providing a teddy bear for them to focus on when they first arrive, medical staff can then carry out their examinations and diagnostics checks more effectively and efficiently, thereby reducing the time needed to identify the patient’s problem, increasing the opportunity to provide and apply the appropriate treatment, which in turn hasten the patient’s recovery.
Where did the Appeal originate?
Over 8 years ago, the wife of an Essex Freemason suffered an allergic reaction causing her windpipe to close, which threatened her life. Fortunately their local A&E Unit were able to resuscitate her. Her husband was so grateful he ended up discussing matters with his Lodge to see if they could come up with something useful as a way of thanking the Unit staff for helping his wife, and the idea of Teddies for Loving Care was born, and a new Charity created.
Who is involved?
Initially it was just his lodge then the whole of the Essex Province. Over the past few years it has now spread into other Provinces within the country (including our neighbours in Durham), primarily via the good services Ian Simpson (Essex), Chairman of the Appeal, who has developed the scheme nationally.
What is happening in the Northumberland Province?
The appeal is being managed by individual Sector Group Committees, with each group focusing only on the A&E Hospitals local to their area. All funds raised within the Province are managed and dispensed by each fund raising committee.
Who is in your Group, what Hospitals do they cover, and which Masonic Buildings are involved.
Central Group Committee:
Chairman - W Bro John S Wallace
Secretary/Treasurer - W Bro Dennis A Frazer Event Organiser - W Bro Kenny K L Chin
Hospitals: The Royal & Victoria Infirmary, The Newcastle General, and The Freeman
Buildings: Byker, City Centre (Neville Hall, Maple Terrace, RGS), Jesmond, Wylam, Ponteland and Throckley
What do the local Hospitals and Children think?
The hospitals think it is brilliant idea and are keenly involved. The children are obviously delighted by them as they keep them and take them home.
Where do the bears come from and how much do the bears cost?
The bears are bought in bulk quantities from a central source based in Basildon. By buying them in bulk the cost equates to approximately £1.25 per bear. You may wish to note that the only marking on the bear will be a small label at the bottom simply stating, ‘presented by your local Freemasons’.
How much of the appeal funds go on administration?
All the money raised is totally spent on purchasing bears. All time, materials, expenses, and facilities required to organise and run the appeal are given free of charge by the fund raising committees, including all storage and distribution costs.
How can you donate?
Either through your Lodge as a collective Lodge donation, or as an individual direct personal donation. Either option to be directed to the particular fund raising Group which encompasses your lodge.
The Teddy Bear Appeal is certainly one of the finest and most worthwhile charities a Mason could support. Please help us to make this a success by giving us that support.
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