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Published April 30th 2020
Cuddly gifts to help city's vulnerable 'bear' up to crisis
They may not be the 'bear necessities of life' but a vital community scheme in the Staffordshire city of Lichfield has turned to these cuddly critters to help support the most vulnerable in society. Almost a hundred bears have been specially knitted as part of a scheme to help vulnerable households across Lichfield district during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The 90 bears are to be included with emergency shopping in a joint initiative that also involves Nurture Community and the Buddy Bag Foundation. Nurture, which is a community interest company that works to connect organisations and support local events, offered the bears to Lichfield District Council to distribute with emergency shopping to local vulnerable people isolating in their own homes who don't have anyone to help them. The delivery scheme involves the council working with Central England Co-op.
Charlotte Shutt, the founder of Nurture Community, said: "We work with a range of partners to bring organisations together on local projects and events. One of the partners we work with is the Buddy Bag Foundation, which offers care packages to children who are in emergency care. During the coronavirus lockdown they haven't been able to get the bags out, so have built up a stockpile of bears, which were kindly knitted by lots of volunteers. Rather than the bears sitting idle, we thought it would be a good opportunity to work with the council to give them to local people who are self-isolating. We hope everyone likes their bears and that they will bring a bit of comfort at this difficult time." The council will add the bears to shopping bags for a limited time when they deliver the emergency shopping to local homes.
The emergency food scheme in action
Councillor Ashley Yeates, the council's Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing, said: "It was so kind of Nurture Community to think of our vulnerable residents who are self-isolating. It must have been a huge effort by the volunteers to knit all the teddy bears for the Buddy Bags, and I'm glad they will now be going to local homes. Receiving an unexpected bear with their shopping will be a nice treat to discover and we hope it will give them a boost. I'd like to thank everyone involved in the emergency shopping scheme. It's been fantastic to see everyone pulling together to help our local community." To find out more about the service, please visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/coronavirushelp. Anyone living in Lichfield district who is self-isolating and does not have any outside help, is asked to call the emergency shopping line on 0333 220 3088, which is available from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.