What We Do
The simple objective is to provide TLC Teddy Bears to Accident and Emergency units, for the medical staff, to give, at their discretion, to children admitted who are in severe distress and where the staff feel that a Teddy to cuddle will help alleviate the stress and assist them in their work. Yes, the children get to take the teddies home!
As a charity, we do not turn down donations from others who see the benefits of the idea, but over 99% of the money needed is being donated by Freemasons.
Since the Appeal was founded in England in 2001, more than 2.8 million teddies have been distributed in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Gibraltar, Cyprus and, now, New Zealand.
In New Zealand, the programme has expanded out of hospitals to also work with rural first responder units. In 2019, we sent teddies to Samoa during the measles outbreak.
Supported by Freemasons and You
The work of TLC is funded through the generous donations of Freemasons, their families and supporters of the programme. Many Freemasons also volunteer hundreds of hours each year to manage the scheme, deliver bears to hospitals, campaign to raise funds and increase awareness through events and talks.
The only appeal money spent on administration is that necessary to comply with the Charity Register requirements – less than half a per cent of all funds received. All other administration time and facilities is donated so the maximum amount possible can be spent where it needs to be – on teddies!
The Origins of the Appeal and the Compulsive Idea
The TLC Appeal originated after an allergic reaction suddenly caused the swelling and blocking of the windpipe of the wife of a Freemason. Her life was saved by the rapid action of the medical staff at an A&E unit, who were able to resuscitate and stabilise her. They are both eternally grateful for the swift and caring attention that she received, but found the experience the most frightening of their lives and speculated on the distress that children must face when visiting A&E units.
The idea of doing something useful for medical staff at A&E units was discussed with other local Freemasons, and from that point the compulsive idea of “Teddies for Loving Care” was born. The Appeal was launched in Essex in 2001 and has since been adopted by most of the Masonic provinces across England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland, and now the rest of the world.
After 12 years, the support and enthusiasm for the Appeal still exists and well over 2,000,000 teddies have now been distributed throughout the UK and Ireland. Most of the money raised to fund the Appeal comes from Freemasons themselves through lodge donations, but we also receive some donations from grateful individuals and the sale of TLC merchandise e.g. other teddies (not the ones supplied to hospitals) and lapel pins.
As the TLC Appeal is a Masonic initiative, by it’s pure nature, it has also benefited Freemasonry, by raising the level of public awareness of the contribution made to the community by Freemasonry, a greater understanding of the principles on which Freemasonry is founded, and how those principles are exercised in the modern world.