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Teddies to help distressed children

Local Freemasons representatives Peter Dieckermann, left, and Gordon Reid, nurses Ramona Griffin and Laura Margetts, and TLC Appeal New Zealand chairman Tony Mansfield. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

JAKE BELESKI

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Some cuddly bears have been delivered to Wairarapa Hospital with the aim of soothing distressed children.

The TLC (Teddies for Loving Care) Appeal have been delivering teddy bears to hospitals across the North Island, and 150 were given to Wairarapa Hospital on Thursday.

The programme originated in the United Kingdom, and a shipment of 25,000 teddies has enabled it to expand to New Zealand.

The idea is that any distressed children will have access to a teddy, and they are able to keep it once their time at the hospital is over.

Wairarapa Hospital charge nurse Kathryn Wadsworth said the teddies would be a welcome addition to the Emergency Department.

“Essentially, we do have a lot of children that come through here, and a lot of them would be considered vulnerable.

“To be able to give them something means a great deal.”

The project is funded by Freemasons New Zealand, and since the appeal was founded in the UK more than 2.5 million teddies have been distributed worldwide.

“Apart from the fact that if we’re doing invasive procedures or things that ultimately upset a child, having some form of distraction that they can take home with them makes a huge difference,” she said.

“It also means the next time they have to present, they hopefully won’t have that anxiety associated with the department — it’s a win-win for us.”

Chairman of the TLC Appeal New Zealand, Tony Mansfield, said the programme was targeted at children aged 2-7, but there were no restrictions.

“It gives ED staff an option if a child is stressed or distraught, and the child can keep the teddy bear.

“They can also be used so staff can demonstrate procedures on the teddies — it’s an extra tool for nurses to use.”

He said their priority was delivering to the smaller hospitals first, because they were often left behind in favour of the bigger centres.

Tairawhiti Hospital in Gisborne was the first to receive the teddy bears, and more future shipments are expected to ensure a constant flow of teddies to the hospitals.

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