A scheme that has seen some friendly furry faces helping in Oxford Health Urgent Care, Minor Injury Units and GP Out of Hours service is now bringing some happiness to youngsters visiting Chipping Norton War Memorial Community Hospital.

The Freemasons’ TLC teddy bear scheme provides teddies to emergency rooms for young people who may be nervous or scared or need reassurance. The Freemasons have been providing teddies for emergency wards for some time, but they are now appearing in Minor Injury Units, First Aid and Out of Hours units.

Jane O’Gorman, Site Administrator and Sarah Barton, Clinic Clerk, have arranged for a stock of teddies to be on hand if any younger visitor seems in need of comfort.

Jane explained: “This is a lovely idea and we know from other Oxford Health Community Hospitals that the teddies make a big difference when a child is upset or stressed.

“It is also nice for staff to know that they can do something special for a child so that their experience of visiting hospital is that little bit nicer.”

Roger Hampshire from the Oxfordshire Freemasons said: “It’s a real delight to be involved with TLC and to know that something as small as a teddy can bring such happiness to a child in a stressful situation.”

The Freemasons have a process in place which ensures that all the specially manufactured teddies are COVID safe and are sent out in special compostable wrapping. Oxford Health currently has the teddies in its MIU and FAUs in Witney, Abingdon, Bicester and Henley and the GP Out of Hours service in Oxford, and Banbury.

The design of the teddy has been the same for 15 years, but a new design is on the way with nose in a heart shape and a label so the child can write the name of their teddy on it. The teddies are packed in compostable bags to meet infection control requirements.

Oxfordshire Freemasons cover their costs by fundraising and donations. More information on the scheme can be found at: www.teddiesforlovingcare.org.uk