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Buckfast Abbey teams together to collect teddies for trauma

Staff from South Devon’s Buckfast Abbey have clubbed together to donate over 100 teddy bears to help comfort children experiencing distress caused by conflict, starvation or abuse worldwide.

Led by Buckfast Abbey’s Education Manager, Alison Gagg, the project has seen colleagues from across all the Abbey’s departments joining forces to collect soft, cuddly teddy bears over the summer months, ready to send to children in areas of conflict or crisis, such as Ukraine, Syria and Pakistan.

The Abbey’s congregation of bears was packaged up and sent to the small, Herefordshire-based charity, The Teddy Trust, whose team of volunteers send teddy bears to traumatised children suffering distress in war or disaster zones around the world.

The Teddy Trust encourages children in the UK to learn about the suffering of children globally, and how they can help with the simple donation of a soft and reassuring teddy bear.

Commenting on the donation, Buckfast Abbey’s Education Manager, Alison Gagg, says: “Having launched the project at the start of the summer, it’s been wonderful to receive support from so many members of staff here at the Abbey.

“Bonded together by a shared motivation to support a good cause, many Buckfast Abbey employees have spent their weekends visiting charity shops, car boot sales and toy shops to purchase new teddy bears that are big enough to cuddle but small enough for a child to carry. Others have spent time with their children sorting through old toys to find those in good condition without a noise, teaching them how they can help support other children around the world through the donation of a soft teddy bear.

“It’s been a pleasure for all of us. The Teddy Trust is a remarkable organisation which helps children that have suffered the most appalling traumas through the gift of soft, cuddly and reassuring teddy bears.

To learn more about The Teddy Trust campaign, how to get involved, and suitable teddies to send, visit https://teddytrust.org.uk.

Focussed on improving the mental health and wellbeing of children, the Abbey’s Education Department regularly runs online activities for school groups such as the Take 5 Online Wellbeing Festival. Launched in September 2020, the festival features a wide range of online resources and workshops, led by experts in children’s wellbeing.

The Education Department also engages with approximately 10,000 children per year, and provides over 40 hands-on-activities relating to the Abbey. These include insights into ‘the monks’ day’, archaeology, building and structures, beekeeping and stained glass.

Buckfast Abbey is conveniently located midway between Exeter and Plymouth, just off the A38. Home to a community of Benedictine monks, the Abbey offers a unique, tranquil ambience, and is open seven days a week to the public. For more information on Buckfast Abbey visit https://www.buckfast.org.uk.