Travis Perkins plc has engaged its transport fleet and a number of its Builders Merchant branches to help with distributing teddy bears and a personal message of hope, to children, throughout the largest refugee camps.
Together with Project Paddington, Travis Perkins plc collected thousands of teddy bears from around the country and transported them to central dispatch points, where they await imminent shipping out to refugee children in Syria, Turkey and Jordan.
The Sheffield-based Project Paddington was initially started as a way to help children respond to the growing refugee crisis. Travis Perkins plc colleague, Lauren Casey, came across the Project, and together with her 19 month year old daughter, Harriet, decided to send a teddy. Later, Lauren found a Facebook post saying that the group was struggling with logistics and challenged Travis Perkins plc to get involved.
Lauren says: "I thought Project Paddington was a fantastic initiative and together with my daughter, Harriet, we picked out one of her teddies to send. When I saw that the charity needed help with logistics, I brought it to the attention of my colleagues in the Travis Perkins plc supply chain and together with Joel Brown, Paul van Haaren and Alistair Perks, we worked out a way that we could help.
"Thousands of teddy bears were delivered to over 35 of our stores, where they were collected by our fleet and taken to a central dispatch point – either Warrington or Northampton. A couple of branches even went to collect bears from local schools! In total, we will have had around 30,000 teddy bears through the branch doors. This will mean 30,000 bear hugs and messages of hope, delivered directly to children facing very harsh, life threatening conditions.
"I'm really grateful that so many other people at Travis Perkins plc saw what a great cause it was and stepped in to help! We were also able to arrange for almost 1,000 surplus tarpaulins to be donated to Crisis Aid, for use in Greece."
Joy French, a Trainee Vicar who launched Project Paddington, said: "Project Paddington is delighted to have the support of Travis Perkins plc. Project Paddington began with the dream to send teddies and notes from UK children to children who have lost everything. With our team made up of volunteer mums, none of us had experience in logistics! When we needed expert help to move the teddies around the country, our friends at Travis Perkins plc stepped in. We are so grateful for their logistical support which has enabled the project to run smoothly. Together, we hope to put smiles on the faces of thousands of refugee children this winter."