Two thousand “lost teddy bears” will appear on UK high streets today, with bears set to hit shopping centres, parks and bus stops across Leeds to mark the launch of children’s charity World Vision UK’s latest campaign.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers children face in the world’s poorest communities and encourage people to sponsor a child.
Each bear (named Hope) is fitted with a tag on its wrist with directions on how people can help the world’s most vulnerable children.
To support the launch, the charity questioned more than 1,000 UK parents to find out the extreme lengths they’d go to make sure their children are not parted from their favourite toys.
According to the research, nearly half (46%) of Yorkshire parents have purchased duplicates of their child’s favourite toy in case it gets lost or damaged.
The survey also found that one in four parents in Britain would be prepared to travel up to 200 MILES if their son or daughter misplaced their favourite toy.
According to the research, two thirds (73%) of parents in Yorkshire claim that they would offer a reward for the safe return of a cherished toy, with over half of that number saying they would be willing to pay double the purchase price for its safe return.
This is perhaps unsurprising given that 38% of those questioned said their child can NEVER go to bed without their favourite toy.
Additionally, 40% of mums and dads would launch a social media appeal to find the missing toy.
World Vision UK spokesperson Sally Bownes said: “This research reveals just how dearly children in the UK value their favourite toy. A lost toy can be replaced, but unfortunately a lost childhood can’t. Childhood is sacred, wherever a child lives.
“Hundreds of thousands of children around the world are at risk of losing much more than a toy this Christmas. Many are in danger of becoming enslaved - coerced, forced or tricked into becoming a child labourer, a child soldier or a child bride.
“We want people to join us this Christmas in helping make a real and lasting change for a child and their community.”
World Vision UK is encouraging the British public to raise awareness of children at risk of losing their childhoods by finding Hope the teddy bear and sharing a photo on social media using the hashtag #ShareHope.
The bears will be distributed at shopping centres, parks and various other public places across the UK – including various locations across Leeds today.
Have you found one? Let us know.