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  • Writer's pictureTed's Light

If we repeatedly knock someone down, eventually they no longer get up.

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Last night I attended the Coram virtual anniversary lecture: a fascinating and thought provoking evening. Well done Coram team, a great event! They now have 280 years of fighting injustice to bring care to the most vulnerable in society. Hearing from their own young ambassadors (all care leavers) reminded me of some of the feedback we have received for our work with Ted's Light.

Most recently we were told of a young child stopping self-harming upon receiving their Ted, and of two others who played continuously with theirs. We are having the effect we'd hoped for, and so much more.

I was brought up a Christian and it has always amazed me just how many people call themselves the same, and yet neglect the most basic tenets taught in Christianity. I no longer refer to myself as 'Christian'. I prefer to ensure that my actions speak for me as my faith, rather than use a label which now seems meaningless, so it was particularly interesting to learn that Thomas Coram had the same disillusionment, 300 years ago.

It took 20 years to establish Coram - an uphill struggle to get enough of the elite (and the Church!) to accept the idea of helping children. It remained unpopular for centuries after, and still we continue to stigmatise children who, through no fault of their own, are in care.

Where is the humanity? Compassion? The most simple of human kindness?

So, if you find yourself complaining that money is being spent on helping or feeding children, challenge yourself:

"Why should the children be punished?"

'Yes', the parents 'may' have made poor decisions, they may continue to do so, but don't blame the child.

Provide for the child.

Show them love if they have little.

Prove the world is not against them.

If we repeatedly knock someone down, eventually they no longer get up.

They will not aspire for greatness and they may end up making the same mistakes their parents made.

For things to change, we have to change. (Jim Rohn) For things to change for children in care, WE have to change.

Last year I launched Ted's Light ( giving teddy bears and nightlights to children entering emergency foster care.

"Why?" I was asked.

"They need MORE than teddy bears and lights!" I was told.

Yes; yes they do. But I can start with teddy bears and lights.

I can make sure a child has something to cuddle; be cuddled by; cry to; talk with; love and feel loved; and I can make sure they have a little bit of control in their life when it is dark and they can turn on their nightlight in a strange new room.

As a team at Ted's Light, our number one focus is on providing a little bit of love, care and empowerment, and from the feedback we're getting, it's working.

So, now that we are 280 years down the line, isn't it about time we ALL worked out a way to engage with the most vulnerable?

We will continue to give out Ted's and nightlights as long as we can raise funds to do so, and I very much hope we can expand further and work with more care leavers.

As we approach Easter, and perhaps we plan feasts of sweets and chocolates with family and friends, perhaps it is time to consider how we can resurrect a sense of security and hope in those who need it most.

If you would like to help, please consider sharing our story, donating, fundraising or even passing on our details to your local fostering networks or social care services so that they know about us, but, most importantly: don't stand quietly if those around you seek to blame and punish a child for something they have no control over.

Mat Chair and Chief Teddy Bear Wrangler

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