Get Reading – Woodley youngsters donate their teddy bears to help refugee children

Dance teacher Josie Morgan, 26, with dancers Katie, Millie, Shannon and Honey

From tots to teens, kind-hearted Woodley dancers have been donating their teddy bears to refugee children.

Members of Woodley dance school Street Feet Dance parted with their beloved teddies to help cheer up young refugees as part of Project Paddington – a national initiative that has seen children and families from across the UK show support for refugees by sending them thousands of welcome messages attached to teddy bears and tweeting a teddy selfie.

Street Feet Dance director Cerys Vaughan, 34, said: “At Street Feet Dance our whole ethos is about helping children to live healthier and happier lives so when I heard about Project Paddington and the amazing work they are doing to promote ‘children helping children’ it really struck a chord with me.

“Having seen the plight of so many displaced refugee children in the news it was something I really felt the urge to help in some way. We hope our teddies will put smiles on the faces of children who need them more than we do right now.

“We have collected 16 teddies from our Woodley-based dance classes.”

Although now closed for teddy donations, Project Paddington – which was set up last month (Sept 3) by Sheffield mum and trainee vicar Joy French – is raising funds through teddy bears’ picnics, teddy-to-school days, onesie days and cake sales.


Woodley’s Leila and Zach, both five

Mrs French, 39, said: “We are overwhelmed and delighted by the incredible response we have seen from schools and groups up and down the country.

“We are now looking forward seeing the wonderful creativity of Team Project Paddington as we know that our schools and groups will find innovative, bear-related ways to show their support for refugee children and families.”

Project Paddington is encouraging supporters to take a #teddyselfie by posting a picture of themselves with their teddy on social media and texting “PADDINGTON” to 70660 to donate £5.

Celebrities including Gogglebox vicar Kate Bottley, Archbishop Dr John Sentamu and ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ author Michael Rosen have all shown their support on Twitter (@ProjectPadding1).

“Our strapline is ‘children helping children’ and I think there is a real need for children who have had everything taken away to know that other families care about them,” said Mrs French.

In partnership with Tearfund, all the money raised through Project Paddington will go to help displaced families in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Europe.

And Phase 2 of Project Paddington is set to launch shortly with the aim of “keeping humanity and kindness” at the heart of the country’s response to the refugee crisis by mobilising schools and groups across the UK to become “children helping children” and drawing attention to the plight of those escaping conflict zones.

To get involved with Project Paddington, visit www.projectpaddington.com , tweet @ProjectPadding1 or email info@projectpaddington.com .

Miss Vaughan – a 2015 Pride of Reading award nominee – set up Street Feet Dance in Woodley six years ago, and since then has helped hundreds of youngsters to learn to dance and become more confident.

To find out more about Street Feet Dance, visit www.streetfeetdance.co.uk .
Read More: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/woodley-youngsters-donate-teddy-bears-10222749

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