A six-year-old boy from Kingston Upon Thames has launched his own charity project, Theo’s Teddy Rescue Project, to send unwanted teddies to new homes.
Theo Carter started the project with the help of his mum, Sara Carter, 48, to collect unwanted teddies and give them to childen in need. Theo’s Teddy Rescue Project was launched three weeks ago.
Many teddy bears have been donated to the project, some of which can be bought on the project website. There is also the option to a sponsor a toy for a child for £10. For every sponsorship, the Toy Project charity will gift a toy to a child in need. Theo’s project has raised £700 so far.
Sara Carter said: “We didn’t expect the project to take it off as it did. It’s amazing the amount [of teddies] that could be recycled or redistributed. Theo’s quite bewildered by it all.”
Theo Carter, helped by his friend Seb Brackley, has already received hundreds of unwanted teddy bears to send to disadvantaged and bereaved children. Sara said Theo had spent many evenings sorting out the teddies.
“He helps to wash and brush them and get them ready for the children,” she said. “Theo even writes handwritten notes for all of them.”
Theo’s Teddy Rescue Project started after Theo and Sara watched the BBC Breakfast show before school about cuts to universal credit, which featured a little boy. Theo learnt that some families had severely struggled after the £80 a month cut in their universal credit payments.
The Breakfast show hit home for Sara, who had her own experiences of financial struggles during her childhood.
Sara’s family had been on the edge of the poverty line. Her mother raised Sara and her two sisters whilst she studied at university.
“There were tough times and hard decisions. I can’t bear the thought of kids having no food or presents. It’s an unhappy time for these kids at Christmas.
“The increase in child poverty goes against everything we’re trying to do as a society. It has increased the use of food banks.
“It has a huge impact in the festive season as families struggle to feed children. The cut has left them of worse off.”
Sara said this had helped her sympathise with the families the project has helped. Theo comes from a military family, as his father, Tony Carter, 43, serves as military provost in the army at Wellington barracks in the city.
“I always wanted [Theo] to care about those who are not as lucky as him. He likes to help others and he has such a caring nature,” Sara Carter said.
“If we passed a homeless person and their bag, Theo would always give money or ask me to give money.”
The Teddy Rescue Project has supported Theo’s nominated charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and The Toy Project.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity that has supported children and young people who have suffered bereavement. Specifically of parents who have died serving in the British Armed Forces. It was inspired by the experiences of Niki Scott, an army widow, after her husband Corporal Lee Scott had died in Afghanistan in 2009.
The Toy Project has helped to recycle and redistribute unwanted toys to children who need them. They have helped a variety of locations and facilities such as schools, hospitals, hospices, prisons and refuge centres. It was founded in 2013 by Jane Garfield and Angela Donovan.
Sara believes that the project could support the NSPCC next year. She wants, along with Theo, to raise awareness of child abuse and poverty.
She said: “I want to keep the project going as long as possible.
“We need to be helping people and finding solutions and approach these problems together.”
If you would like to donate or support Theo’s Teddy Rescue, you can do so by going to www.theoteddyrescue.co.uk.