The power of side projects

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Bearly Loved is a charity that aims to provide children in difficulty, around the world, with a donated teddy bear. Their mission is to empower children to make a positive and powerful long lasting effect on another child’s life, giving all children a chance to feel valued and valuable. Lou Shipley, Creative Director, and Rob Jenkins, Deputy Creative Director at the Havas Lynx Group, wanted to give something back to the charity. In this blog, Lou explains why they wanted to get involved and how they’re helping Bearly Loved go from strength to strength.

We’re very lucky at the Havas Lynx Group. Every day we have the opportunity to use our creative skills to change and even save lives. And that drive to do good doesn’t start and end in the office. As a creative, your brain is always ticking. Most of us have our own side-hustles beyond the day job – it’s an important part of the creative process. But when you see a small charity working its socks for children (especially one who doesn’t have the same exposure of more famous fundraising organisations) well, how can you not help?

That’s how Rob Jenkins and I felt when we heard about Bearly Loved. The idea is gorgeously simple but incredibly powerful: let’s send all our unwanted cuddly toys to children in orphanages who really need a friend to hug. That’s it. Tangible, simple and giving children and adults alike a chance to make a connection with children who have so much less than we do.

You see touch is a fundamental human need. It is proven that holding a soft toy provides immense psychological comfort. That’s why we’ve all loved a special cuddly toy as a child, and as adults we see our own children bonding with their own furry friend. Bearly Loved founder Andrea Lea believes every child should have this feeling of security. But sadly, there are thousands of children all over the world, in very difficult circumstances, who have no family, are lost, alone and often petrified.

So far, this lovely idea has helped over 20,000 children in orphanages and foster homes in 19 countries around the world, including Uganda, Mexico, Israel and India. And the teddy donations continue to flood in as people hear about the charity and feel compelled to help.

With Bearly Loved growing furry arms and legs by the day, thanks largely to the power of word of mouth and social media, Bearly Loved needed branding and a stronger online presence. So with the help of our friends GF Smith and Pressision Printing, we created an identity that exudes the warm, caring personality of the charity and designed an information pack that includes cute teddy bear passports. Every child who donates can complete the details of their toy (name, age, special traits) and writes a special message to the recipient.

We’re not stopping there. Bearly Loved needs storage premises, help with shipping to transport the bears and sponsorship to fund printing more packs. Once the day job is complete, Rob and I work on ways to help her reach out to companies who we think could help. We’d love to see this charity become the biggest children’s charity in the world.

If you can help, please visit bearlyloved.org to donate, follow on Twitter and Facebook or check out gofundme.com/bearly-loved-fundraiser-campaign