Teds go nationwide
Tedz4kidz is expanding and aims to be nationwide within 12 months.
The project, started in South Taranaki last year, is designed to provide toys for children who come to the attention of police and Child, Youth and Family.
Originally started in Tauranga by Suzy Brown, Tedz4kidz is run in Taranaki by the 4thekidz charitable trust.
Trust chairwoman Carolyn Cragg said the project would be up and running in Whanganui early next month.
After that there were projects to be launched in five areas within Auckland, Hamilton and Palmerston North.
She said teams were eager to start up in Nelson and other parts of the South Island as well.
"We've got people that have come on board to help us with funding," she said.
Social workers, youth workers and other trained professionals were stepping in to help bridge the gap between the abused and those who want to help, she said.
Before the project can launch in each area, subcommittees have to be formed, permission sought so that police and forensics workers can distribute the bears and teddies need to be found.
Each bear is given out with a torch, blanket and notebook so that children can feel safe and express themselves. Cragg has seen first hand the impact the teddies are having on the children they are given to.
Whanganui resident Lois Smith will be helping to get Tedz4kidz off the ground in her region. As someone who can relate to the trauma some children suffer, Smith is willing to do anything she can to get the project running.
"I'm really excited about it actually," she said.
"To be able to help them to feel a little bit safer is quite important to me."
Smith said she wanted to see the project become redundant in New Zealand.
"We're only a small country," she said.
With high statistics around the numbers of children suffering child abuse, Smith said it was important as a country to look at ways to create change.
Tedz4kidz is one of a number of initiatives the 4thekidz project is implementing nationally to help lower the numbers of children abused and neglected in New Zealand.