The youngsters of Orkney’s Papdale Nursery were certainly in for a big surprise as they were gifted 94 cuddly knitted teddy bears.
And picnics will be on the agenda in the weeks to come according to nursery manager Caroline Easton, who orchestrated their arrival.
Caroline said the children have found the most recent lockdown more challenging and wanted to think of ways to help.
Being interested in brain development research and positive mental wellbeing, Caroline was aware of the significant benefits that a simple hug can bring.
And so she contacted The Haven in Stonehaven – a popular wellbeing space – which made the generous donation.
Caroline said: “When you hug someone, certain hormones are released giving you a greater sense of inner calm and belonging.
“I had read of the work of Julia Morton, founder of The Haven in Stonehaven, and how she has helped communities, with knitted teddies was just one aspect of that.
“Never more so than during this pandemic have families been kept apart and the simple act of hugging has been restricted – some can’t cuddle their grandparents anymore – and it’s this contact that bairns are missing most.
“I just thought it would be a wonderful idea if each child at the nursery could have their own special knitted teddy to hug.”
The nursery made contact with Julia at The Haven who was delighted to offer up 94 teddies free of charge, thanks to an army of generous knitters in and around Stonehaven, and they have now arrived in the county.
Caroline added: “We have had an amazing response from the parents and bairns who have received their teddy bears already.
“Others will be handed out as children come in. They will definitely be well-loved.”
Julia Morton, creator of Starsparks and keeper of The Haven in Stonehaven, Wellbeing Space and The Haven Community Larder, said: “We are delighted to hear the teddies have found a new life in Orkney and made new friends.
“Our intention is always to nurture and empower our own community spirit but if that sparks opportunities in other communities we are always happy to support in any way we can.”