Ukrainian children are to receive a hug from a bear thanks to efforts from a Thanet Police Community Support Officer.
PCSO Adrian Butterworth has collected a number of specially-made teddy bears from knitters and crocheters across the district.
The Crime Prevention Officer rallied the crafty folk after volunteering his help in collecting supplies to support Ukrainian families affected by the conflict.
PCSO Butterworth explained: ‘I was talking to an officer from Kent Fire and Rescue Service who was just about to go out with a lorry full of donated aid to Poland, in partnership with Fire Aid, and I asked if there was anything else I could do to help. He said they would still be collecting after this trip, and really wanted comfort toys to give to Ukrainian children who were struggling following the trauma in their country.
‘I put a message out on My Community Voice, asking followers to spread the word that I was after knitters, and local groups stepped up to the challenge.’
My Community Voice (MCV) is a two-way engagement tool set up by Kent Police for residents, businesses and community groups in Kent and Medway in which officers can update users with news, alerts, events and other items of interest.
Following the message on MCV, PCSO Butterworth was inundated with offers of hand-knitted and crocheted trauma teddies from kind-hearted residents.
He said: ‘All of the bears have been made especially for children in Ukraine but they are all unique and just waiting to comfort the children that receive them.
‘Bears have been donated by the Broadstairs Knitting and Crochet Group, and a retired police officer, Wendy Sherwood, also made some too.
‘I’m due to collect more bears from the Whitstable and Herne Bay Age Concern group so we should have a good collection of bears to donate.
‘Everyone has been so generous and I want to thank all of the knitters and crocheters who have taken part.
‘I hope that the children who receive these bears will feel comforted and safer, and know that people here are thinking of them.’