Joan Aarvold is the lead organiser of Jesmond Library’s annual Teddy Bear Trail, a fundraising idea which is much enjoyed by local children (and adults). Joan has put together a ‘How To’ guide for other Community Managed Libraries to use and develop.
“Since our first event seven years ago we have learned what works best and are happy to share our ideas. During the Pandemic we had to rethink how we managed both the event and the entry processes. It is amazing how willingness and ingenuity can overcome adversity! The TBT is now a much loved and enjoyed part of the Jesmond Community Festival, held each year in May/June. We begin our planning in early February for a May start. It is vital that the bears (or other animals/toys) are clearly and safely visible from the pavement. Some bears have been in trees (which is great fun for children to spot) but these need to be protected from the weather and possible thieves.
Our TBT takes place over two weeks, one of which is always a school holiday. We involve local businesses and households as well as schools, churches and our local Community Orchard. The TBT is a real community event! We have found that although most of the participants are children and families, quite a few ‘grown-ups’ enjoy doing the Trail. The following ideas may need customising for different areas but hopefully will provide a ‘template’ for your own TBT.”