BearHugs' 1:50 Hug Donation Scheme: Friend Finder
Charlotte, Social Hug Assistant, here. Thank you for popping over to have a read, it means a lot. I really hope you’re having the loveliest day.
As part of our 1:50 donation scheme, for every fifty boxes we sell, BearHugs donate one BearHug box to a charity that supports people who have chronic and life limiting illnesses.
We were delighted this July to donate 100 Cub Hugs to the wonderful Friend Finder Birmingham Prom.
Let me tell you a little more about Friend Finder…
Friend Finder is a charity founded by the amazing Lewis Hine. Lewis founded his charity after experiencing loneliness and isolation after becoming incredibly poorly at a young age. As Lewis was not well enough to go to school, spending long stretches of time in hospital and having operations, he did not have opportunities to maintain friendships or make new friends. This is a significant problem for those who have long term or terminal illness, and we know the negative impact this social isolation has on our overall well being.
Lewis has written on the Friend Finder website: ‘Everyone needs a friend’, and we completely agree!
Lewis has set out to give young people like himself the opportunity form friendships they might struggle to make otherwise. Friend Finder have hosted three Friend Finder Proms so far, twice in Portsmouth, and this year they hosted the first Prom in Birmingham. All were welcome in this incredibly inclusive and accessible event! Anyone who has missed their Prom due to illness or disability - or who is likely to were invited, along with their families.
Ahead of the prom, lots of hard work went on behind the scenes at BearHugs HQ. Here’s some of the bits we got up to!
Our wonderful Laura and Georgina found the loveliest treats to go in the little Cub Hugs including the cutest golden ticket pins from the lovely Jess Sharp. The fab Sian printed the Friend Finder logo onto stickers for the outside of the boxes. Georgina designed the perfect messages for the note cards, and the super ‘hugs team’ Lyndsey Faye and Sian packed them all up to go! It was a privilege to put these gifts together for the prom, and it was a complete BearHugs team effort!
I was invited to be on the young person’s Prom Committee for the Birmingham prom this year, it was a complete honour to work with the other amazing young people to help organise the event. As I was lucky enough to be going to the Prom myself, Faye dropped the cub hug gift boxes off to me and we headed down to Birmingham! Delivering our special gifts personally to the Prom made the whole evening that much more magical for me.
My top three highlights of the prom have to be:
Meeting Lewis and his mum Emma! After chatting to them over email and doing google hangouts with the Friend Finder team, getting to meet them was so lovely.
Seeing all the children and young people all dressed up and having fun at the red carpet, photo booth and pick ‘n’ mix cart! It was wonderful to see the young people dancing together, and to see the younger children having the best time playing with all the balloons.
Hearing that the children and young people playing crazy golf together on the saturday morning after prom, were all laughing and having fun with their new friends.
Another particularly special moment was getting to talk to a young boy, who whilst wasn’t physically at the Prom, was very much there with us. It was incredibly wonderful to see the inclusion at the prom, particularly because this young lad was at the prom via an AI robot from his hospital bed. He could hear and see us, and we could chat to him.
This young lad is in hospital, and sadly was not well enough to travel to Birmingham to be with us at the Prom. So alongside the Prom in a Box that the wonderful Friend Finder team brought to him, we sent him a special Cub Hug.
We just loved working with Friend Finder, and can’t wait to see all the wonderful things they do next.