'Teddy-bear tombola' to help homeless and less well-off in Mansfield
A teddy-bear appeal is set to help the homeless and less well-off in Mansfield in the run-up to Christmas.
The Mansfield branch of the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Credit Union launched the appeal on Facebook and among family and friends, asking for unwanted teddy bears to be donated.
It had received more than 100, which will now be sold in a special ‘teddy tombola’ on a promotional, fundraising stall on Mansfield Market this Saturday (October 23).
All the money raised will go to the Mansfield Soup Kitchen on Church Street, which is a cause close to the heart of the credit union’s branch manager, Marie Haywood.
The stall will also be generating cash in other ways, with a grand raffle offering prizes donated by shops and businesses.
Prizes include free tickets to the Robin Hoods Wheelgate family theme park in Farnsfield, vouchers for the i-Jump trampoline park in Mansfield Woodhouse and a visit from Nottinghamshire’s own replica Lightning McQueen car.
Two party princesses will also be on hand to attract attention on what the credit union hopes will be a fun day.
"We will be there from 8 am until the market finishes,” said Sally Gregory, who is a loans assessor at the union’s branch on Clumber Street.
"Volunteers from the soup kitchen will also be popping down during the day.”
The soup kitchen relies on donations to carry on. It gives the homeless a hot meal every Wednesday evening, and supports them too with much-needed items such as food parcels, toiletries, sleeping bags, and hot-water bottles.
Saturday’s stall also aims to promote the work of the credit union, which enables families and individuals who are less well-off to acquire loans they might not be able to get with banks and to set up savings accounts.
Many people feel the pinch at Christmas time in particular, and the union already helps hundreds across Mansfield.
"We want to keep them away from the loan sharks and doorstep lenders,” said Sally, 44, who used to run the Focus Point community centre in Mansfield Woodhouse.
"We see a lot of people struggling at the moment, and things have got worse since Covid.
"People are panicking, and a lot don’t realise we are even here. They can pop into our branch or download our app. What we offer is brilliant.”