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Teddy bears help Oxfordshire to get COVID-19 message across

Oxfordshire County Council are using ‘Rosie the COVID Bear’ to reassure children as lockdown restrictions ease and youngsters go back to school.

The local authority’s principal social worker, Annelies Henshall, said that Rosie helps reassure children that are being reassured that even teddy bears wear face masks to protect against COVID-19.

‘As lockdown has eased, we’ve been able to begin visiting homes again. But we’re incredibly careful to ensure safe-distancing and wear PPE so staff look very different; for young children, possibly quite frightening,’ said Ms Henshall.

‘Imagine, I walk into a family’s living room clad in gloves, face mask and apron; I’m going to look a bit scary.

‘That’s why some staff have made little teddy bear face masks. Rosie the COVID Bear allows them to explain to children why we are doing things differently, and how we are trying to keep everyone safe from the virus,’ she added.

‘It’s a fun way to engage, to help children relax and talk to staff.

‘We visit many families because they’ve become overwhelmed by the challenges of parenting; in many cases made worse by the psychological pressures of COVID-19; the whole family trying to live, work and learn 24/7 under one roof.

‘Parents often appreciate the more creative ways we’ve come up with to talk to their children.’

Ms Henshall said she can empathise with these family challenges. Like so many of us, she has found the life-changes resulting from COVID-19 difficult and frustrating.

‘I love running; I’ve completed the Oxford half-marathon in the past. But mass participation events are cancelled this year. So, I make a special effort to put on my trainers and jog around the block in my spare time. It gets me out of the house, keeps me fit, eases the stress, and helps me focus. Exercise charges my ‘creative batteries’ too!’

Oxfordshire County Council’s director of public health, Ansaf Azhar, added: ‘Annelies and her team are taking great care to abide by national guidelines that are keeping us as safe as possible. I urge everyone in Oxfordshire to continue to follow her example. Don’t relax and give COVID-19 the advantage. Together we can stop the spread.’


Photo Credit – Alexas_Fotos (Pixabay)

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