As a child friendly Leeds Ambassador you can wonder ‘what can I do? How can I make that difference?’.
It can seem especially challenging when you look at the amazing work already done to improve lives for children across Leeds. The difference a teacher makes to a student’s future opportunities. The care worker that safeguards our most vulnerable. Third sector organisations too, be it voluntary youth clubs or targeted charity support for those with a greater need, there’s some serious stuff they are all helping improve.
I want to add my voice to that virtual crowd of day-in day-out heroes roaring ‘Child friendly Leeds’! I want to have easyStelios and the phone network quaking in fear that the monopoly on the colour orange is over!
Back in September I kick-started a few ideas as part of my Ambassadorial pledge. One was a Takeover day for Tour de France, where young people could get involved in plans the event, and I talk about this in my next blog. This blog post however, is about an idea hatched with my 3 year old daughter. I was off on a cycling tour of Italy (minus family!) and Chloe gave one of her teddies to me to keep an eye on Daddy – a good plan! We stuck a CFL badge on Ted and @LeedsTed was born! Though his Twitter following is modest, Ted has become a little celebrity around the world. Ted for me is great for a few reasons. It’s fun taking him away and tweeting about his #tedadventures. In fact it is addictive – ask anyone that’s done it! Ted can get you into all sorts of conversations and new experiences whilst trailblazing the Leeds global child friendly message. Importantly, anyone can do it – you don’t have to have kids, but being a child at heart helps!
All of Ted’s followers can enjoy his adventure from the comfort of their phone, tablet or whatever. Everything Ted does can be used for learning about where he is, what he is doing, what makes somewhere child friendly and so on. It’s a chance for parents to share a bit of the wider world and perhaps use it to make up a bedtime story about Ted’s adventures. Teachers could use him as a hook for geography, history, language – anything! His first 800KM was with me on a bike around Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. Since then he has done the obligatory kingdom of Yorkshire, hopped over to France, Monaco, Holland, New Zealand and most recently Christmas and New Year in Australia.
A pretty well-travelled bear in only a few months and some awesome experiences. Anyone reading this should consider taking him somewhere. REALLY! It doesn’t have to be far-flung. He’s even slept rough with homeless charity Simon on the Streets and the only limit to what you do with him is your imagination. Everyone who meets Ted takes to him straight away and the feedback via Twitter is kids love him. He might not change the world but he can certainly make a lot of people smile whilst sharing the child friendly Leeds message.
If you want to take Ted away, email LeedsTed@outlook.com with dates in mind. He can’t wait! Be the Ted!
Would you like to play your part in helping to make Leeds a child friendly city? If you would like to find out more about child friendly Leeds or becoming an ambassador, you’ll find information at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org