A brave bear knitted as part of the project

Brave Bears take over Mansfield Central Library!

Inspire’s Brave Bears: The Teddy Bears Picnic exhibition at Mansfield Central Library opened its doors last week, celebrating the extraordinary efforts of crafters across the region who have spent the last four months knitting and crocheting comfort bears for children in times of need.

Hundreds of Nottinghamshire crafters embraced this years’ Inspire Charity Knitting Challenge, which takes place each spring annually, collectively handcrafting 850 Brave Bears which will be on public display at the library until Wednesday 27th September 2023 before they go on to be distributed by Nottinghamshire Police.

Inspire’s annual Charity Knitting Challenge has become an enormous success in Nottinghamshire libraries. Each year Inspire supports a different charity and calls out to local crafting groups and individuals that want to take part – with overwhelming response. 2023’s Brave Bears challenge has been supported by Nottinghamshire County Council, Miner2Major Landscape Partnership Scheme, Nottinghamshire Police, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Creative Lives. Nottinghambased textile designer Megan Crook designed the Brave Bear knitting and crochet patterns, decorated with a special Sherwood Forest acorn motif as a nod to the local area.

Knitters have gone above and beyond this year, adding their own personal flair to the challenge. From cosy woolly scarves to dapper bow ties, and bears of various
sizes, every Brave Bear on the wall has its own personality. No teddy bear’s picnic is complete without its own mini knitted feast, a delightful addition to the exhibition which was kindly donated by Cotgrave Library Crafters.

Peter Gaw, INSPIRE, Chief Executive commented:

“Our brave bears have captured the community this year! The bears have transformed Mansfield Library’s walls and are delighting visitors coming in to use the library services. We’re overwhelmed by the response from our knitters, whose efforts will go on to help local charities support children during challenging times. A huge thankyou to our partners and everyone that got involved, the charity challenge would not be possible without the enthusiasm and talents of so many crafters year after year”.

Steve Little, Scheme Manager at Miner2Major, said:

“What an amazing response by Nottinghamshire crafters to this year’s Inspire Charity Knitting Challenge. Hundreds of Brave Bears of different sizes and colours looking fabulous in their acorn jumpers and ready to bring comfort. Go and see them at Mansfield library before they go off on their next adventure!”.

Steve Cooper, Deputy Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, said:

“Nottinghamshire Police are delighted to support this year’s Charity Knitting Challenge project and proud to be part of such a wonderful community scheme. We work alongside some amazing Charities and Groups supporting children in times of need and we can ensure each Brave Bear becomes a friend to a child in crisis”.

Brave Bears: The Teddy Bear’s Picnic Exhibition will be at Mansfield Central Library until Wednesday 27th September 2023.

For further information about the exhibition, visit Inspire Libraries website: Brave Bears: The Teddy Bears Picnic Exhibition | Inspire – Culture, Learning, Libraries (inspireculture.org.uk)

Learn more about the Inspire Charity Knitting Challenge: Knit, Crochet & Craft in Libraries | Inspire – Culture, Learning, Libraries (inspireculture.org.uk)

Posted on 22 August 2023

Back to the News page

Featured author

Featured author

Jack Woolley