Teddybear Logo UK


Twinning the Elderly Disadvantaged and Disabled with the Young By Enabling Active Reminiscence.


Intergenerational Learning offers benefits for all generations involved. The Grundtvig Learning partnership Teddybear involved older people (50+) from all sectors of the community, including those that are disadvantaged or suffering from disadvantages such as mild dementia/Alzheimer's. They were invited to share their life stories with young children in primary schools, between 6-12 years old.



Teddybear is the project which most closely responds to Europe's changing demographics. The concept of the Teddybear Project is that older learners taking part in reminiscence programmes are given special opportunities to work with children and teenagers who are studying 20th Century history. The sharing with partners in Finland and Italy has been a vital part of the British Council supported Grundtvig project which has had special recognition from European Commission for its excellence in conceptualisation and delivery.



The Commission recognised the Teddybear project as one of the most successful and significant Grundtvig programmes within its remit between 2000-2007, and all those involved in adult education across Europe were invited to draw upon these examples as a rich source of inspiration for their activities in the new Lifelong Learning Programme.



This acknowledgement of the programme's success and the positive impact the project has had on all of its participants and in the local communities was outlined in the document: Gruntvig Success Stories: Europe Creates Opportunities. To view the relevant extract from this document in pdf format click here.


A case study of the project was published in Lline at the end of 2009.  The 'Lifelong Learning in Europe' journal is a trans-european publication dedicated to the advancement of adult education, lifelong learning, intercultural collaboration and best practice research.

To view the article click here.




The Teddybear project

Selected as one of the 20 most significant activities sponsored within the Gruntvig programme 2000-2007. Linking old and young for shared learning.

Teddy Bear Projetki

Hanke on valittu Grundtvig ohjelman 20 parhaan joukoon ohjelmakaudella 2000-2007. Isovanhempi-ikaisia ja lapsia yhdessa oppimassa.

Il Progetto TEDDY BEAR

Selezionato come una delle 20 attivita piu significative sostenute all'interno del programma Gruntvig 2000-2007 Mettere in comunicazione Anziani e Giovani per un Apprendimento Condiviso


Je bil izbran kot eden dvajsetih naspomembnejsih dejavnosti programa Gruntvig met leti 2000 in 2007 Povezovanje starih in mladih za skupno ucenje


Teddybear in the UK


Teddybear Logo UKThe lead for the UK end of the project was in Herfordshire and Staffordshire. The WRVS were active in establishing the project and maintaining it through its three years. Memory maps were used to develop ideas, since the focus of the UK part of the project was reminiscence and sharing memories. Initially co-ordinated by Herefordshire Council and funded by the local Learning & Skills Council, the ECA took over the coordination of the project in March 2006.  





Teddybear in Italy


Itaca logoTeddybear in North-East Italy is working in 4 areas, including the area of Pordenone and the 3 mountainous areas of Claut, Cimolais, and Paularo. A key issue is the number of different languages used in the Friuli region. Itaca is a non profit organisation helping socially excluded groups and links have been made with both Day Centres, Nursing homes, and primary schools.







Teddybear in Finland


Sastamala Community College LogoTeddybear in South-west Finland is based around Sastamala Communtiy College which caters for students from 4 years old to 98 years of age. Rural crafts provide the learning focus for the project, with women embroidering life stories onto traditional Finnish quilts, whilst the men decorate baskets made from split aspen wood. Children of 11-12 years old link with these elderly people in their art and craft classes.





Teddybear in Slovenia


Slovenian Institute of Adult Education logoThe Slovenian Institute of Adult Education were so interested in the Teddybear project that they joined the project in its 3rd year to identify possibilities for further work in it's own nations developing adult education provision.








The Teddybear Project was jointly managed by 4 partners. The ECA represented the UK and  was the project  coordinator. The other 3 partners were: Sastamalan Opisto from Finland, Cooperativa Itaca from Italy, and The Slovenian Institute of Adult Education from Slovenia.



UK FlagSlovenian Flag  Italian Flag Finnish Flag



Teddybear FAQ's

What is the main aim of the project?

To encourage older people, especially those not in learning and/or suffering from the early stages of senile dementia to share their life histories with each other and then bring them together with children to share these life histories.

What are the core objectives of the Teddybear project? 

The first meeting of the partners of the consortium was held in Lucton, Herefordshire, UK, in January 2006. At this meeting the members outlined what they hoped the project would achieve.To view this list of objectives click here

How was the project funded in the UK?

Teddybear had European Socrates funding for 2004/2007 from Grundtvig 2 (Learning Partnership) programme administered by the British Council and latterly by ECOTEC. The adult work in reminiscence courses was funded by the local Learning Skills Councils (LSC) and organised by the WRVS with the help of Herefordshire Council. The school-based work was funded by extended schools (ES) which also funded the production of a 12-15 minute film to support further bids.

Who ran the project?

The Teddybear Project was jointly managed by 4 partners. The ECA represented the UK and was the project  coordinator in the third year when responsibility transferred from Herefordshire Council. The other 3 partners were: Sastamalan Opisto from Finland, Cooperativa Itaca from Italy and The Slovenian Institute of Adult Education.

Which schools from the UK were involved in the project?

St Michael's Primary School, Bodenham - Christine Potts/Jane James.
Clehonger Primary School - Julie Duckworth/Sarah Quarrel/Carol Williams.
WVRS - Riverside Learning Centre, Staffordshire - Ruth Nice/Rhonda Perry/Sam Ward.
In addition Stoke-on-Trent Libraries and the Wedgwood Memorial College contributed to the work