1793. Charlotte Liebling
Charlotte Liebling, from Bedfordshire, founded ‘Loved Before’ which has restored thousands of children’s teddies, promoting sustainability and donating 50% of profits to charity.
Charlotte was inspired to set up the initiative after volunteering in her local charity shop and seeing many damaged toys going to landfill. She was struck that many of these toys, which often hold sentimental value, could be easily mended and continued to be valued by other children. Through ‘Loved Before’, Charlotte sources donations of toys, which are all washed, restored, and photographed before a profile is added to a website, which serves as a soft toy adoption agency where anyone can get in touch to purchase a toy.
In a personal letter to Charlotte, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was astonished to learn of the scale of ‘Loved Before’ and how you have restored over 10,000 unwanted soft toys that were destined for landfill. This is a fantastic innovation which makes the UK cleaner and greener and also, by preserving these cherished toys, you are helping the next generation of children to create new memories.
“There are so many brilliant ways to reduce household waste and you are helping families to become more sustainable in a simple but impactful way.”
Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire, said:
“‘Loved Before’ is a brilliant concept helping us all to waste less and stop sending so much to landfill. I am very inspired by what Charlotte has done and I hope others will follow her example.”
“What a wonderful surprise and great honour to receive such a lovely reward. The fight against climate change is one which we must unfortunately all share, but a scenario I truly believe we can change if we work together. The toy industry holds huge power in the fight for a better future, not only in our everyday actions but also via the lessons we can teach our children, and leaders of tomorrow. We might not fix the climate crisis through soft toys alone, but I believe what we can teach through the medium of teddies is invaluable in creating the best future possible. I’d like to dedicate this award to everyone that has been part of our journey so far.”