How incredibly cute is this basket of beauties? They're called 'DARE bears' and are bringing comfort and reassurance to some of the children who visit our Families and Parenting Service.

DARE is the name of our Domestic Abuse Recovery and Education programme and the last course at our centre in Cowgate, Newcastle ended with every child taking a DARE bear home with them - some of the adults couldn't resist one too! 

These nurturing knits were kindly donated to us by the fabulous 'Two Maureens' of North East Ambulance Service - that's Maureen Johnson or MoJo and Maureen Morien, pictured below with Lindsey Wilson, centre, who delivered the course.

Mandy Brown, team manager at our Families and Parenting Service, said the bears are a lovely way for children who have been on the DARE programme to remember the things they learn on it.

"They're a little reminder for them that there's always someone here to help and who cares about them and their families we hope the children will cuddle their bears and remember that," Mandy said.

We have further DARE courses running in the coming months so, if any of you lovely people out there would like to try their hand at knitting a DARE bear, here's the pattern below. Good luck!!

How to knit a DARE bear

YOU WILL NEED: • Double Knit yarns. Mixed, bright colours for clothing and a separate colour for body such as fawn. Small amount of black or dark coloured yarn for stitching face. • Size 11 (3mm) knitting needles. A stitch holder or large safety pin would be useful. • Stuffing - use polyester or equivalent; foam rubber is not recommended.

KEY: Garter stitch: - all rows are knitted in stocking stitch: - one row knit, one row purl


Paws and trousers: Using main teddy colour cast on 10 stitches and proceed in garter stitch for 10 rows. Change to trouser colour and continue in garter stitch for 30 rows. Break off yarn and repeat, casting on again for other leg. (Stitches can be left on pin or stitch holder for ease). Using garter stitch and trouser colour, knit across all 20 stitches and work 16 rows.

Jumper: Change to jumper colour and work 24 rows.

Head and Face: Change to main teddy colour and in stocking stitch work 5.5 inches/12cm. Change back to jumper colour and in garter stitch work 24 rows. Continue working in reverse order to complete legs and paws. Stitch a happy face onto the front of your teddy’s head using back or stem stitch in black or dark coloured yarn.

Fold knitting in half at top of head to locate position. On wrong side, stitch sides of head together then turn right way.

Arms: Pick up 8 stitches either side of neck join (16 in total) and in garter stitch work 20 rows. Change to main teddy colour for paws and work a further 10 rows. Cast off. Repeat for other arm.

Making up

To Make Up: On wrong side, stitch up teddy with relevant colours leaving an opening in crotch for stuffing. Turn to right side. Stitch across corners of head for ears before stuffing. (Please use a safe stuffing, we do NOT recommend foam rubber). Stuff rest of teddy and finish stitching crotch area.

Run a thread around the neck area and draw in slightly to create better shape. For the scarf: Cast on 75 stitches in bright coloured yarn and using garter stitch work 4 rows and cast off. Tie round neck and stitch securely to back of neck. Do not stitch down at front.

Once you're done... 

THANKYOU for your DARE bear – feel free to give him or her a name. Then please post or deliver to: Children North East, 89 Denhill Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE15 6QE