Tuesday 14th April – Latest toy industry reaction to coronavirus outbreak

Published on: 14th April 2020

Here’s Toy World’s latest roundup, including how Lego, Spin Master, Wilton Bradley and John Lewis are supporting healthcare workers.

The Lego Group has teamed up with charity Fairy Bricks, which brings Lego play to sick children in hospital and hospices throughout the UK, to provide more than 30,000 Lego sets to children of NHS workers. The donation forms part of a global commitment from the Lego Group to support children and families impacted by COVID-19.

The Lego Group is also donating more than £200,000 to UK children’s charities, to ensure children have access to essential supplies and continued development through learning. Over 500,000 sets will be donated to children in need around the world, as well as $50m to children’s charities.

Spin Master’s product development team has devised an ingenious way to create face shields using headbands from the company’s Hedbanz game. The bands are fitted with PET inserts in order to provide PPE for healthcare workers. The first shipment of face shields was delivered to a hospital in Toronto, and Spin Master has since increased capacity to more than 10,000 units per day. The face shields will initially be shipped to hospitals in North America, with plans in place to increase distribution globally.

Wilton Bradley has ring-fenced a large stock of Bestway Inflatable Airbeds for donating to NHS staff to help during the crisis. The company is keen to implement a national roll-out and offer Airbeds to hospitals across the country for free, in order to support medical teams. The flocked airbeds can deflate and pack away easily and be inflated in minutes to provide a single bed sized mattress. Manual hand pumps are also available, to avoid any restrictions on electrical items being bought into hospitals.

The John Lewis Partnership has committed to designing and building a wellbeing centre for staff and volunteers at the new Nightingale Hospital, situated on the site of the ExCel centre in London. The space promises to be “specifically designed for all staff to have a space of sanctuary when they need help or time out to relax from their extremely challenging environment.”

The retailer has also teamed up with the British Medical Association to deliver care packages to NHS staff working in high pressure clinical areas at UK hospitals. Based on advice from the BMA, the packages include items such as deodorant, shaving foam, hand cream, antibacterial hand gel and lip balm, as well as snack food, tea, coffee and socks, plus a wellbeing leaflet with information about a new 24/7 counselling service and guidance from the BMA.

Further assistance is being provided to NHS staff in the shape of accommodation for on-call NHS key workers at the John Lewis Partnership’s Leckford Estate in Hampshire. Twelve lodges usually reserved for John Lewis staff have been made available to healthcare professionals who mainly work at the Royal County Hampshire Hospital in Winchester.

A $100m fund launched by ViacomCBS will provide support to the crew members, actors and filmmakers whose livelihoods have been impacted by the production shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds will also support grants by the Motion Picture & Television Fund and The Actors Fund, along with the work of other charitable organizations.

A programme has also been announced to match up to $1,000 per year of charitable contributions from full-time employees of the company, at vice president level and below. The initiative will be introduced in the US and UK, before extending to other regions.

ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish commented: “I couldn’t be prouder of how our company has come together to provide relief and support to those who need it.”

ViacomCBS’s channels and social media accounts have been used to thank first responders and to encourage consumers to social distance.

Goliath has seen high sales from its new card game, Virus, which has proved a timely release this year. The US team has announced that all profits made from the game during the month of April will be donated directly to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.

The company has also donated puzzles and games to local medical and community centres. “As our community continues to shelter in place to help flatten the curve, we hope puzzles and games are a way to strengthen bonds and ease the anxiety,” commented US director of marketing, Mary Higbe.

Following a deluge of stories, pictures and videos of people using FaceTime, Zoom etc. to play games of Articulate! with their loved ones, Drumond Park has decided to make the original cards from the popular game available online, for free. To make it easier for people who are apart to enjoy the game, the company has designed a special web page for remote players, who are also invited to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #PlayArticulate. “We hope this works for you; stay indoors, keep the nation and our critical workers safe, and have a good laugh and a chat over a great game,” reads a statement on the Drumond Park website.



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