Soft Toys for Education campaign immortalises Claudia Winkleman, James Nesbitt, Arthur Darvill, Stephen Graham and Ashley Jensen as talking soft toys

Today IKEA unveils six animated videos of soft toys voiced by celebrities including Strictly host Claudia Winkleman, Dr Who actor Arthur Darvill, actress Nina Wadia, and TV and film stars Ashley Jensen, James Nesbitt and Stephen Graham. The celebrity inspired furry friends tell the stories of children living in poverty in developing countries who have been supported by the €67 million raised by IKEA customers.

The short films give listeners a fairy-tale style story read by some of the country’s best loved personalities. The films bring to life how the money raised by IKEA customers has helped children around the world gain a quality education and the hope of a brighter future. 

For every soft toy purchased as part of the Soft Toys for Education campaign between now and 27th December 2014, the IKEA Foundation will donate 1 euro to support educational projects run by Save the Children and UNICEF around the world. These projects are changing the lives of millions of children, such as those featured in the films.  Since 2003 the campaign has reached more than 11 million children, but there are millions more children who still aren’t able to go to school and get the education they deserve. 

Strictly host Claudia Winkleman, who lends her voice to a panda soft toy, said: “It was an honour to be involved with the great work IKEA is doing with Save the Children and UNICEF. It is such an engaging way to bring the stories of these children to life and to raise awareness for this great cause.”

Actress Ashley Jensen, who lends her voice to a fairy soft toy said: “I’m thrilled to support this campaign and would encourage everyone to buy an IKEA soft toy so that Save the Children and UNICEF can continue their vital work to ensure all children have access to quality education.”

Film star James Nesbitt said: ““Every child should be able to go to school and get an education, but millions across the world are in danger of missing out. That’s why it’s a real privilege to be involved in the campaign and help UNICEF and Save the Children in their amazing work so that every child has the chance of a brighter future.” 

Carol McSeveney Children’s IKEA sales leader said, “At IKEA, we see children as the most important people in the world. We believe every child has the right to a healthy, secure childhood and access to quality education, no matter where in the world they live. And because we value doing things together, we turn to our soft toys for help”. 

“We know from our research that 18% of the British public have imaginary friends, which take the form of a teddy or soft toy so we wanted to fire their imaginations this year by getting our teddies to do the talking.

“We hope that the irresistible voices of some of our best loved TV and film stars, together with this year’s magical range of soft toys really helps to get our message out there. So pick up a soft toy from IKEA this year and give more children the opportunity to receive a quality education.” 

In addition to the UNICEF and Save the Children projects, local charitable causes will be supported as part of IKEA’s ‘Give Twice’ scheme. Customers can choose to buy an additional soft toy and then drop it into ‘Give Twice’ boxes at the exit of each store. Donated soft toys will then be given to local charities. 

This year the campaign aims to raise €700,000 in the UK & Ireland, to add to a global total of €67 million raised since it began in 2003, supporting more than 11 million children through 99 projects in 46 different countries.

The 2015 soft toys range starts from just 80p for the GULLEPLUTT finger puppets.

To watch the videos please visit:

Arthur Darvill: 
Ashley Jensen:
James Nesbitt:
Nina Wadia:
Stephen Graham:
Claudia Winkleman:


Notes for editors:

For more information, please contact: Joe English, UNICEF UK Press Office | | +44 (0) 207 375 6091

About Unicef:
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit

About IKEA Group 
Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 315 stores in 27 countries. In addition there are more than 40 stores run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 716 million visitors during FY14 and 1.5 billion people visited

About Save the Children
Save the Children works in 120 countries. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential. For more information, please visit