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Walking the Talk
New LEGO Initiatives Fostering Empathic Learning, Brick Circularity

In the US, LEGO’s ‘Community Builders Challenge’ builds on Comic Relief US’s Red Nose Day in School program; while it brings its LEGO Replay brick take-back program to the UK.

Comic Relief US & LEGO Group’s ‘Community Builders Challenge’ inspires students to reimagine inclusive communities

Image credit: LEGO Group

This week, Comic Relief US and the LEGO Group launched the nationwide "Community Builders Challenge," leveraging their shared vision of empowering children to inspire real-world change. The collaboration, part of the LEGO Group's Build the Change social-impact program and Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day in School program, invites kids to use their creativity in visualizing changes they'd like to see in the world — combining the power of entertainment and imagination to reimagine ideal communities that are safe and accessible for all.

"Red Nose Day is all about leveraging creativity and fun to ensure that every young person is equipped with the skills, opportunities and confidence to transform the world around them," said Alison Moore, CEO of Comic Relief US. "By partnering with the LEGO Group, we'll be reaching thousands of young changemakers — leveraging the LEGO Group's innovation and commitment to collaboration to inspire real-world change and to foster inclusion and kindness."

Since 2015, Red Nose Day — Comic Relief US' signature campaign to end poverty across four key areas: health, safety, education, and empowerment — has raised over $370 million and positively impacted more than 35 million children and young people in the US and around the world. Donations are invested in grantee partners and social impact programs that ensure children are safe, healthy, educated and empowered; and that address the root causes of poverty in the most impacted communities.

Through Red Nose Day in School — a free, social emotional learning (SEL) educational program designed to teach young students about the impacts of poverty on children, foster empathy building, and celebrate acts of kindness in the classroom and beyond — Comic Relief US aims to give teachers fun and engaging tools to educate young students about the impacts of poverty on children, foster empathy building, and celebrate acts of kindness in the classroom.

As part of its mission to give children a voice and use their visions and ideas to inspire leaders around the world, LEGO Group’s Build the Change program provides tools for educators, partners and families to teach and engage children on sustainability topics such as biodiversity, climate change and circular economy.

"We are very excited to be partnering with our friends at Comic Relief US,” said David Pallash, Senior Manager of Build the Change at LEGO Group. “The playfulness and fun we have created together will hopefully ignite incredible ideas from across the country — ideas that will, in turn, inspire others to better the world around them. How awesome is that!"

In classrooms across the country, students ages 6 to 12 can work together using any material of their choice — from LEGO bricks to feathers to popsicle sticks — to reimagine and build "dream communities" that promote empathy and kindness for others. Kids are encouraged to construct designs that can feature more inclusive areas where communities can come together, empowering each child to take an active part in imagining a brighter collective future — with every build including a spot for the signature Red Nose, a symbol of positivity and inclusion for all, at its heart.

Teachers and educators can participate by downloading the step-by-step lesson guide and interactive activity sheet. Participating classes then enter by submitting a photo or video of their community through April 15, 2024. Entries will be judged by a panel of Red Nose Day ambassadors and LEGO enthusiasts, with winners announced in May.

The Community Builders Challenge is an extension of the Build the Change program that gives children a voice and allows them to use their creativity to solve challenges with LEGO bricks and other creative materials as they learn through play. To ensure all children have access to materials for the Community Builders Challenge, teachers of Title 1 schools can request LEGO Replay kits — which keep used LEGO bricks in play — at rednoseday.org/LEGO while supplies last.


LEGO expands LEGO Replay brick take-back service to the UK

Image credit: LEGO Group

Meanwhile, speaking of LEGO Replay, LEGO is piloting its brick take-back service in the UK — and inviting fans to weigh in as the company tests how to bring playful learning to more children and stop LEGO bricks becoming waste.

The good news is that most people in the UK already have a plan for any LEGO bricks they no longer need: According to research conducted in 2021 among 1,030 UK LEGO owners, 94 percent of families who’ve decided to pass them on do so to friends, family, charities or local schools; or they sell them — helping to ensure LEGO bricks stay in play.

For anyone that doesn’t know what to do with their unused LEGO bricks, LEGO Replay provides an easy option for ensuring those bricks continue to inspire play and creativity for children.

The new pilot program will test new uses for the bricks donated by families and fans in the UK. During this exploratory phase, the returned used bricks will be recycled into new items that support learning in schools — such as storage boxes for toys.

LEGO will work with charity partners such as In Kind Direct to fill every new storage box with LEGO bricks before they are distributed to schools and community centers around the UK to help inspire play and creativity.

“We’re really proud that so many of our fans in the UK already pass the joy of LEGO play to others,” said LEGO Group VP of Environmental Sustainability Tim Brooks. “Piloting LEGO Replay in the UK is an important step on our journey to becoming more circular. We want to rehome, repurpose or recycle every LEGO brick to keep them in play for longer. We hope LEGO Replay will help even more people donate their LEGO bricks with ease and feel proud they are supporting playful learning for children across the country.”

LEGO Replay launched in the US in 2019 and expanded to Canada in 2021. So far, over 230 million LEGO bricks have been donated by North American families — giving 300,000 children-in-need playful learning opportunities and preventing LEGO bricks from going to waste.

To donate used bricks to LEGO Replay, UK fans can pack up any unused bricks in any box, print out a freepost label from LEGO.com/Replay-UK and ship them from any DPD Drop Shop across England, Scotland and Wales. A freepost service for LEGO fans in Northern Ireland will be available soon.

LEGO says it looks forward to receiving live feedback from fans about how they like to donate, and testing new ways to provide play and learning opportunities for children by repurposing our products.

The UK LEGO Replay trial is one part of LEGO Group’s ambition to continue to advance circular capabilities and concepts — which the company has transparently admitted remains a challenge. Last fall, the company came clean about ongoing challenges around its commitment to make LEGO bricks from sustainable materials and committed to triple spending on sustainability over four years to $1.4 billion.

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