Four Good News Stories to Smile About
With lovely weather to enjoy, and lockdown restrictions lifting, there’s lots to smile about this week. James Gill is here to bring even more positivity, with this week’s round-up of Good News stories.
SPORT – In a hurry for the new Murray
Controversial comment klaxon: Andy Murray winning Wimbledon didn’t really pay off in the way we sports fans hoped it would. I’m not trying to be some sort of contrarian columnist when I say that. It is, unfortunately, simply how things have played out.
When Murray first won Wimbledon in 2013, the common hope was that it would inspire a wave of top tennis talent. And, well, seven years later and it just hasn’t happened.
Much of the problem, it seems, is that tennis is still regarded as an elite sport; working class kids are more likely to kick a ball around a park rather than reach for a tennis racket. Football, not tennis, is the sport that captures the hearts and minds of the masses (I’m a Crystal Palace fan, and we rely on gifted south Londoners passing through our ranks).
And so BALANCE is hugely enthused by this terrific piece of good news. New initiative – #PlayYourWay – is aimed at winning over more youngsters from more diverse backgrounds. The idea is that we play tennis however and wherever we like – rather than relying on a court. That way, if a court isn’t an option, kids might simply head off to the park to knock a ball around.
It’s seen the Lawn Tennis Association team up with artist Marcus Method to encourage kids to decorate their tennis balls, with young people hopefully letting their collective imagination run wild. Marcus shares his tips:
- You could try basing your design on your name or initials! Add patterns and colours inside of around the letters to make it unique.
- To make it easier to draw on your ball, why not place it in an egg cup to stop it rolling around.
- Use a pen that is permanent. Try using fabric marker pens, Sharpies or paint pens such as Posca.
- Try adding designs to the lines of the ball. This could be patterns, stripes or even text.
- Why not use your hobbies and interests as inspiration for your design, such as your favourite music, TV shows, YouTubers or games etc.
- When adding colours start with the light colours first and then darker ones later, this will stop them mixing together.
Adam Hewlett, Head of Brand Marketing at the LTA, says: “Marcus encapsulates the Play Your Way ethos through the workshops and talks that he leads, which help people break into the creative industry. Addressing core barriers to entry is exactly what we’re doing with tennis and Play Your Way. We want to demonstrate that anyone can get involved, no matter their age, background or ability. Tennis celebrates unique styles and creativity and we want to bring that to life by encouraging players – new to the game or old hands – to add their own spin to the ball. We can’t wait to see what people come up with”.
And Marcus adds: “A main driving force behind my work is the desire to create a unique visual identity while exploring themes that are of interest to me. The LTA’s Play Your Way campaign which aims to create a more inclusive world around tennis and celebrates individualism draws parallels with a big inspiration of mine. My work practices champion inclusivity in the art world and so I’m excited to be working on this campaign with the LTA to encourage all types of people to pick up a racquet and start to play.”
DIVERSITY – Backing black
This 1 August marks Black Pound Day, an initiative aimed at encouraging shoppers to support the growth of the black economy in the UK. The idea has been inspired by Black Lives Matter, and one UK business owner championing the idea is Nohelia Rambal, who founded the Do-Gooders platform in 2019.
A fabulous piece of good news, Nohelia has personally seen more than 70 black and mixed-raced UK business owners get involved via her hugely successful Do-Gooders, which is a directory of sustainable brands.
And Nohelia says: “The response was incredible, so far more than 70 black-owned brands of all sizes have signed up and showed interest”
The Do-Gooders stand with those who have been victims of inequality and racism. “We wanted to do more and went for what we do best: joined dozens of socially and environmentally conscious brands to create a community that’s stronger together. Helping customers discover black- owned businesses and show their support and solidarity too.”
TECHNOLOGY – Ten out of ten
Certain aspects of lockdown life will not stick around. Remember family video chats or virtual house parties? They didn’t last long. However, the good news is that it seems video technology will see patients continue to use online clinical consultations.
One such place has been Ten Health & Fitness, which has a clinical care and physiotherapy department. Ten has been carrying out virtual prescriptive exercise sessions to clinical patients, such as those with cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
And it’s a service that seems set to stay, as Adam Hewitt, head of TenClinical, explains: “The virtual sessions have proved incredibly beneficial, not only for our current patients but also for a completely new group as well. Before Covid-19 we only treated people in clinic, so they had to physically be able to get to us. We have now been able to reach patients who are unable to walk and move significantly, which has been truly fantastic. These people need a huge amount of care and attention to build their strength, mobility, coordination and motor patterns, and this can all be done from their own home over a video call.”
He adds: “The virtual sessions have allowed us to focus on the people who arguably need us the most,” continued Hewitt. “It is the most rewarding thing to see a patient gain strength and confidence, helping someone from being almost immobile to being able to function and even join a group class is unbelievable. We will continue to offer virtual sessions as we appreciate many patients are uncomfortable or unable to visit us in clinic – so this is the perfect solution.”
One reason why virtual sessions are so useful is because clients can be helped around the globe, as Joanne Mathews, founder of Ten Health & Fitness, explains: “The opportunity for us to help a much wider scope of people is what is driving us to continue this offering. We want people to have this option and we have some of the most qualified clinical exercise professionals available to help them. We’re hoping that providing this service will also help ease some of the pressure on other medical organisations such as the NHS.”
HEALTH – An injection of positivity
As we often say in our Good News section: sometimes cautious optimism is best when it comes to perceived breakthroughs in medicine. However, there is breaking news as we type: the government has signed deals for 90 million coronavirus vaccines.
Before you think this is a case of “problem solved”, these vaccines can only be regarded as hopeful, rather than guaranteed. The government now has deals in place with a team-up between BioNtech and Pfizer, as well as the firm Valneva and an existing deal with AstraZeneca and its development of an Oxford vaccine.
However, Kate Bingham, of the government’s Vaccine Taskforce, urged caution before we all head to the streets for a mask-free conga: “The fact that we have so many promising candidates already shows the unprecedented pace at which we are moving. But I urge against being complacent or over optimistic. The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms.”
Got a good news story? Email James on firstname.lastname@example.org