5 Hopeful News Stories to Make you Smile
In this week’s instalment of Good News, James Gill rounds off July with some hopeful news stories that are sure to put a bounce in your step as August approaches.
1. NATURE – Back from the red
Map showing reported #redsquirrel sightings between 2018 to present; indicative of red squirrel range across northern England.
Records are thanks to the collective effort of rangers, members of the public, community volunteer groups and individual volunteers. pic.twitter.com/T1Ex9hV6qF
— RSNE (@RedSquirrelsNE) July 28, 2020
Is it just, or are grey squirrels getting way too tame? A walk in the park can turn into a terrified sprint as our furry friends tend to get a little too close (BALANCE wishes it had their confidence).
Well, good news comes in the form of the smaller – and more endangered – red squirrel, which has been spotted in Cumbria. There have now been two sightings of the red squirrel – in Forest Head, south of Brampton, and Greenwell – and we’re all hopeful that a full comeback is on the cards.
“It is more likely to be good news when you see more red squirrels in areas because it could relate to the density of population, they are expanding and looking for new territory,” explains Paul Bassindale of the Brampton and District Red Squirrel Group. As any football fan will tell you, it really has been a great few weeks for the reds.
2. FOOTBALL – Sarri seems to be the hardest word
Maurizio Sarri’s journey to the TOP of Italian football is absolutely INSANE.
From the 8th division while working as a banker in 1990, to CHAMPION of the top flight 30 yrs later. One of the craziest journeys for a coach in football history.
Inspirational. Happy for Maurizio ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HCiuNHK56K
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) July 26, 2020
Speaking of football, and a hugely inspiring story from Italy, where Maurizio Sarri has won his first-ever league title at the age of 61 years and six months, becoming the oldest manager ever to win Italian football’s most-sacred prize.
So what, you might think.
Well, the cigarette-loving Juventus coach was working in a bank into his 40s and has slowly climbed the football ladder from the lower echelons in a career spanning 20 years. After Juve wrapped up the Scudetto title on Sunday night, he says: “I told them, if you won with me who has never won anything, you must be really good. The first day you come in, you see people, not just world-class players. As time passes, you get fond of them and the rapport goes from being strictly professional to personal too. The first day, I step into the locker room and know there are some top players. After a while, you walk in there knowing there are some great guys you can rely on too. It has a special feeling, of course. It’s difficult to win, it becomes even more complicated to keep winning, as taking something for granted in sport is one of the biggest lies in the world.”
The title is Juventus’s ninth in succession, and Sarri adds: “It was not a walk in the park. It was long, difficult, stressful, and this squad deserves a lot of credit for continuing to find the hunger and determination to keep going after eight wins in a row. I left the field because I was trying to avoid getting a bucket of water thrown over me, as it was obviously on its way, but I didn’t manage to get away.”
If anyone has seen the footage of Sarri looking at his Europa League medal with Chelsea (his first-ever winner’s medal) will attest, it’s hard not to have a soft spot for Sarri – who inspires hopeful feelings in many. BALANCE just wishes he’d stop smoking.
3. ANIMALS – Four legs good
Over on today's blog we take a look at an open letter signed by vets, charities and animal-loving celebrities calling for people to watch out for unscrupulous puppy and kitten sellers as part of Defra’s ‘Petfished’ campaign. https://t.co/iu99Po8jfE pic.twitter.com/tOysgWJo5B
— Defra UK (@DefraGovUK) July 23, 2020
Kirsty Gallagher, Paul O’Grady, Amanda Holden and many more animal-loving celebrities have joined forces to warn the public against deceitful pet sellers. To combat a dark trend known as “Pet-fishing”, the government campaign targets unscrupulous pet sellers, who have been taking advantage of the public since lockdown started in March.
Online marketplace Preloved reports that the number of pet listings have increased by nearly 50 per cent across lockdown, and it anticipates a further boom in adverts as summer continues. Indeed, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association has revealed it is continuing to see cases of sick puppies and kittens who have been sold through dishonest sellers in recent months.
This trend known as pet-fishing – similar to cat-fishing, but with pets – is where an aspiring and hopeful pet owner sees an animal for sale online, only to end up buying one that’s sick and in desperate need of care.
TV presenter Kirsty explains: “My dogs mean the world to me and pets bring joy to so many. It’s shocking to hear the lengths deceitful sellers go to when selling pets and sadly this can mean animals come from low-welfare conditions with distressing consequences. As pet lovers, we should take responsibility by always researching the seller before buying a new pet to ensure our four-legged friends live happy and healthy lives.”
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss says: “Prospective pet owners must beware of sinister sellers out there who breed animals purely for profit with zero concern for their welfare. The devastating consequences include crippling vet bills and, in the worst cases, animals having to be put down. It’s vitally important that people not only research the breed of animal they want but also the person selling it to them.”
And Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith adds: “At this time when more people are looking for pets it is more important than ever that buyers do their research and ensure they go to a reputable seller. Following the introduction of Lucy’s Law earlier this year, everyone must now buy directly from breeders or consider adopting from rescue centres. So please look out for the warning signs and report any suspicious activity.”
Anyone looking to buy a pet can get tips and advice on the Petfished campaign website.
4. LOTTERY – Way to go, Joe
It’s time for some good news! 📰
— National Lottery Good Causes (@LottoGoodCauses) July 22, 2020
In what universe would the comedian Joe Wilkinson be a newsreader? His outrageous antics and madcap set-pieces made him a huge favourite on 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, but he’s not exactly Moira Stewart.
Well, when it comes to delivering snippets of good and hopeful news, Joe is your man. The beloved British funnyman has teamed up with the National Lottery to report on nationwide nuggets of uplifting and hopeful stories known as The Good News Bulletin.
And Joe explains: “Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to help communities throughout the UK amid the coronavirus crisis. The Good News Bulletin features how people and projects have rallied together to support each other during lockdown. I promise you there won’t be any zoom quizzes or online Zumba but just a few heart-warming stories and terrific tales of, well, good news and great people.”
In the first episode, viewers will learn more about Little Village, a London charity who provide clothes, toys and equipment for children under five. And Sophia Parker, Chief Executive of Little Village, says: “We’re delighted to take part in the National Lottery Good News Bulletin to showcase the work we do to tackle and raise awareness of child poverty. Little Village is like a food bank, but for baby clothes, nappies, toys and equipment, we support families who are struggling across London. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have seen a 66% rise in demand for help and the grant we received from The National Lottery has helped enable us to provide families with essential items that kids need to thrive. We don’t think it is right that so many children under the age of five in London are growing up in poverty and we hope Little Village can also be a force for change.”
To make a nomination for this year’s National Lottery Awards, tweet @LottoGoodCauses with your suggestions or complete an entry form here. Entries must be received by midnight on 19th August 2020. The National Lottery’s Good News Bulletin will run for five weeks; episode one is available to watch here. Did you know, £30 million is raised every week on average by National Lottery players for projects big and small across the country. To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors across the UK to date, visit the National Lottery Good Causes website.
5. HEALTH – Watching the weight
We’re taking action to help you fight obesity by:
➡️Banning adverts for high fat, salt or sugar products on TV and online before 9pm
➡️Calorie labelling in restaurants, cafes and takeaways
➡️Ending promotion of high fat, sugar or salt products in store and online
This is why 👇 pic.twitter.com/SmdXXaRQLU
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) July 27, 2020
Boris Johnson has revealed that he’s lost a stone in weight by watching what he eats and exercising. I mean, that does tend to do the trick. Now, he’s feeling hopeful that the rest of the country will start to watch what it eats – given many of us haven’t exactly been a picture of health during lockdown (BALANCE winces at the sheer volume of cheese eaten since March).
And the Prime Minister says: “I’m not normally a believer in nannying or bossing type of politics, but the reality is that obesity is one of the real co-morbidity factors. Losing weight is frankly one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid.”
It’s part of the Government’s new anti-obesity strategy, which could also see online junk food ads banned before 9pm. And care minister Helen Whately adds: “You’re at greater risk of getting Covid, greater risk of complications, greater risk – very sadly – of dying from Covid, if you are overweight.”
Got a good news story? Email James on email@example.com