50 good news stories from 2021 so far

Mental Health

To celebrate our 50th issue of Happiful, we’ve put together a list of 50 uplifting, amusing, and heartwarming headlines to put a smile on your face

1. Music fans rejoiced as festivals such as Reading & Leeds, Creamfields, and Rewind plan to go ahead this summer.

2. The town of Tankerton, in Kent, came up with a novel way to lift spirits during lockdown. In February it turned the town’s Christmas lights back on to brighten up the dark evenings.

3. Dr Alex George has officially been appointed as Youth Mental Health Ambassador to the government.

4. As part of its efforts to become a carbon neutral company, Swedish furniture store IKEA has bought 11,000 acres of woodland in Georgia, USA, to preserve the forest after it seemed likely to be land used for development.

5. Sporting legend Michael Jordan donated $10 million to open health clinics in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. His generous contribution means people who are either uninsured or underinsured, can afford essential medical care.

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6. French nun Lucile Randon became the oldest person to recover from Covid-19 in February, just in time for her 117th birthday!

7. The Bank of England revealed the new face of £50 notes, which will feature pioneer mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing. His work to decipher Enigma machine messages during World War II saved countless lives and helped bring the war to an end sooner.

8. Free mental health text service SHOUT (85258) released a report revealing it has had more than 500,000 conversations with those in need. While the fact so many people are in crisis is troubling, having a service be there for people is welcome news.

9. In March, Nomadland director Chloé Zhao made history by becoming the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe for best director. And in April she did it again – becoming the first woman of colour and only the second woman ever to win an Oscar for best director.

10. The ‘tampon tax’ was officially scrapped in the UK as of 1 January.

11. It’s been revealed that not one single rhino was killed by poachers in Kenya in 2020 – something that hasn’t been achieved since 1999.

12. New Zealand has raised the minimum living wage, and increased taxes for the rich, in an effort to support the most vulnerable in society.

13. Additionally, in what is believed to be a world-first, legislation was unanimously approved in New Zealand to allow pregnant people and their partners paid bereavement leave following a miscarriage at any point during the pregnancy. Currently, most employers only provide paid leave for a stillbirth or miscarriage after 20 weeks, while in the UK it’s actually 24 weeks.

14. A student from Leeds created an innovative bin bag dispenser to tackle the trash epidemic as revellers started returning to parks and public spaces.

15. As of April, footballer and activist Marcus Rashford and his fans have officially given out more than 21 million meals since the first UK lockdown. Food redistribution charity, FareShare, who Marcus partnered up with, also revealed that it’s given out 128.5 million meals since 23 March 2020.

16. Two dolphins were spotted swimming in Venice’s famous Grand Canal – an extremely rare sight, most likely thanks to the calmer waters due to social restrictions because of the pandemic.

17. Los Angeles has officially become a ‘no-kill’ city after achieving a pet rescue rate of more than 90%.

18. In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, France recently voted to ban short-haul domestic flights where the same journey could be taken by train in less than 2.5 hours.

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19. Anonymous artist Banksy has raised more than £16 million for an NHS charity through the sale of a painting depicting a little boy playing with a nurse doll wearing a superhero cape.

20. A monumental new law passed on 1 March, meaning it is now illegal for anyone to threaten to share intimate images of another person without their permission. After relentless campaigning by the charity Refuge, the existing revenge porn law, which prosecuted those who shared these images, has expanded to protect victims from the threat of releasing images as well.

21. Europe officially generated more electricity through renewable sources than fossil fuels for the first time in 2020!

22. The United Nations officially declared 2021 the ‘Year of International Peace and Trust’.

23. The public was given free reign to submit names for Scottish snow ploughs in February, with some very punny results. Our favourites include ‘You’re a Blizzard Harry’, ‘Spready Mercury’ and ‘Sleetwood Mac’.

24. An autistic teen from Scotland sent hundreds of cards to NHS Covid staff after becoming overwhelmed by statistics related to the pandemic. Paddy Joyce sent 663 individually-named cards to front-line workers at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary to thank them for all their hard work.

25. The first human trial of a vaccine for HIV is looking really promising, with 97% of volunteers seeing an immune response.

26. 95-year-old Dick Van Dyke was seen handing out wads of cash to struggling job-seekers at a non-profit in Malibu, which looks to find people local jobs.

27. Research by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 62% of UK adults found relief from the stresses of the pandemic by taking a walk in nature.

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28. At the virtual climate summit for Earth Day in April, President Joe Biden pledged to cut carbon emissions from the US by 50–52% by 2030.

29. 59-year-old Don Muchow, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the 1970s, ran 2,800 miles from Disneyland in California to Disney World in Florida to raise awareness for diabetes.

30. England’s largest ocean rewilding scheme began in April, with the aim to plant eight hectares of seagrass meadows – which are incredible habitats for marine creatures, as well as absorbing carbon 35 times faster than a rainforest.

31. Misogyny is now to be considered a hate crime in England and Wales, meaning police will investigate where a victim believes a crime was due to “hostility based on their sex”.

32. Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical raised $1 million for The Actors Fund, to support out-of-work entertainers during the pandemic.

33. A coffee shop in Kent is going ‘cup free’, only serving those who bring their own cups to the shop. Otto’s Coffee House and Kitchen, in Sevenoaks, promoted its new move by filling the store with disposable cups to demonstrate the importance of its decision, given nine out of 10 of these don’t get recycled.

34. A mystery knitter has been leaving crafted hearts and flowers around Alcester, Warwickshire, with positive reminders attached to them such as “You are loved” and “You are important”.

35. New data has revealed that in 2020 Norway became the first country in the world to sell more electric vehicles than petrol or diesel cars.

36. After spending nine months living in a caravan on her driveway while isolating to protect her 84-year-old mother, nurse Sarah Link has finally been able to move back home.

37. GCSE pupils at Frome College, in Somerset, recreated famous images out of beans and toast in a charitable fundraiser. The winner was Gil Privett with a recreation of Swan Lake, with the school donating the winner’s height in baked beans (15 tins) to a local food bank.

38. Kamala Harris became the first female, first Black, and first Asian-American Vice President in US history.

39. A colony of dormice, a protected species, that has been living next to the M1 in Buckinghamshire for five years, is to be given its own special street crossing to help the animals thrive.

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40. 100-year-old Vera Sak, from Grimsby, has revealed her secrets to long life in celebration of her milestone birthday, with her favourite tips being to “keep your brain active and eat lots of toast”.

41. Primark owner, Associated British Foods, has pledged to return £121 million in furlough payments it received during the past year.

42. With 129 billion single-use face masks used globally each month, Waterhaul (a social enterprise in Cornwall) have a project to take waste plastic and turn it into something good – every 45 face masks make a litter picker!

43. Gloucestershire-based Forest Green Rovers football club has become the first sports team in the world to go vegan and carbon neutral!

44. Tesco managed to permanently remove one billion bits of plastic from its stores in 2020. This was done by working with suppliers to reduce plastic shrink wrap, removing double lids, and getting rid of plastic bags for loose fruit and veg.

45. A recent study by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Florida Atlantic University has found that a common antibiotic, amoxicillin, has a 95% success rate at healing a coral disease which has spread through Florida’s coral reef since 2014.

46. It’s been reported that US suicide rates had the biggest annual decline in 40 years with a 6% drop, believed to be partly thanks to increased community engagement during the pandemic.

47. Riz Ahmed and Steve Yeun have made history in the Best Actor category at this year’s Oscars, with Riz being the first Muslim actor to be nominated, and Steve as the first Asian-American actor.

48. Junior doctor Kishan Bodalia (aka DJ Bodalia) has been hitting the decks to lift spirits throughout lockdown, after testing positive for Covid-19 while working on a respiratory ward. Hosting his #NHSessions on Instagram, Kishan started doing a DJ set in his scrubs after a shift to boost morale.

49. Teenager Darius Brown, from New Jersey, hit the headlines for his good deed of making bow ties for rescue dogs to help them get adopted. He’s been making the paw-some attire since 2017, and in March revealed he’s made nearly 1,000 ties for dogs!

50. Children at Sibsey Primary School, in Lincolnshire, surprised staff one morning in January, by putting up a special display of artwork thanking teachers for their help during the pandemic.

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