People aren’t always doing awful things. Often, people are wonderfully kind and compassionate.
Here are 30 inspirational stories (from our past three years – it’s our 3rd birthday today!) to remind you of that fact.
Russell Brand opens a café to help Recovering Drug Addicts
When Russell Brand opened a social enterprise café in London, he caught people’s attention.
The English comedian, actor, radio host, author and activist opened Trew Era cafe, a social enterprise cafe staffed by recovering drug addicts in Hoxton, East London in 2015.
Initially funded by the profits of Russell Brand’s book Revolution, his aim was for the café to be a “self-supporting economic enterprise”.
In 2016, Russell Brand donated the Trew Era café to RAPt, the charity he is a Patron for. The charity provides recovery and employment opportunities to ex-prisoners and people struggling with addiction.
Trew Era Cafe is now one of a group of ‘recovery enterprises’ supported by RAPt – independent businesses managed and staffed by people in recovery from addiction.
The success of these enterprises demonstrates the potential of people in recovery to thrive in the workplace.
Our article about Trew Era café is our most read story on Good News Shared since we began in April 2014. Click here to read it.
People Enjoy a Pint and Help Their Local Community at the Same Time
The Oregon Public House in Portland, a non-profit pub, celebrated their first year by releasing their own beer.
As of the 1st April 2017, The Oregon Public House have donated an incredible $128,595 to local charities since they opened their doors in May 2013, all thanks to their customers enjoying a pint to change the world.
Astonishing Facts About Rhinos – Our Modern Day Dinosaurs
Our Amazing Animals stories are always very popular, but the most popular animal related story on the Good News Shared site so far is one that started with some shocking facts, such as:
–> Rhinos have been around for 40 million years, however it has been predicted that by 2026 the species will be declared extinct.
–> In 2011 the Western black rhinoceros was declared extinct, along with two other subspecies of black rhino. Currently, there are less than 5000 black rhinos left in the world.
Click here to read the article to find out what is being done to help Rhinos.
Offenders Work in Cafe, With All Their Tips Going to Victim Support
Based at the former Britannia Barracks in Norwich Prison, Cafe Britannia, with it’s spectacular views over Norwich and an extensive menu, is incredibly popular with locals and tourists.
Café Britannia was opened in January 2014 by Britannia Enterprises, a social enterprise that has partnered with the Ministry of Justice and HMP Norwich. The majority of the staff are offenders serving at HMP Norwich, who go through a rigorous assessment before they are able to work at the cafe. They are all volunteers, and do not receive any tips from customers. Instead, the tips all go to the charity Victim Support.
Today, the total raised for the charity is more than £25,000. Read about this great café here.
Drink Coffee, Help Others
Doing good while enjoying a coffee or a meal with friends is possible thanks to social enterprise cafes. Our social enterprise café directory currently has 37 cafes in it, including one in Cambodia- take a look here and let us know if you know of any others we should add.
Midland Langar Seva Society: ‘Today We Are Your Family’
It’s a sad, but unavoidable, truth that there are many homeless and hungry people living in the UK. But thankfully organisations like the Midland Langar Seva Society exist to help.
The society’s aim is to ‘help the homeless and provide food/hunger relief to those that really need it’. Their name comes from Sikhism and the Punjab, where the word ‘langar’ means a canteen where food is served for free.
Midland Langar Seva operate across the Midlands, providing food in Walsall, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Birmingham. They have successfully grown the organisation over time, and travel out to serve more and more locations when possible. In January 2015 they launched a new branch at the Missionary Cafe in Huddersfield. Click here to find more about this kind organisation.
12 Year Old Boy Inspires Kids to Have Fun while Helping Others
“See a need, make a plan, gather friends, and change the world” – this is the advice 12 year old Will Lourcey gives to anyone who has an idea but isn’t sure how to put it into action.
Will is giving this advice having put his own plan into action. He started FROGS (Friends Reaching Our Goals) Dinner Club, a community outreach program that gets young children together to plan fun events that raise money, awareness and help feed hungry children.
“Our goal is to get youth involved with community service and volunteerism showing them that giving back is fun!”
FROGS Dinner Club has – to date – prepared and provided and estimated 500,000 meals for hungry children. Click here to read more about this inspirational boy and the charity he has set up.
The Difficulty to Achieve Positive Body Image in Modern Society
Looking at the cover of weekly women’s magazines the obsession with body image and what is and is not a ‘good’ body shape is talked about constantly. However there seems to be the beginning of a shift in the ideal of what is considered beautiful in the media.
In this article we look at how attitudes are changing, if men struggle with having a positive body image too, and the support available.
Chance Encounter With Benefit Street TV Star Leads To Youth Club Campaign
A chance encounter with Samora Roberts, aka “Black Dee” from TV documentary Benefit Street led to a former lorry driver from Harlesden to launch a campaign to crackdown on youth crime.
Mac Ferrari-Guy, 31, drove across the UK and collected more than 25,000 signatures on a vehicle – his £9,000 prized Six-series BMW car – which he auctioned off to raise funds for a project to keep vulnerable children away from the clutches of street life.
His “The Write Off” campaign was kick-started after he met “Black Dee”. He said: “She told me that they are not the ones that need help but it’s the youths who need it. This is not a gimmick, it’s a passion. A lot of our children feel oppressed; a lot feel like they can’t talk to anybody.”
The Dragon Cafe: The First Mental Health Cafe in the UK
Food has a special way of bringing people together. The Dragon Café, a weekly cafe (open every Monday only) near London Bridge, is a good example of this.
A creative space with seminars, exhibitions, workshops and performances exploring issues around mental illness, recovery and well-being, The Dragon Café provides a simple, affordable, healthy menu each week, and a wide range of creative and well-being activities, all of which are free and open to all.
Eight Muslim Students Cycle from Scotland to Syria
When we watch and hear the news it can often be difficult to know what we can do to help people living thousands of miles away. There is always something we can do to help others, whether it be a small act of kindness or something with a massive impact. The important thing is to take action.
The eight students who cycled from Scotland to Syria did just that.
“The place was abandoned…the whole thing was flooded, it was damp, there were rat droppings on the ground…the toilets were blocked and coming up…it was one of the worst places I’ve stayed in my life,” describes Hassan, the 20 year old leader of the project.
Read how the group came together, what motivated them and what the experience was like here.
The Best Selfie Ever
Remember when the term selfie was new and everyone was going crazy taking selfies of themselves? In 2014 a selfie was one of the main talking points about the Oscars. https://media.giphy.com/media/uL2ATdqSUKXnO/giphy.mp4
But we think this selfie involving the Dalai Lama is way better. In fact, we think it’s the best selfie ever. What do you think?
Random Acts Of Kindness: A Man’s Quest To Live Life To The Fullest
We don’t know what the future holds, so it is great to see people doing their best to live their life to the fullest.
That’s what Michael Donovan did, not just for himself, but for others too.
“The thing that kept me going each day was the thought that, if I only inspired one person, that was enough. Maybe they would inspire someone else and the inspiration would continue,” he explains. Click here to read Michael’s story.
British Public Donate Their Instruments to Help Primary School Students
“The fact that music has become something of a lottery for children – excellent in some schools and simply inadequate in others – is shocking,”said James Rhodes, a Classical pianist who taught himself to play at the age of seven.
James called on the British public to donate instruments, which would then be given to primary schools across the country.
Recognising what you CAN do is really important – Jonathan Levy, Dyspraxia Foundation Trustee
The average age of trustees in England and Wales is 57; Jonathan is 24, and became a trustee when he was 22.
Jonathan shares his story with us, telling us why he felt compelled to raise awareness of dyspraxia, what the role of a trustee is, how and why he became a trustee, challenges he has faced and advice he would give to people interested in becoming a trustee.
Laddy the Horse Makes an Amazing Recovery
Laddy arrived at Redwings in July 2010 with his companion Ermine and was extremely underweight. He was suffering from severe dental problems caused by poor diet and a lack of regular dental treatment, and as a result he was unable to graze properly. Laddy’s owner attributed his emaciated state to old age rather than as a result of neglected health issues and insufficient care; she was subsequently found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering and given a 12-month community order and a ban from keeping horses for ten years.
Under the care of Redwings, Laddy soon made an amazing recovery and became a firm favourite among the Sanctuary’s staff and residents alike. In particular, when he wasn’t charming his two favourite ladies Bonnie and Kes, Laddy spent most of his days playing with his best friend Lester. Read Laddy’s story here.
How a Simple Addition at a Train Station Can Make a Huge Difference
Something so simple makes Hove station a more interesting, friendlier place to travel from / to. Hove Lions Club installed a bookshelf in the waiting room at Hove Station back in 2012.
An honesty box is on the bookshelf for people to pay a minimum of £1 for a book in good condition and anything they like for other books.
Hove Lions Club Secretary Ros Belfitt said to The Argus at the time: “All the money collected will go back into the local community. We recently helped an old lady who contacted us after her gas boiler blew up. We paid for an engineer to go out to her and get it fixed.” Click here to read more.
A Volunteer’s Experience As A Tower of London Poppy Planter
“The sentiment of this project has brought proud tears to my eyes as I watch a nation come together in awe of this great display that I feel so very lucky to have been a part of.” – Lisa, a volunteer poppy planter.
The art installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ to mark one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War is one that really captured the hearts of the nation. 888,246 ceramic poppies were planted at the Tower of London by 8,000 volunteers. Lisa Pattenden, one of the 8,000 volunteers, shared her story with us, making us feel part of the experience and showing us that volunteering can come in so many different forms and opportunities.
Millions of people volunteer each month
An estimated 15 million people across the UK give up their time to volunteer each month.
The Scouts currently have 154,000 volunteers, the highest number ever in its history, and yet they are still facing their biggest volunteer shortage, with 51,000 children on their waiting list.
Knowing why people volunteer is important – for people to understand the reasons behind their decisions and what keeps them involved, and for charities to be able to recruit more volunteers.
A survey by Do-it Trust looked into this, and found:
–> The biggest motivator is the desire to ‘give back’, with 65% of those surveyed saying they ‘want to do some good in the community’.
–> 45% of people surveyed wanted to meet new people and friends
Do you volunteer? What motivates you to do so?
Volunteering Abroad Leads to Lead to Love
Volunteering can bring lots of opportunities and can help you meet new people. Vanessa Thomson from Devon, UK, and Seth Schaben from Kansas, USA, met while volunteering for international hospital ship charity, Mercy Ships. Not only did they become good friends, the couple fell in love and got married after meeting via the volunteering experience.
After first meeting in Texas, the couple shared their first kiss in Haiti, had their first date in Tenerife, got engaged in Cape Town, and got married in Devon.
Vanessa, said: “Although the ship may not be the easiest place to date someone, the Africa Mercy is a magical place to fall in love. It is such a wonderful environment to meet someone who has the same passion as you; someone who has a desire to serve the world’s forgotten poor in such a unique setting.”
This organisation is building the confidence and aspirations of girls across the world
19 year old Victoria Jenkinson is a passionate volunteer for Girlguiding UK. Being part of an organisation like Girlguiding can be a wonderful way to build confidence, new skills and more.
Victoria shares why she thinks Girlguiding is such an incredible organisation to be part of in our interview with her.
Boys in Uganda Taught That Menstruation is Normal
“Before this project and the lessons I thought menstruation was a bad thing. I thought if a girl menstruates I should not be near her and I could not marry her in the future. Now I know it is a normal thing and it is not shameful and I tell my friends that we should not be unkind to our sisters when they are menstruating.“ – 8 year old boy who took part in a PEAS project.
PEAS (which stands for Promoting Equality in African Schools) PEAS is a UK based global education charity established in 2008. Since the charity started they have developed a network of 26 secondary schools across Uganda and Zambia.
The charity have been busy busting myths about menstruation- click here to find out more.
Young people today just want to help
You don’t often hear about inspiring young people in the mainstream media, maybe giving the impression that young people are just up to no good.
This isn’t the case- with so many young people, like 17 year old Devan Witter, just wanting to help other people.
On his own website, Devan is supporting people who are being bullied, drawing from his own experiences. He also speaks at local schools and works with his local police, doing what he can to help people.
And he’s not the only one.
A survey by Ipsos Mori in November 2014, found that 4 out of 10 young people had been involved in meaningful social action over the last year, often in their local communities, with activities such as fundraising, volunteering for charities, and directly helping those in need.
They also found that over 70% of them identified that they got enjoyment from helping others, and rate their life as more satisfying than those who haven’t taken part in such action.
Ex-Circus Lions Given New African Home
The Born Free Foundation released a heart-warming video of two magnificent ex-circus lions who were successfully rescued from Bulgaria and are now thriving in their new South African home.
Eight-year-old brothers Jora and Black were rescued by Born Free from a beast wagon in Bulgaria. Thanks to generous public support, Born Free transported Jora and Black 10,500 miles via the UK to a new life at the award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Find out how Born Free successfully rescued the lions and see the emotional moment the brothers stepped out onto African soil for the first time, here.
You Won’t Believe What This Pony Did to Help His New Family
Strawberry roan Welsh pony Smartie was rescued by Redwings Horse Sanctuary and the RSPCA from a farm in Wales in 2009, where a total of 72 horses were found in terrible condition. All were discovered in an upsetting state of neglect, some emaciated and many suffering from rainscald and parasites.
Smartie was among 13 of the rescued horses rehomed to Redwings. His charming character and gentle nature meant once he had recovered he was a perfect candidate for the charity’s rehoming programme. And it was through Redwings Guardianship Scheme that Smartie met Jennie Brooker and her daughter Jess Spooner.
At the time of joining his new family, Jess had been suffering from severe anxiety as a result of bullying – the distress from which had led to her being admitted to hospital.
Over time, the family noticed that the pony they had rescued was actually helping them! Smartie helped Jess to overcome her anxiety and rebuild her confidence. His kind and gentle nature proved a stable and calming influence for Jess and within 12 months Jess was discharged from hospital and back at school.
Now 16-years-old, Jess has completed her GCSEs and has her sights set on a career as a veterinary surgeon. The special and transformative friendship of Smartie and Jess has also inspired mum Jennie to set up her own animal therapy business with the aim to help others overcome challenges with anxiety.
Pakistani University Student Creates Free School in Islamabad Slum
Pakistan has the second highest number of children out of school in the world, with almost 5.5 million not in education. It also has the third highest illiteracy rate in adults. Even those children who go to school aren’t receiving a complete education either. Fortunately, there are people out there trying to change that. People like Zulqarnain Jameel.
A graduate of Fast University, Jameel worked as a Software Development Officer after graduating. However, he left his job to follow his ambition of providing better education for the children of Pakistan.
Jameel set up The Tent School System, which offers free education to children who don’t even have basic necessities, in an Islamabad slum.
Jameel is also a student on a Masters of Innovative Technologies in Education programme at SEECS, NUST, which helped him develop his school’s teaching methods. He conducted research on “Online Collaborative Learning in Pakistan”, before opening the school.
Instead of traditional teaching resources, the school relies on modern innovative technologies, in particular, games and learning apps, built by Jameel and another developer on their two tablet computers. There is also an ‘innovation lab’ for the children, where they can use what they have learned to build their own inventions.
The school’s name comes from Jameel’s initial plan to set up a tent in the slum, to use as the classroom. However, when he arrived, he received a large amount of support from the local elders, who provided a space for him to use instead. As he explains, “This was unexpected, and we did not feel the need to use the tent, which still remains packed in my car.”
Student Vets Open Clinic To Treat Dogs Belonging To Homeless People
For many homeless people, a dog really is their best friend. Sadly homeless people are not always able to take care of their dogs. This is where vet students in Glasgow come in.
A team of 4th year students from the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine have set up The Trusty Paws Clinic – a free clinic where homeless people can seek veterinary care for their dogs.
The students will run monthly drop-in sessions where they will provide free vaccinations, flea and worming treatments and microchipping. Volunteers will also hand out food, clothing and bedding for pets and their owners. Click here to read more.
Volunteering Abroad With Animals Will Completely Change Your Life
Karen Daly has found volunteering abroad with animals to be a completely life changing experience.
She has volunteered on and off for CIWY, Bolivia’s leading organisation in wildlife rights and care, since May 2006 in all three of their parks in Bolivia. Click here to find out more.
Counselling in Schools help Children Talk about their Problems
Place2Be, a UK school-based mental health charity, work with 257 primary and secondary schools, reaching a school population of 105,000 children. The charity offers a unique counselling service for children and parents and expert support for school staff to help tackle children’s problems early and in the safety of the school environment.
“As with all volunteering it’s never just you are going to do something good or to give something good, you will also get something good for yourself as well.” – Anne-Marie, Place2Be volunteer
Dog That is ‘An unusual mix of breeds’ Changes the Life of a Woman with Cerebral Palsy
“Folly jumped onto my lap and I gazed into her incredible amber eyes and saw so much joy, enthusiasm and possibilities. In that instant she stole my heart and something came alive inside me again.” – Katy