2020 has been a challenging year but it’s not all bad news! Here are some heartwarming stories from around the world to make you smile.
- Rita Ebel is a wheelchair user from Germany. Last year she read an article about another wheelchair user constructing her own ramp out of Lego bricks and thought it was such a great idea that she and her husband started doing the same for the people of her hometown of Hanau. The Lego that Ms Ebel uses is donated from people all over Germany and it’s not just wheelchair users who have benefited from the colourful ramps! They have helped people with walkers, prams and visual impairments too.
2. Chelsea have donated their £100,000 prize money for winning the Women’s Super League title to a domestic abuse charity. The club is engaged with Refuge and the donation from the WSL triumph will be directed to supporting women and children experiencing abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.
3. To lift everyone’s spirits during the lockdown, furniture store IKEA published their iconic meatball recipe so that frustrated fans could make them at home. Click here for the recipe
4. In May, Moonpig launched a campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week. The campaign encouraged people to see ‘the hidden message’, to feel comfortable opening up. It gave out 25,000 free postcards as part of its mission to prompt people to reach out. To read more about the campaign click here
5. Hamilton fans around the world rejoiced as the movie of Hamilton was released 15 months ahead of schedule on Disney+ and 2.7 Million households streamed the show in just 10 days!!
6. Poonam and her son Pranav set up an Instagram account that has gone viral, the ‘Mother with Sign’, shares photos of Poonam holding signs with relatable and funny words of wisdom. They now have more than 150,000 followers.
7. For the first time, renewable electricity exceeded fossil fuel generation during the first half of 2020! Fossil fuel use fell by 18%, and renewable energy increased by 11%, too.
8. The world’s largest rooftop farm opened in Paris in July! The farm is on top of a six-storey building and covers 14,000 square metres and is expected to produce around 1,000kg of fruit and vegetables every day. The rooftop farm uses vertical growing techniques to create fruits and vegetables right in the center of Paris without the use of pesticides, refrigerated trucks, chemical fertilizer, or even soil. To find out more about this amazing project click here
9. Since being hunted to extinction 400 years ago, beavers miraculously appeared in Devon in 2013. After a study revealed their positive impact on the environment, the beavers have now been given the ‘right to stay’.
10. An amazing seven mountain gorilla babies were born in a Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 2020, more than twice as many as in 2019! Mountain gorillas are endangered with just over 1,000 in existence. The UWS told the BBC that this year was unprecedented for gorilla births, but it is not clear why there has been this uptick.
11. During the first lockdown Jay Flynn became known as the quizmaster and was made an MBE after raising £750,000 for charity through his virtual pub quizzes. From being homeless in 2007, Jay also finds himself a Guinness World Record holder for ‘most viewers of an online quiz’.
12. In September, LEGO announced plans to phase out its single-use plastic bags, they will switch to recyclable, sustainably sourced paper bags. The move is part of the toymaker’s mission to make all packaging sustainable by 2025 with a £310 million global investment in the plans.
13. Captain Sir Tom Moore, aged 100, raised millions for the NHS and launched a podcast in partnership with Cadbury and charity Age UK’s ‘Donate Your Words’ campaign, which looks to tackle loneliness in elderly people. The podcast encourages youngsters to start conversations with older generations, by sharing fascinating life stories and unmissable anecdotes, including one 79-year-old’s kiss with Elvis Presley! To find out more about the campaign click here
14. Jordan Reeves, whose left arm stopped developing from her elbow, created a prosthetic arm using a 3D-printer that shoots glitter! Jordan hopes that her ‘Project Unicorn’ design can encourage other youngsters with disabilities to see the possibilities in them, rather than as hindrances.
15. In May, a homeless village was launched in Edinburgh. The homeless village was developed on vacant land in Granton and is made up of 10 two-bedroom houses. Social Bite said it hopes this will provide a new approach to homelessness, where people can have a steady base, rather than rely on hostels and B&Bs.
16. A record number of endangered baby Olive Ridley sea turtles hatched in Mexico this year – around 2,250 compared with just 500 to 1,000 usually.