Good News: positive stories from across the North
Northern Soul and People’s Powerhouse are partnering to share good news stories about businesses, people and communities coming together in the North of England and showing us the best of humanity during the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve heard so many examples of people showing great kindness and compassion and we think that these stories deserve to be shared far and wide. Let’s bring a little sprinkle of joy to people’s news feed and show the world how great Northerners really are, especially in challenging times.
The past few months have been incredibly difficult for communities across the world. During this trying time, some of our region’s local organisations and individuals have come up with brilliant ways to provide support to the most vulnerable members of society.
East Cleveland Good Neighbours was founded on the principle of kindness and in just three months the organisation has taken more than 600 telephone calls, delivered over 300 food parcels, countless deliveries of hot meals and cakes and much more. This week they have also taken the annual #BigLunch online with around 200 community members taking part. They received donations from Greggs and Middlesbrough Football Club and created DIY party packs for each street.
And the team of volunteers and staff at Denby Dale Centre in West Yorkshire have been working extra hard throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Check out these amazing statistics: 600 food delivery orders, 4,000 hours of phone calls to dementia members, 100 prescriptions collected from local pharmacies and 15 volunteer dog walkers.
Food charity FareShare Greater Manchester, run by environmental charity EMERGE, has delivered enough food to create 938,534 meals to frontline charities supporting vulnerable people since lockdown measures began, praising the extraordinary efforts of its supporters and volunteers during the crisis. As the effects of coronavirus impact the economy, the charity anticipates that need will only continue to rise and so it has taken on additional warehouse space. But the space needs extensive refurbishment, so the charity has launched a £500,000 fundraising campaign to appeal for donations to help fund the work.
Lastly, The Rossendale Food Box Scheme, established by Carla Jade Clayton on the principle of ‘local residents donating food and other items to benefit those in need in their community’, has had an incredible response from a number of communities. The organisation is supported by the Rossendale Community Support Network with a view to developing it valley-wide. The scheme currently has 11 hosts supporting food boxes in eight towns in Rossendale. Click here for more information.
Supporting arts and culture
The arts have been hit hard by COVID-19 but there are still initiatives attempting to ease the situation including one from The Lowry which, along with other organisations in the area, has used an army of volunteers to create 22,000 creative care wellbeing packs.
Supporting our key workers
The Lake District Hotels Association (LDHA) is saying a huge thank you to the UK’s unsung heroes with more than £100,000 worth of giveaways.
The Real Hero, Real Lakes campaign launched on June 4 (the prize draw starts w/c August 3) and will run until all prizes have been allocated. The competition asks the British public to nominate their hero. This could be celebrating the milkman, a carer, a grandparent, a neighbour or simply a new-found friend waving to you each day. This weekly prize draw is to recognise individuals who have provided invaluable support during the pandemic lockdown period. To nominate a Real Hero, take a look at the hotels, attractions and experiences involved (or to read the T&Cs, please visit the Real Hero page on the Real Lakes website).
Two enterprising Sunderland men have come up with an ambitious way of saying thank you to frontline staff by organising a free concert at Herrington Park. Friends Andrew Kennedy and Ben Potts were so touched by the job being done by NHS and other essential staff during the Covid-19 crisis that they wanted to express their gratitude by creating And now Rocking In The Free World. The special one-day festival is planned for May 22, 2021 and will be headlined by multi-award-winning singer Emeli Sandé along with a whole host of other artists.
Boosting morale and raising much-needed funds
Right now, lockdown might feel never-ending and it’s easy to feel a little dejected. But there are plenty of brilliant organisations continuing to do great things.
Award-winning distillers at Manchester Gin have recently smashed a World Record for the ‘World’s Biggest Gin Tasting’. The record was dwarfed by the 1,856 participants who live-streamed Saturday’s gin tasting session. In addition to bringing together thousands of gin-lovers at a time when being together is so important, the distillery raised £2,778 for Big Change MCR, who are providing direct support to vulnerable homeless people during the pandemic. Founders Seb Heeley and Jen Wiggins, who led the tasting, were thrilled to have a high-profile drinker join in, TV personality Phillip Schofield, who has shown his support of the World Record attempt to his millions of social media followers.
Elsewhere, local charities and celebrities have joined together to celebrate the first 10 weeks of We Love Manchester’s Covid19 Community Response Fund. They appear in a new video showcasing some of the great work being done and launching the campaign #supportourMCR. The video features several well-known locals including Gordon Burns and Jenny Powell, plus a number of local Manchester charities.
In just 10 weeks, We Love MCR’s Response Fund has already awarded £750,000 in grants to more than 220 Manchester groups and charities tackling the impact of Covid-19 on our local communities. Charities can apply for urgent grant funding today through We Love MCR’s website. Crucially, decisions on grant award applications are taken by We Love MCR Trustees in less than a week, so charities never have to wait long to know about their funding. Donations can be made at the We Love Manchester website or at this Just Giving page.
By Emma Yates-Badley, Deputy Editor
Main image courtesy of FareShare
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Supported by funding from @HeritageFundUK, Betty’s Back! will explore James’s life and works in the context of the 1920s, when the portrait was painted, and will also reveal artwork by Betty Durden Green for the first time.