The Very Best of 2020

Let’s face it, 2020 has not been the year any of us planned or expected. We have all been speaking all year in phrases we would all love to ban from the lexicon – ‘unprecedented’, ‘ a year like no other’ and ‘ lockdown’ or ‘Tier 3.’ One thing has really shone through in the last few weeks though and that is the feeling that the festive spirit is still among us and everyone would like as much normality as it is possible to get – including quite a few more trees and Christmas lights going up in November than we would usually see.

To that end we want to keep in mind the quote from Fred Roger’s mother: “Look for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping.” And we would like to share some of the best news stories we have seen recently of people helping, people having good things happen to them, and general feel-good stories from 2020 to remind us all that through everything we can all come together for the greater good, no matter how small our efforts may seem. 

In no particular order, here are our top 11 feel-good stories for you:

In Coventry, 21 “everyday heroes” will be honoured by having their faces on baubles on the Coventry city centre Christmas tree. A lovely and fitting reminder of those who have brought cheer year round in 2020. Five of the 21 will also have photographs of them, taken by an artist, in shop windows as a celebration too. Read more:

The Shard, London, has featured a special light show to honour the keyworkers and volunteers who have kept the country going throughout the pandemic, with an extra festive twist on 11th December, and will be featured until the New Year. This is also the highest light show in Western Europe.

At the beginning of 2020 we all thought the raging wildfires would continue to be the main news item for a long time. COVID has dwarfed all news stories this year, however. Luckily the big supermarkets have still taken up the challenge to reduce their single-use plastic items for Christmas this year and this article covers some of those who have really upped their effort to help our planet.

Supermarkets reduce plastic

Putting his very obvious talents to good use, a 93-year-old care home resident has used his time in lockdown to create some beautiful Christmas card designs to raise money for charity. Raising £350 (so far!) for the Royal British Legion and the Willow Trust, we think his COVID-related twists on some classic images are a really great artistic addition to 2020.

This article may be from 2018 but every year, including this one, comedian Sarah Millican has been hosting a Twitter #joinin hashtag event. Something which started a number of years ago as a small online gathering has become ever more important to people who are feeling lonely at Christmas. Simply use the hashtag #joinin on Christmas Day to find yourself amongst empathetic company. People get lonely for many reasons and Sarah has never discriminated. Whether you are alone at home or surrounded with family and friends, we all have moments we need a pick-me-up and the community is ready to reach out a virtual hand or hug for those who need it.

Three refuse collectors in Wolverhampton have been raising a lot of smiles, and money for charity, with their brilliant dance routines. They have also released a Christmas song with accompanying boogie around the bins and hope to raise even more money this year. We imagine people on their rounds are happy to be woken by the bins with this trio!

From amateur dancers to professionals…we all know that theatres closing during the pandemic has dealt a huge blow to the arts in the UK. Theatre staff, performers and owners are all struggling to see how they will get through this year and reopen at some point without major losses in the industry. An amazing group of dancers got together to highlight just how important it is that we fund and support the arts to ensure we all get back to the theatres and enjoy the amazing talents we have. Directed and Choreographed by Cameron MacDonald their moving piece, filmed on the quiet streets of London and with the We Will Come Back Home song from The Greatest Showman, can be viewed on YouTube or via the article below.

An 11-year-old Cambridgeshire schoolgirl has completed 7.1m ‘keepy-uppies’ to raise over £11,000 for charity. The talented footballer completed 1.3m of the keepy-uppies herself and asked school clubs, groups and footballers to donate more to help her reach the target. The intended 7.1m is based on her recognising every key worker in the UK who has worked so hard this year.

Although we may have been affected negatively by the lockdowns this year, some rockhopper penguins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago have had the time of their lives as they were allowed free run of their aquarium home while it was closed to visitors. The videos shared by the aquarium reminded us of toddlers exploring new environments and being curious about everything!

A 90-year-old couple, who had to be separated for 4 months due to coronavirus, were reunited when the husband moved into the same care home as his wife. The care home then treated them to a romantic dinner for 2 as a belated celebration of their 66th Wedding Anniversary. They sound like an utterly devoted couple and we are delighted they are now enjoying life together again.

Many companies have been hit hard this year. We know the furlough scheme helped some to keep jobs going but unfortunately for many companies it was not always enough and they have had to close down or let lots of their staff go. Which is never good for anyone involved or the economy at large. However, there are also many feel-good stories of companies putting their ethics and values front and centre and doing all they can to support charities and individuals through their charitable giving and special projects this year. Just a few are captured in this article and there are many more out there where smaller companies have supported their local communities.

Five ways businesses are giving back

Yes, it’s been quite the year. But we know there are so many heroes in amongst the headlines. We hope you have enjoyed reading about the stories above. And lastly we want to share another great example of a shining light in the darkness…YOU! Thank you for supporting your local communities, your schools, your friends and family. We know you are awesome at this because you read this far which means you love a good news story and now you have become part of ours! 

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