Good news alert! 6 positive things that happened this week

rutland water park in england
6 positive things that happened this week Aivita - Getty Images

A little bit of good news goes a long way in cutting through less encouraging headlines and lifting our spirits. Here, we round-up six good things that have happened this week (from Monday 13th March), to make you smile, laugh and feel hopeful…

4 UK swimming spots to become designated bathing water sites

rutland water park in england
Aivita - Getty Images

Four swimming spots in Rutland, Plymouth and Suffolk are being considered for bathing water status, the Water Minister has announced.

Sykes Lane Bathing Beach and Whitwell Creek at Rutland Water, Firestone Bay in Plymouth, and a section of the River Deben at Waldringfield in Suffolk could all achieve the status after receiving public interest. If they are designated, water quality at the sites will be regularly monitored, giving swimmers a clearer picture on water quality.

"England's bathing water sites are an important part of how we safeguard our precious coastal waters, rivers and lakes, as well as protecting the health of bathers," Water Minister Rebecca Pow, said. "The actions we have taken mean that people across the country will be able to swim at more sites and in better quality water, but we know there is more to do."

In the UK, 93% of bathing water met the highest standards of 'good' or 'excellent' last year — up from 76% in 2010. Meanwhile, 72% are considered 'excellent' — an increase from just 51% in 2010.

10 Downing Street opens garden on unique weekend

uk, great britain, england, london, whitehall, view of downing street sign
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Number 10 Downing Street will open its gardens on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June 2023 for the first time since 2019, joining over 100 unique places not normally open to the public.

As part of London Open Gardens, tickets will be issued through a public ballot system, with lucky visitors getting the chance to wander around the garden of the Prime Minister's official home.

Constructed in 1736, the half acre garden is dominated mainly by an open lawn, with features including rose beds, a bronze sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, and wildlife-friendly flowers. Visitors will also be able to ask the expert gardeners questions about the grounds on their tour.

Nathan Oley, Chair, London Open Gardens, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for people to see where our leaders have found relaxation, or inspiration, for centuries. We are very grateful to the Prime Minister, his family and the No.10 team for this opportunity to share this garden.

"For over 20 years, the weekend event has showcased London's garden treasures, not normally open to the public, as part of our mission to protect special green spaces. There's something on offer for everyone, from keen gardeners looking for horticultural inspiration to those seeking a peaceful escape within the city."


Dorset farmer to conduct music at King's Coronation

dorset farmer to conduct music at king charles iii's coronation
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A Dorset farmer will conduct the first 20 minutes of music at the King Charles III's Coronation.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, recognised as one of the leading interpreters of early music, will conduct The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-service programme of choral music at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023.

King Charles and Sir John first met at a Sandringham Estate event, and both share an interest in classical music and sustainable agriculture.

Sir John told BBC News: "This is kind-of a pre-coronation mini concert. We do our 20 minutes and then we have to move out pretty quickly in order to let the abbey choir come in and take our place in the choir stalls. It's a wonderful honour to kick off the proceedings with some very beautiful classical music."


Free childcare expanded in England

good news round up
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Free childcare for working parents will be expanded in England, covering all children under five by 2025.

According to the government's independent forecaster, as reported by the BBC, this could allow 60,000 more parents of young children to work. It has been revealed as part of plans to boost economic growth, following pressure from parents who are struggling to return to work due to rising childcare costs.

The plans include:

  • From April 2024, two year olds will get 15 hours a week of free childcare

  • From September 2024, it will extend to babies over nine months

  • By September 2025, all eligible families with children aged nine months to four years old will get 30 hours of free childcare a week, 38 weeks a year


Newly retired police dog named hero at Crufts

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Stella, a newly retired police dog, has won the Crufts Hero Award.

Recently retiring from Gloucestershire Police after nearly nine years, Stella has recovered thousands of pounds worth of cash, drugs and three firearms. The award was chosen by the public and celebrates the unique bond between owners and their heroic dogs.

Her owner PC Claire Todd, said: "I'm so proud. All the dogs are such worthy winners so we are over the moon. It is just incredible, I'm speechless. I was holding back the tears, I didn't expect to win. Really it is amazing and we are so grateful for everyone that has voted."

Well done, Stella!


Historic floodplains to be restored

Freshwater Habitats Trust and the National Trust are restoring floodplain habitats at the Coleshill Estate in Swindon.

In a bid to create new freshwater and wetland habitats for wildlife, the new ponds and pools will be about 1.4 hectares in size. By returning the site's historic floodplains to a more natural state, the two charities are helping to create a new wetland corridor for wildlife along the River Cole.

"These new habitats will transform the site and we expect to see a much more diverse range of wetland wildlife here over the coming months and years," David Morris of Freshwater Habitats Trust said.

"Freshwater Habitats Trust will be monitoring water quality and levels to see how the site responds to these new habitats. We’ll also be closely tracking species, particularly rare wetland plants, which we hope will recolonise the historic floodplains, on which they once thrived."


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