Good news, gathered: Furloughed foodies and a family reunion

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: Ana Davila

From Cosmopolitan

It's hard not to feel a sense of doom and gloom during the coronavirus crisis; with death tolls rising, fear spreading, and life looking completely unrecognisable to the way it did just weeks ago, it's a very weird time.

All this means that hearing good news is more important than ever before. Little sparkling gems of hope among the darkness now have the power to raise your whole mood, helping you to get through another day in lockdown. So every day, Cosmopolitan UK pledges to bring you some of the good news stories that may have been buried among all the sad stuff. Don't forget to come back each evening to get your fix of positivity with our Good News, Gathered series.

Today on the good news agenda:

Furloughed Foodies: A worthy way to spend free time

Lots of people have been put on furlough as a result of coronavirus - meaning they're not working but are remaining employed long-term, with the government paying 80% of their wages - and it's created a lot of free time. Time that could be spent doing something positive for the local community.

That's exactly what Floris Ten Nijenhuis decided to do when his South America travel plans were cut short because of the pandemic. He started to spend time cooking for NHS workers in local hospitals, before Chloe Hall - a recently furloughed marketer - volunteered to join in. Since then, the group has grown to more than 100 volunteers, and Furloughed Foodies has turned into a new charity organisation preparing 2,100 meals every week in home kitchens and delivering them to 12 hospitals across London.

The project is so far being run thanks to donations from the Furloughed Foodies' friends and family, but they now hope to raise £25,000 to allow them to continue cooking food free of charge for NHS frontline staff. What a group of good eggs. You can find out more about donating or volunteering here.

An unexpected family reunion

Royal photographer Tim Rooke has been separated from some of his loved ones just like so many others during the coronavirus pandemic. The necessity of social distancing meant, sadly, he wasn't going to be able to see his mum on her 81st birthday. But as the photographer posted on Twitter, thanks to the kindness of her care home staff, he managed to safely surprise his mother on her special day.

In photographs he's shared on social media, Tim is seen standing a safe distance away from his elderly mother, protected from spreading any germs with PPE gear. He even managed to gift his mum some cards and a cake during the brief visit, which I'm sure made her week.

"I would like to thanks the carers, nurses and all the staff at Kenbrook Nursing Home," Tim shared on Twitter, also thanking his local council for providing staff with necessary PPE equipment to keep as many people safe during the pandemic as possible. What a heartwarming story.

A cash injection for frontline charities

In today's Downing Street briefing, the chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has promised £750m for UK charities working in the frontline to help people during the pandemic - including hospices and domestic abuse charities.

Sunak said he would to "do whatever it takes" to help fund the effort needed. "There are over 170,000 charities [and] we will not be able to match every pound of funding they would have received this year," he said. But the £750 million should go some way to help.

"Charities teach us the lesson that the simplest acts have the potential to change lives. At this time, when many are hurting, tired and confined, we need the gentleness of charities in our lives," said the Chancellor. "It gives us hope, makes us stronger and reminds us we depend on each other."

Photo credit: Peter Summers - Getty Images

And now, take a look back at what made us smile yesterday:

NHS workers going above and beyond - again

As if NHS workers don't have enough on their plates at the moment, the kind staff on a mental health ward in Newcastle's St Nicholas Hospital have gone above the call of duty for their patients. Posting on Facebook, the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust - one of the largest mental health and disability Trusts in England - shared an image of a care package staff had gathered for patients needing to self-isolate.

In the package included things like quizzes, crosswords and colouring books to help pass the time, as well as a sensory lamp, a CD player and mindfulness and relaxation CD to help calm them. What a lovely idea.

Number of new UK coronavirus cases drops again

In today's government briefing it was confirmed that the number of new coronavirus cases in the UK has dropped for the second day in a row. A new case is counted when a positive COVID-19 lab test comes through. Today, 3,634 new cases of coronavirus were logged in the UK, down from 3,802 yesterday. Those numbers are a big drop from the 5,903 tests that came back positive on Sunday.

While two days of a reduced case toll isn't enough to suggest we have reached the peak and are on a downward curve, it's a positive sign that hopefully we're moving in the right direction.

As oncologist Professor Karol Sikora wrote on Twitter: "If I'm right and we are at the peak of cases now, then following the rules has never been so important. Once the cases fall, the deaths will follow. The flattening trend is good - now we need to force the cases down. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel."

Vital advice for everyone to remember: there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo credit: Downing Street

John Krasinki being an absolute babe to this young fan

It's not just us sharing the #GoodNews love - actor John Kraskini recently launched his Some Good News YouTube channel and has been using it to highlight all the positive things happening around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And it seems this has inspired him to create a little positivity of his own. Over the weekend, John surprised a young girl named Aubrey with the (virtual) experience of a lifetime. Aubrey had tickets to see Hamilton for her ninth birthday, but the show was cancelled due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions. When the Hollywood star caught wind of the news, he organised for the original Hamilton cast to get back together for an epic performance of 'Alexander Hamilton' via Zoom.

Yup, we said he was an absolute babe. Aubrey was understandably over the moon, and things only got better when John introduced wife Emily into the chat. Way to make someone's week, John. Watch it all unfold here:

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