NeighbourGood Café accepts kind deeds only

There’s a new café opening up in London – and you won’t need any cash to get a cuppa. It’s about good deeds only.

The NeighbourGood Café, created by Ring doorbell, is a space to bring communities together and encourage kindness.

Rather than paying for food and drink, visitors can commit to doing a good deed for their community while meeting other neighbours, they say. The café, based in Hackney, will encourage people to try locally-sourced goods and learn more about the amazing people living in the area. 

And it’s only open for a limited time – from 12.30pm on Thursday 30 June to 2 July. 

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The limited-edition café arrives after research conducted by Ring of 2,000 adults revealed one fifth of Brits see their local café as one of the most important areas of their community. 

Introducing: the Pledge Board

Visitors to the cafe are encouraged to write down and pin their good deed to a dedicated ‘pledge board’ across the following categories:

:: Good SKILLS: e.g helping fix a fence or replant a community garden

:: Good MINUTES: e.g offering to dog sit for a neighbour

:: Good ENERGY: e.g. introducing yourself to a new neighbour

:: Good BUSINESS: e.g. pledging to support a local business or charity

In addition to the pledges, the café will shine a spotlight on those who have contributed positively to the local community throughout the pandemic and last few years.

Some local heroes in the area include: Mark Maciver from SliderCuts Barbers, who runs a young people’s work scheme offering free guidance and mentorship for 13-16 year olds, and Michelle Dornelly, CEO of local charity Children with Voices, who distributed over 1,000 free meals throughout the pandemic to vulnerable residents.

Dave Ward, Managing Director for UK & Europe at Ring, said: “NeighbourGood Café is about more than just grabbing a quick coffee – it’s about bringing communities together.

“We saw incredible community spirit during the challenges of lockdown, like neighbours helping each other with their shopping, sharing essentials or even baking cakes for one another. I’ve personally experienced how empowering it can feel to build strong relationships with those living around you, and we hope NeighbourGood Café can go some way towards celebrating this community spirit.”

Inspired to act?

VISIT THE CAFE: Ring’s NeighbourGood Café can be found at 12 Sidworth Street, E8 3SD. Doors open from Thursday 30th June at 12.30pm, and will be open from 8:00am-4pm daily until Saturday 2nd July. No booking is required and dogs are welcome! 

GET INVOLVED: Want to do good in your community and stay active? Try out GoodGym


A single scan can now diagnose Alzheimer’s

Scientists at the Imperial College London have developed a new way to diagnose Alzheimer’s – and all it takes is a single brain scan.

Alzheimer’s can be a difficult and debilitating illness, and is hard on family members as well as those who are diagnosed. A quick and simple diagnosis that doesn’t cause stress to the patient is key to helping people get the care they need as soon as possible.

The technique can be carried out using a standard MRI machine – the interesting part comes after. Using an AI programme that has analysed the brain scans of over 400 Alzheimer patients, at varying stages of development, the programme can diagnose Alzheimers with 98% accuracy.

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Even more incredible is that this AI programme can distinguish between early and late stages of Alzheimer’s with 79% accuracy. 

“Currently no other simple and widely available methods can predict Alzheimer’s disease with this level of accuracy, so our research is an important step forward,” said Eric Aboagye, the lead researcher on this project.

“Many patients who present with Alzheimer’s at memory clinics do also have other neurological conditions, but even within this group our system could pick out those patients who had Alzheimer’s from those who did not.” 

MRI machines are now found in many hospitals around the world, which makes this testing quick and easy for patients. One of the things that restricts many people from getting themselves tested for illnesses is a lack of availability or a large wait time, so the fact that this is easy and completely painless is a huge bonus.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to Alzheimer’s Society and help to support Talking Point, a safe space for those struggling with Alzheimer’s to talk about what they’re going through.

VOLUNTEER: Get involved with Alzheimer’s Research UK and help raise money for more research like this that can help diagnose and support those suffering with Alzheimer’s.


Culture Equality

5 companies giving out cost of living bonuses

As the cost of living rises, businesses are taking steps to ensure their staff are as protected as they can be.

For some, that might include giving flexible working arrangements, and for others it’s giving staff a lump sum – or “cost of living bonus” – to help them deal with any financial struggles. 

Here are five businesses who’ve laid out a plan to help their employees during this time. 

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Aira, a digital marketing company, is giving their employees a £2,000 cost of living bonus, which will be given out over the course of 12 months, between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2022. It’ll be available to all employees, regardless of how long they have been there, and it will even be available to new employees who join in the next 12 months (though it will be prorated based on how long they’ve been there).

“This isn’t a bonus, and it’s genuinely meant to help with the increased cost of living that we’re experiencing, such as increasing energy and fuel prices,” said Aira. “We don’t have any plans to do this again, but we’ll continue to do what we can to support all of our employees and balance this against the long-term financial stability of Aira.”


Heatable have recently given all their employees a 10% pay rise to help keep up with inflation and the cost of living crisis. As inflation is currently at 9.1% – a 40-year high – not only does this cover the inflation, but gives a small pay increase.

“During these tough economic times, we saw the daily impact inflation was having on our staff, including struggling to pay for the commute to work and saw it as our moral obligation to adjust our pay in line with current inflation figures,” co-founder, Ben Price, told Smiley News.

“Since the turbulence is not yet over and inflation is not likely to stabilise for some time, we aim to regularly review our salary and payment structures every 6 months.”


Parfetts, a wholesaler, is giving their employees a £500 cost of living bonus to help with rising costs, which will be paid tax-free. Employees will also see a 2% annual bonus, though those working for the Aintree and Middlesborough depots will receive a 4% bonus, as the highest performing site.

“As an employee-owned business our people are at the heart of everything we do,” said Guy Swindell, the joint managing director of Parfetts. “It is the hard work and dedication of everyone at Parfetts that drives our continued success. We wanted to look at how we can support people with the current cost of living crisis and took the decision to pay an additional bonus this year.”

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank is awarding employees on grades A-G a £1,000 cost of living bonus. This will be paid in conjunction with their August paycheck, and targets all of the staff below senior level.

“This support is designed to help you during these uncertain economic times and is in addition to the steps we’ve already taken to increase the support available both to you and our customers,” said the memo to staff which announced this bonus.


Rolls-Royce have offered their 14,000 employees a £2,000 cost of living bonus. However, 11,000 of those employees are unionised and, while Rolls-Royce described the bonus as “fair” and a “good deal”, the union in question rejected the bonus. 

“This is a good deal for our colleagues that is fair and competitive, with an immediate cash lump sum to help them through the current exceptional economic climate,” said a spokesperson for Rolls-Royce.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to National Energy Action to help those struggling with rising energy costs.

GET INVOLVED: Food costs are rising as well as energy, so consider donating to the Food Aid Network to help food banks providing vital assistance.


Tree bark becomes promising cancer treatment

A substance from a Brazilian tree bark could potentially be used to treat a type of cancer, research has found. 

Acute myeloid leukaemia has a survival rate of around 20% after five years, and is caused by an abnormal increase in a specific blood cells.

However, scientists have identified a compound from the bark of a tree called β-lapachone, which controls the increase in the number of cells involved with cancer – and was toxic to other cells as well.

“It’s important to find new therapeutic strategies for acute myeloid leukemia,” Professor Gonçalo Bernardes, a reader in Chemical Biology and a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a Fellow of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge said.

“In our work, we used these natural compounds and modified them in a way that controls their negative effects and allows us to take advantage of their therapeutic value.”

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The compounds the team were studying are known for their potential to control the increase in the number of cells that characterise cancer, so are good candidates for the treatment of leukemia.

“The compound that we explored in this study, called β-lapachone, is a promising drug to treat leukemia, but its reactive properties could have undesirable effects,” said Professor Bernardes.

So, how does it work?

“Cancer cells have certain marks that tell them apart from healthy cells,” said Dr Ana Guerreiro, co-second author of the study. “In acute myeloid leukaemia we know that one of these specific markers, called CD33, is present in the cancer cells.

“We attached our natural product to an antibody that binds specifically to this CD33.

“This allows the drug to go through the body without damaging any healthy cells and when the antibody encounters the cancer cell, it binds to the CD33 marker and delivers the drug.

“At this moment it will turn into its active and toxic form, killing the cancer cell.”

Inspired to act?

Working to find cures for cancer is an ongoing mission for millions of scientists and charities. You can support their work below.

DONATE: Donate to Cancer Research UK to help support their life-saving research

SUPPORT: The Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group’s research is focused only on cancers affecting children and young people.

Planet Wellbeing

Green-cleaning: meet the woman behind bide

Amelia Gammon is revolutionising modern business – and saving the planet while she’s at it.

Her business – bide – makes and sells sustainable, eco-friendly cleaning products, with plastic-free, home compostable packaging to cut down on waste. And it was founded on two guiding principles: to protect the planet, and those who inhabit it. 

“Bide was born while I was homeschooling two children, preschooling another and nursing a fourth!” Amelia tells Smiley News. It’s an origin story that would intimidate any other, but Amelia has proved she isn’t afraid of a challenge.

Just months before the pandemic, before bide was created, she quit her job and she, her wife and her children moved out of London to Wiltshire. No longer was she flying around the world to pitch TV shows to executives, worried about her carbon footprint. Instead, she was living out her “closet hippy” dreams, in a household free from plastic, generating minimal waste, and living almost entirely off solar and wind energy.

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“The original idea for bide came out of a pitch I did for a TV show,” Amelia says, going on to explain that, rather than selling the idea, she chose to turn it into a reality. “It really was driven by the idea that I wanted to make sustainability affordable and simple.”

By creating bide, Amelia hoped she would give people a simple, accessible, affordable option to be sustainable. But she didn’t want to just make a difference to the planet, she wanted to help the people who live on it, too.

Working with marginalised communities

The products sold by bide are made in the homes of people around the UK who are in need of work. Amelia and bide work with marginalised communities who may struggle to get regular work, including refugees, people with disabilities, people who have struggled with addiction, and people who have been to prison.

The ingredients for their products – which are all non-toxic, and oftentimes things you might find in your pantry – are dropped off at the manufacturer’s homes on a Monday morning. The finished products are picked up from their doorstep on a Friday, leaving each person to do as much or as little work as they can handle, whenever it suits their specific circumstances during the week.

This completely unique way of working means it is ideal for those who can’t work traditional 9-5 jobs. Though the pay isn’t enough to live on alone, it’s enough to supplement those on benefits such as Universal Credit, says Amelia. 

In fact, 17% of bide’s home manufacturers are refugees. Often when refugees reach their new country, they are unable to be employed for a certain period of time, but because bide’s home manufacturers are all self employed, Amelia is helping to provide them with much-needed financial support.

Between the good she is doing for the planet, and what she is doing to help those who live on it, Amelia Gammon has certainly made a name for herself as someone to watch.

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT REFUGEES: Help Amelia continue the work she’s doing to support refugees by donating to Refugee Action

LEARN MORE: Find out more about bide and the work it is doing to give back to people and the planet. 


Student’s blindfold mountain climb for sister

The sky’s the limit when it comes to devising fundraising challenges for good causes – and 21-year-old Edward Smith decided to go one step further than your usual challenge. 

Inspired by his sister who has sight loss, Edward is attempting a blindfold mountain challenge in Thailand to raise funds for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

The student from Northamptonshire will be travelling to South-East Asia for three months, and it’s during this time he’ll take the plunge and be blindfolded for 72 hours for the hike – guided by his girlfriend Eimear.

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Edward’s older sister Harriet, 32, has been blind since birth. She’s been supported by the charity throughout her life and uses RNIB Library regularly to receive braille books. Harriet is an avid reader and Edward believes without RNIB this wouldn’t be possible.

“My sister has always inspired me by the way she navigates a world that’s designed for people with sight,” he says. “I’ve wanted to fundraise for RNIB for a while as a thank you for their support over the years and I thought this could be the perfect time.

“Hopefully this challenge will help raise awareness of the barriers people with sight loss face daily.”

Supporting over 2 million blind people

Preparing for the challenge is no easy feat. Edward and Eimear are planning to practice locally – just recently, Edward wore a blindfold to his local shops.

“It was somewhat of a taster,” he said. “Navigating the streets with no sight and finding what I needed in store was challenging. It was only for around 30 minutes so it will be interesting to do the full 72 hours blindfolded in Thailand.”

He’s planning to climb Khao Chang Phueak – a mountain approximately 1,249 meters above sea level – and will be live streaming and posting regular updates on his Instagram @blackout_blindfold.

Chris Perrin, Interim Challenge Events Senior Manager at RNIB, said: “We would like to wish Edward the best of luck with this incredible challenge. His bravery is admirable, and we look forward to following his journey on social media. He will surely be doing his sister proud!

“The money raised will help support over two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK. Please dig deep and support Edward on this epic challenge.”

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: You can support Edward’s fundraising efforts for RNIB by donating through his JustGiving page

VOLUNTEER: Get involved with RNIB and see what volunteering opportunities they have available


Aldi donating 100k books to kids this summer

Reading isn’t only important for children’s development and education, but also as a form of escapism. Sadly, child literacy levels were already down pre-pandemic, and Covid only worsened it. 

To help more children experience the magic of reading, Aldi has announced it will donate more than 100,000 books to children across the UK ahead of the school summer holidays.

The books will be produced by Macmillan Children’s Books and distributed with support from the charity Magic Breakfast, who provide free, nutritious breakfasts to children and young people at schools in disadvantaged areas to ensure no child is too hungry to learn. Additional copies will also be donated via giving platform, Neighbourly.

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To encourage customers to help all children experience the escapism that reading can bring, Aldi has commissioned an animation narrated by footballer Marcus Rashford MBE – long term advocate for child equality and best-selling children’s author. The animation, “My Reading Journey”, beautifully illustrated by Lisa Stickley, brings to life how much joy reading can bring to a child, as the viewer watches a young boy’s world come alive after being gifted a book.

Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer at Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “At Aldi we believe that access to books, just like quality food should be a right, not a privilege; every child deserves to experience the magic of reading.

“Not only are we donating over 100,000 books to children that need them, this campaign also aims to help raise awareness of the increasing number of children who don’t have access to their own books at home so those that are in the fortunate position to do so, have the chance to help too.”

Marcus Rashford MBE added: “I didn’t read properly until I was 17, and I don’t want that for others like me. The escapism and joy you can get from reading could have benefitted me significantly as a child. The issue was always access and representation – two areas that the Marcus Rashford Book Club focuses on. Struggling to put food on the table, there was very little money left for things like books so it’s great to see Aldi step up to address a growing need for access to books in communities just like mine.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: For more information and to donate a book to a child in need, visit the Aldi website:

Donating £5 will equate to approximately 2 books being gifted to children that need them this summer.

Culture Wellbeing

Ohio home repair program to boost safe housing

These days, it’s a struggle to find a home. Home prices are skyrocketing, up 18.7% since 2021 according to Forbes. And even as the market surges millions of homes sit unoccupied, around 17 million to be exact. 

So it’s because of this, that the mayor of Akron, Ohio, wants to help people fix or repair the homes they already have. Dan Horrigan has created a programme that will use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act – which came as a response to the pandemic – to repair Akron homes.

“The Akron Home Repair Program is intended to address the housing, health, and safety needs of income-eligible households so that Akron residents can maintain a safe, decent, and affordable place to live,” said Mayor Dan Horrigan.

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The program is said to provide up to $25,000 for home repairs to Akron homeowners who qualify. Those repairs may include accessibility modifications, carpentry repairs, foundations, plumbing, roofing, HVAC, and electrical work. The goal is to improve the homes of people in Akron and increase the value of said homes. 

“It will help Akronites age in place, increase property values within our neighborhoods, and increase the overall value of the Akron community,” Horrigan said.

“This is one of the largest housing repair programs utilizing ARPA funding across the entire country, and I’m extremely proud to invest these funds in ways that the community has asked for.”

To meet the qualifications, you have to be a homeowner within the Akron city limits that’s current on things like taxes and mortgage. The home has to be structurally sound. And the home has to either be in a census tract with a household income below 80% of the area’s median or outside a census tract with a household income below 50% of the area’s median income.

They plan to start these renovations in July 2022. 

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: Habitat for Humanity is an organization that also helps people create a nice place for them to live. 

SUPPORT: Look into volunteering your time to build houses or shelter those in need.


Culture Wellbeing

New therapy wipes out cancer cells

A new form of photoimmunotherapy is capable of lighting up and killing cancer cells – a huge step forward in finding cures for cancer. 

It’s all done through a light-activated therapy, created by mixing a fluorescent dye with a cancer-killing compound. The dye glows in the dark, making the cancer cells significantly more visible to medical staff. And the treatment is even capable of wiping out microscopic cancer traces, resulting in a revolutionary anti-tumour effect.

“Surgery is challenging due to the location of the tumours, and so new ways to see tumour cells to be removed during surgery, and to treat residual cancer cells that remain afterward, could be of great benefit,” study leader Dr. Gabriela Kramer-Marek told the Guardian.

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In a trial involving mice with glioblastoma – one of the more aggressive, and most common, brain tumours – it was found that the treatment lit up even the most microscopic of cells to help surgeon’s locate and remove them.

Then, anything left over was wiped out by this incredible new treatment, after being exposed to a near-infrared light.

“Brain cancers like glioblastoma can be hard to treat and, sadly, there are too few treatment options for patients,” added Dr Gabriela Kramer-Marek. 

The treatment is the result of a huge partnership of researchers from Europe, including the UK, Poland and Sweden, and was largely funded by the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre

While it may well be years until this incredible treatment can be applied safely and effectively in humans, there’s no doubt that this is good news, and incredible progress.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Help fund more incredible live saving research projects like this one by donating to Cancer Research UK.

VOLUNTEER: Help raise money for Cancer Research UK by volunteering in their shops around the nation.

SUPPORT: Give money to Macmillan Cancer Support to help support people with cancer.

GET INVOLVED: Fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support to help raise funds for those who currently have cancer, or have family members who do.



Journalist sells Nobel Peace Prize for Ukraine

A Russian journalist has sold his Nobel Peace Prize to raise money for Ukrainian children who have been affected by the war.

Dmitry Muratov, a Russian journalist who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2021, alongside Maria Ressa of the Philippines, was awarded for this “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.

He has been outspoken throughout his career about his belief in the need for an independent press. When the war against Ukraine began, Dmitry published versions of his newspaper in both Russian and Ukrainian, and made an effort to make unbiased reports.

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Now, Dmitry is taking his support for the Ukrainian people to the next level, by auctioning off his Nobel Peace prize medal.

All of the money raised from the auction will go to UNICEF, to help them support the Ukrainian children who have been affected by the war, particularly those who have been orphaned or separated from their parents and guardians.

Before now, the most ever paid for a Nobel Prize medal was $4.76 million, around £3.91 million, when James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, sold off his medal.

Dmitry’s Nobel Prize medal was eventually sold for $103.5 million, around £85 million, surpassing James Watson’s amount by $98 million. Dmitry also announced that he would donate the prize money that comes with winning a Nobel Prize – $500,000 – to UNICEF as well.

Dmitry hopes that, thanks to these donations, he will be able to help the children of Ukraine have a better future.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Donate to UNICEF to help support the children affected by the war in Ukraine.

VOLUNTEER: Fundraise for the International Rescue Committee to help support families and children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

SUPPORT: Donate to the Save the Children emergency fund to help them afford lifesaving provisions for the children affected by the Ukraine crisis.