8 ways you can spread joy for free

Whenever people suggest doing something nice for someone else, it can often come with a cost. Buying them lunch, driving them somewhere, sending a gift.

But kindness doesn’t have to cost a thing, as we all know. So, in light of that, we’ve come up with eight free things you can do to spread joy to others around you.

Because we could all do with a little more happiness in our lives, right?


It’s 2023, and unsolicited pics are out – unless, of course, they’re pet pics. If you know your mate is down, why not slide into their DMs with an adorable picture of your pet? Whether it’s your pup posing for the camera, or kitten pics for days, we know they’ll appreciate seeing what your furry friends are up to.


You might think this is low-hanging fruit – but there’s real science behind this one, honest! Smiling at strangers can boost feelings of social connectedness, and will help you feel happier for longer. Plus, who doesn’t like to see happy smiling faces when they’re out and about?


Spread joy to your neighbours, as well as local pets and wildlife by picking up litter as you go about your day. When people litter, it can be dangerous for wildlife like squirrels, foxes and birds, as well as pets like dogs and cats. Plus, we’ve all had that moment of horror when you step out in your new shoes, only to tread on chewing gum or a half-full drink can or something. Spread the joy – clean up your streets. Have a browse of CleanUpUK to find out more.


We talk a lot about volunteering at Smiley News – and that’s because it’s a really great thing to do. By just giving up a couple of hours a week or month to volunteer, you can bring joy to plenty of people and animals.

Plus, volunteering can help boost your self esteem and makes you happier, so you’re even spreading joy to yourself. Bonus points if you take a friend or two along with you and have some fun while you do it.


Not everyone is good at talking about their feelings, or even just letting loved ones know when they’re feeling down – that’s why it’s so important to check in regularly with the people you care about. If you want to spread some joy today, send a text to a family member or friend, ask them honestly how they are – and let them know how much you care about them.

Time To Talk shouldn’t just be one day of the year.


We’re all guilty of letting the washing pile up every now and again, especially when things get busy. But, when you live with someone else, it doesn’t always feel great. So if you noticed you’ve dropped the ball lately, pick up some of the slack – clean the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, or was up a few dishes.

Most importantly – do it without asking! That’s what makes it count.


If you’re baking anyway, why not take those leftovers and use them to spread a little happiness? Rather than keeping them to yourself and forgetting all about them until you eventually have to throw them away, drop them off with a friend, or a neighbour, or even take them to work and share them with your colleagues.

Home baking always spreads joy – and if you’re making it anyway, what have you got to lose?


Everyone gets gifts that they don’t like – it’s just a fact of life. Alternatively, we’ll be the first to admit that we can sometimes buy things we don’t need, and it can leave us with a desperate need to declutter. But rather than dropping it all off at the tip or selling it online, think about your friends and family first.

Do you have a book they covet that you no longer want? Or perhaps your niece and nephew get way more use out of that old swingset than you ever do? One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure – so maybe think about that before you throw things out, and see if you can make someone’s day.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


The company making nights safer for women and girls

From raising money for charity to helping the environment, these three businesses are making a difference in the world they live in in a number of unique ways.


Embridge Consulting is a digital consultancy that has supported various charities over the years. Currently, they are supporting Young Epilepsy with their 26 Miles in 26 Days challenge.

Embridge Consulting is aiming to raise £15,000 for Young Epilepsy for Purple Day which is on 26th March. Their whole team are aiming to walk, run, roll, or push 26 miles over the course of 26 days with the help of their family and friends, all to raise funds for Young Epilepsy.

So far, Embridge Consulting has raised over £12,000 for Young Epilepsy – and if you want to help out, you can donate on their JustGiving page.


Bunji Printing is a printing company which has recently become FSC accredited. This is quite rare – but FSC accreditation confirms that forests are being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers while ensuring it sustains economic viability.

Only 5% of the world’s forests are protected by FSC certification – but companies that work with these forests and receive an FSC accreditation can be managed to ensure that their use of our earth’s precious resources is sustainable. 

Bunji is now encouraging other printing companies to make the move to receive their accreditation – to make the printing business more sustainable, and better for our planet.


Set up by Lisa Baskott, 2nd Line of Defence is the UK’s first female-focused recruitment agency for the private security sector. The goal of 2nd Line of Defence is to recruit more women into front-line security roles to make nighttime life safer for girls and women living in the UK. 

Currently, only 10% of door staff security are women – the aim of 2nd Line of Defence is to make women more visible on the doors of venues and ultimately change the perception of what it takes to be a door supervisor. Plus, they are really keen to get more women to sign up – so if you’re interested, take a look at their website.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


A dose of do-gooder businesses to inspire you

This week’s instalment of do-gooder businesses includes a couple of generous breweries, as well as an eco-friendly homeware business.

So kick back, open a cold one – and enjoy.


Cold Town Beer is an Edinburgh brewery with a philanthropic heart. Recently, they connected with Street Assist, an Edinburgh charity, and donated £2,000 to their cause to help keep people safe when they are out on the town. 

Plus, Cold Town Beer recently relaunched its charity brew, Doddie Beir, in memory of the late Doddie Weir. Since Doddie Beir’s release, Cold Town Beer has helped raise over £6,500 for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, supporting the lives of those affected by Motor Neuron Disease. This year, Cold Town Beer will be donating 20p from every pint of Doddie Beir sold.


Oxford-based craft brewery and social enterprise Tap Social Movement provides training and support for people in prison. Since they began in 2016 they have created nearly 70,000 hours of paid employment for incarcerated people. 94% of the people Tap works with from prison have not reoffended, in comparison to the national average of 50% – which is a pretty amazing statistic.


From Earth to Earth (also known as f.e.t.e) creates eco-friendly homeware products made from bamboo. From bamboo toothbrushes to personal care items and more, f.e.t.e has sustainability at the forefront of their business.

PLus, f.e.t.e is a proud a Corporate Sponsor of the Lawrence Anthony earth Organisation (LAEO), with around 2% of all f.e.t.e sales going directly to LAEO.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


3 businesses benefitting the children of our future

For our weekly business roundup this week, we’re taking a look at businesses that benefit kids.

Featuring books, mental health resources, and toy donations – this is a feel-good list you don’t want to miss.


Josie Dom became a children’s author in 2016, and from day one has donated 15% of profits from book sales to charity. In collaboration with Work for Good, which helps businesses donate in a legal and official capacity, Josie donates to Read for Good – a charity that gets books to underprivileged communities and into hospitals for children who stay there.

In 2021-2022, she pledged £300 and was able to donate £395 – and hopes to donate a similar amount for 2022-2023. She’s currently planning an initiative to give books away in the community and hopes to be able to volunteer as a reading partner for schools in the future.


Absolute Digital Media is an award-winning digital marketing agency, that love to give back. They have strong connections with charities and recently donated over £250 worth of toys to Southend Hospital in response to their campaign to collect toys to hand out on the ward and to those visiting for X-rays.

They have also fulfilled an Amazon wish list to support Dogs On The Streets, sponsored a local soup kitchen by providing a night’s worth of meals per month, participated in Tough Mudder, and donated to Chess Homeless Charity. They’ll be participating in the London Marathon this year, too. We love to see it!


After suffering from health anxiety from the age of six, Jenny Chesworth founded the Be Happy Hub, a mental health resource centre for children in the UK. When her own child began to show symptoms of anxiety, Jenny dedicated her life to making sure other children don’t grow up the same way as she did – by taking care of their anxiety from day dot.

The Be Happy Hub uses therapist-approved techniques, they make fun activities, worksheets and resources for children aged 0-11, and parents, and has a teen section launching in April 2023. They have over 500 resources that can help ease worries, teach coping mechanisms, explore emotions and much more.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


Accessories creating a brighter future

This week we’re all about clothes and accessories in our weekly business round-up – from adorable socks to underwear that makes a difference.

So if you’re looking to update your wardrobe and give back at the same time, you’re in the right place.


Kind Bag has created a great reusable bag made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. If you want to be more sustainable, this is the way to go – to date, the brand has recycled 4.5 million plastic bottles, with each bag recycling 6 bottles each.

All the packaging is 100% recyclable, and Kind Bag makes sure to give 1% of each sale to 1% for the Planet, so that they’re giving back from beginning to end.


Y.O.U Underwear stands for Your Own Underwear. The brand creates slow fashion, vegan underwear made from Fairtrade cotton. The thing that makes Y.O.U stand out most is that they operate on a buy one, give two initiative: for every pair bought, two more are donated to Smalls for All, a charity that collects underwear for people in Africa and the UK who can’t afford or can’t get any.

Plus, Y.O.U work with other charities helping to support those who have been affected by breast cancer, who need menstrual support, and more – because underwear is for everyone.


Bare Kind creates cute socks, that help give back. The adorable bamboo socks made by Bare Kind feature all sorts of different animals on them – from red pandas to whales, to tigers and more. 10% of the profits made go towards conservation efforts protecting the animal on your socks, and so far Bare Kind has helped to protect hundreds of animals and their habitats.

Bare Kind works with charities like The Turtle Foundation, British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Pandas International to make sure that animals across the world are being protected.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


How to get food for cheap – and help the planet

Looking to make your cash go a little further this week? We’ve put together a few businesses that have initiatives that you’ll feel good investing in.

From food that goes the extra mile to bringing clean water to those in need, we’ve got the good stuff this week!


Aldi has announced it will be offering surplus food bags across all of their UK stores. This is in collaboration with Too Good to Go, a popular app that allows people to reserve surprise bags of food that would otherwise go to waste from shops, restaurants and cafes.

The supermarket expects to save 4,000 tonnes of food every year by implementing this change, which is an amazing way to prevent food waste, and help families who may struggle to afford food during the cost of living crisis.


Paula’s Choice, a skincare brand, has joined up with TerraCycle, an amazing recycling platform to enable their customers to recycle their empty Paula’s Choice Skincare packaging.

To take advantage of the Paula’s Choice Skincare Free Recycling Programme, customers just need to go onto the Paula’s Choice website and print off a shipping label. Then, they can prep their empty containers for travel and send them off to be recycled into brand-new containers for new skincare.


Sierra Madre sells sturdy adventure gear – but, as well as that, they are determined to wipe out the disease and suffering caused by unclean drinking water.

Sierra Madre’s (one) campaign ensures that for every product sold, they can provide someone in the world with clean drinking water for a whole year. As of 2019, Sierra Madre had already brought clean water to more than 20,000 people – so if you’re thinking about investing in some outdoor gear, consider making your cash go a little further.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.


Your all-important guide to rewilding

In the last few years, rewilding has been talked about more and more – by conservation charities, media outlets, and even by the government.

But – what actually is rewilding? And what does it do to the environment? We’ve got everything covered in this one-stop guide.


Let’s start with the basics. Rewilding is a word used to refer to conservation efforts aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and wild areas. 

Simply put – righting all the wrongs humans have done over the last few centuries, and restoring the natural order of, well, nature.


There are so many different forms of rewilding that it can be hard to boil it down – the truth is, there are loads of ways rewilding is good for the environment!

According to Rewilding Britain, “Wilder spaces can boost biodiversity, improve water quality, absorb carbon, and even reduce the impacts of climate breakdown such as flooding”.


Absolutely not – in fact, Rewilding Britain says theres a huge amount of evidence to suggest that rewilding has great benefits for people.

“People are at the heart of rewilding,” says Hetti Riding, a spokesperson for Rewilding Britain. “There is a wealth of research that illustrates how strengthening connections with nature and spending time in wild places can dramatically improve our mental and physical health, and also the wellbeing of our communities.”

Not only that, but rewilding efforts also create plenty of job opportunities, especially in rural communities.

Analysis done by Rewilding Britain shows a 65% increase in full-time equivalent jobs since rewilding began, based on 50 rewilding projects around Britain.


Rewilding is anything that helps encourage natural, environmental processes to take over; such as planting native wildflowers and allowing them to grow (which is great for biodiversity), putting logs in a shady space to decay naturally and be a home to insects, fungi, frogs and more, and encouraging cornerstone species.

“Nature is amazingly resilient, and has the ability to regenerate and recover well,” says Hetti. “So sometimes simply just ceasing activities that cause harm will allow nature to bounce back.”


Of course – in fact, it’s encouraged.

“We welcome rewilding at all scales, large and small. In fact, it’s estimated that gardens in Britain cover an area more than twice as large as all of our national nature reserves,” says Hetti. “With over half of our species in decline in Britain, and one in seven heading towards extinction, that space really matters.”

So let your grass grow, leave room for foxes, hedgehogs and more to pass through your garden, and let nature take control. For more tips on rewilding your garden, check out this page on the RewildingBritain website.


If you’ve already given up your garden to nature, or if you don’t have space to do so, there are still plenty of ways you can support rewilding efforts.

Contact your local council to encourage them to rewild, check online to see if there are places you are able to plant native wildflowers in spring and get out into nature to see what is going on in your local area.

If that’s still not enough for you, there are plenty of ways to support RewildingBritain and its projects, to help give Britain back to mother Earth, and let nature take its course.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.


These cats prove any animal can be charitable

Everyone loves a good, heartwarming story about animals, right? If that’s you, then look no further – because we have the tea on some of the best boys and girls in the world.

But these aren’t just the best cats as decided by their owners – these cats have a whole award to back it up.

The National Cat Awards are run by Cats Protection as a way of celebrating the furry, feline friends in our lives, especially those who go above and beyond to assist their underlings – er, owners.

Ciaran McCrickard/PA Wire


The most recent winner of the National Cat Awards, from 2022 is actually a twofer. Sibling duo Jasper and Willow were adopted from Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre, and now bring joy to people throughout their community.

Jasper and Willow spend their days at St Peter & St James Hospice, which provides end-of-life care and support to the local community across Mid Sussex.

The siblings are incredibly intuitive and support patients, as well as their friends and family, by blessing them with their fuzzy cuddles. Even the staff find comfort in Jasper and Willow on difficult days, saying just seeing them sitting in the corner is enough to give them a boost.

Thanks to their win, Jasper and Willow will share a trophy and a prize package which includes a £200 pet store voucher.

Ciaran McCrickard/PA Wire


Marley was the winner in the ‘Cat Colleagues’ cat-egory, which celebrates kitties who bring joy to the workplace, or make working from home feel a whole lot better.

Marley is now 11 years old, and his job at Apuldram Centre, in Chichester involves a very taxing itinerary of attending staff meetings, spending time with clients and, most importantly, scaring birds off the vegetable patch.

The Apuldram Centre is an independent charity for adults with learning disabilities that aims to help bring support to those who need it. Marley is a fan favourite with the clients at the Apuldram Centre, and they always go away happy after seeing him.

Marley also provides an incredibly soothing presence for those who are struggling and was a great comfort to the staff at the centre when things were much more difficult during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Milo, the resident cat at Presentation Sisters Care Centre in Matlock, is nominated in the ‘Cat Colleague’ category in this year’s Cats Protection National Cat Awards, sponsored by Purina. Picture date: Wednesday May 4, 2022, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Lucy Ray/PA Wire


Eight-year-old Milo was a finalist for ‘Cat Colleagues’, but he is no less important at his workplace than any of the other cats on this list!

This marvellous moggy was nominated for the incredible work he does in Presentation Sisters Care Centre, Matlock.

Previously, Milo was a neighbourhood kitty who would make frequent visits to the Presentation Sisters Care Centre, to drop in on the staff and residents there. Even then, he would brighten their day and bring them comfort and was always ready for a fuss and a cuddle when the opportunity arose.

Since his owner moved away, Milo has become a permanent resident at the Presentation Sisters Care Centre and is now a huge part of daily life at the centre. He spends his time giving cuddles, putting a smile on everyone’s face and making the centre feel more homely for both staff and residents.

To enter a cat into 2023’s National Cat Awards, you can visit the Cats Protection website. Entries are open until Friday 24th February.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Life on Land.


5 breakthroughs in medicine in 2022

2022 was a year of great innovation and progress – and the medical field was no exception. Here are 10 amazing breakthroughs in medicine that are going to continue helping progress in 2023.


Scientists developed OrganEx, which pumps a mixture of blood and other substances around the body, helping to keep organs from deteriorating. It’s thought this could have a lot of different applications in science and medicine but, most notably, it would enable organs donated for transplant to last far longer outside the body, helping to save more lives.


Scientists have published the results of a 20 year study where they tested the the first phase of human trials for a plasmid DNA-based vaccine.

Not only have they found the vaccine to be totally safe, but it’s also very effective in preventing the growth of human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER2) tumour cells – which are responsible for causing one of the most fast-acting and aggressive types of breast cancer. 


You can now get your antihistimines released directly into your eyes – if you’re into that sort of thing. These contact lenses, made by Johnson & Johnson release ketotifen, an antihistamine, slowly throughout the day to help combat the itchy and dry eyes that come with seasonal allergies.

It’s hoped that one day they will be able to treat more serious illnesses, like cataracts, this way.


Marsi Bionics, a Spanish tech company, created the first ever exoskeleton for children. Named ATLAS 2030, the exoskeleton offers full bodily support from feet to torso, as well as an optional head restraint.

This is a great win for kids who struggle to, or cannot walk – whatever the reason might be.


Scientists were able to treat Ayla when she was still in her mother’s womb. Ayla was diagnosed with Pompe disease, before she was born, and scientists were able to treat her in-utero – something that has never been done before with this illness.

Thanks to this study, scientists could help change the lives of children and parents around the world.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.


The feminist coffee changing the industry for better

Since we can’t seem to shake the winter weather in the UK, this week’s business roundup is all about… hot drinks.


In a male-dominated industry, Chimney Fire Coffee is a B-corp trying to do its best to make things more equal. Female-led farms only make up about 30% of the industry, and CFC’s mission is to work with as many of those farms as possible.

They support ethical and eco-friendly practices and donate 25p from every 250g bag and £1 from every 1kg bag of all Discovery Coffee sales to Re-Cycle, a small charity that recycles bikes from the UK and ships them to rural communities in Africa. Find out more.


Choc Affair makes great hot chocolate – from the beginning of the process, right up to the very end. Beginning with small farms and local co-operatives, Choc Affair makes sure that people are getting the money they need, and that it’s going to all the right places.

All of the cocoa is responsibly sourced and sustainably grown – meaning that everything in the process is well cared for – from the planet to the people. Find out more.


Girls Who Grind Coffee is a brilliant company that describes itself as a ‘womxn-led, anti-patriarchy specialty coffee roastery and rebellion movement’.

They source all their coffee exclusively from change-making womxn producers in a bid to create more equality and visibility within the coffee industry.

10% of the sale price of their retail coffee bags goes right back to the womxn who created it, helping to make the business that creates the drink we all love a better and more equal place. Love! Find out more.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership For The Goalls.