Students raise $300k for accessible playground

To most kids, recess is the peak of the day and the one respite from a long school day.

But not every kid can take advantage of the tools at hand. While most kids play on the playground, using swings and slides some students, especially those with disabilities are often left on the side.

This is something that the students of Glen lake Elementary School wouldn’t accept and so they decided to try and help their fellow students by raising money for an accessible playground. 

The school has a large population of disabled students but didn’t have the amenities like wheelchair-accessible merry-go-rounds for them to use.

Some of the kids didn’t like seeing their classmates not able to play in the same way that they could so they asked their teacher if they could buy the equipment themselves. 

The price for the equipment was around $300,000 but with the passion and drive of a child, they weren’t swayed by that number.

They started collecting spare change, then held a bake sale, printed flyers, and went door to door.

Then they started seeking out businesses and restaurants to help support the cause and then with a little support from the Glen Lake Parent Teacher Organization, they finally hit their goal after months of work.

After succeeding at their goal they’ve since pivoted to working to provide an accessible playground to all Glen Lake schools, something that they’ve already raised $500,000 for. 

“With the help of friends and family, local businesses, community members, and donors, we not only met our goal, but surpassed it,” the PTO writes on its website. “They now have an even bigger goal – to raise enough funds to build a fully accessible upper playground.

“Our students are thinking creatively when imagining the possibilities.”

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


The ‘Breathe Better’ backpack – created by a 12-year-old

A young girl has designed a backpack that will filter pollutants from the air.

Tell me more

Eleanor, aged 12, entered (and won!) the ‘Backpacks to the Future’ competition with her design for an air-filtering backpack.

The competition was run by The Institute of Engineering and Technology, as well as global fashion brand HYPE and Biophilica, creators of biodegradable faux leather.

Eleanor lives on a busy main road with lots of pollution from cars and other vehicles – something her mum, who has asthma, struggles with.

Matt Alexander/PA Wire.

Judges loved Eleanor’s design, saying it could “make a positive difference to people’s lives, and to the planet”.

How does it work?

The ‘breathe better’ backpack, created by the 12-year-old, has a small air filter that sits in the front pocket of the backpack, and is powered by solar energy.

It includes a dynamo, which converts the mechanical energy into electricity, powering the bag and cleaning the air.

Eleanor hopes that the breathe better backpack will help make the air cleaner and safer for her family and friends when she is walking to school.

So can we buy it?!

As the winner of the ‘Backpack to the Future’ competition, Eleanor will have a working prototype of her design made and will get to see a backpack inspired by their design displayed in HYPE’s flagship London store.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.


This lightweight solar fabric could bring power anywhere

As the climate crisis is becoming more real, people are seeking creative solutions for emissions and power – with the goal of moving us away from gasoline and coal. 

One of the most common ways for us to generate clean power is solar power, using panels set up in farms. Solar power hasn’t changed that much since first being introduced as an energy alternative but Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a new technology to make solar energy much easier to use. 

The technology they’ve developed is ultralight fabric solar cells that can quickly turn nearly any surface into a power source, aiming to reduce the bulk and space requirements for normal solar power systems.

The durable, flexible solar cells are much thinner than human hair and are glued to a strong, lightweight fabric, making them easy to install on a fixed surface.

They’re so thin and pliable that they could theoretically be fixed to things like ship sails to provide power at sea or be brought to disaster areas to provide power to areas with downed grids.

“We strive to accelerate solar adoption, given the present urgent need to deploy new carbon-free sources of energy,” says Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technology, leader of the Organic and Nanostructured Electronics Laboratory (ONE Lab), director of MIT.nano.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.


Meet the incredible team behind the breast cancer gene

In light of World Cancer Day, which was on 4 February, we felt it was time to celebrate some of the minds behind the fight to beat cancer.

While cancer is by no means ‘beaten’, huge strides have been made in the last few decades that have enabled us to treat cancer and even develop vaccines, thanks to those new discoveries.

RCA2 gene discovery team.

One of the most prominent discoveries was that of the BRCA2 breast cancer gene. Discovered in 1995 by a team of 41 scientists, the BRCA2 gene has led to genetic testing in breast, ovarian and prostate cancer, which has saved thousands of lives over the years.

That’s why commemorative plaques are being installed to help celebrate the team behind the discovery. The plaques were installed by abcam, a global life science company, to pay homage to the incredible scientific breakthrough, and the minds behind it.

“The BRCA2 gene discovery has paved the way for a huge amount of progress within the field of cancer research,” said Alan Hirzel, CEO of abcam UK. “We hope that this spurs on a movement where teams of scientists are widely recognised and celebrated for their contribution to both science and society as a whole.”

Two plaques have been installed at The Institute of Cancer Research, at the two discovery sites in Chelsea and Sutton, in London. There is even a QR code so that people who see the plaques are able to donate to The Institute of Cancer Research, and fund the vital, lifesaving research they perform.

The plaques include all the names of the scientists that were involved in the discovery, as well as the inscription ‘progress happens together’, to remind us all that it is rarely one or two geniuses, but teams of people that change the world.

“The discovery of BRCA2 was an incredibly important moment, and its impact continues to be felt decades later,” said Professor Andrew Tutt, Professor of Breast Oncology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

“In the shorter term, it allowed families with a history of breast cancer to receive genetic testing and be assessed for future risk. But it also spurred decades of research at the Institute of Cancer Research into identifying cancer’s weaknesses which culminated in the development of PARP inhibitors – cutting-edge, targeted drugs for patients with cancers caused by faults in this gene.”

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


Your chance to support trans joy this month

This month, it’s time to celebrate moments of trans joy – and help a trans-led charity while you’re at it.

Sounds intriguing. Tell me more.

We Exist is a charity led by trans people, for trans people, to help platform their work, their ideas and discuss issues affecting the trans community.

On 27th February, to celebrate the end of LGBT+ History Month, We Exist will be running an online fundraiser event to help support their Trans Healthcare Fund.

What is the fundraiser?

Supported by Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest and Dalston Superstore, a queer venue, the fundraiser features a huge lineup of trans and gender non-conforming performers and work from We Exist’s artists in residence.

Plus, films from Fringe!, followed by a big, queer dance party run by Dalston Superstore.

The whole event is online, so get dressed up, follow along and enjoy!

For more information on Trans Day of Joy, visit the event page

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.


City’s first night shelter solely for LGBTQ+ people

Brighton has opened its first-ever night shelter specifically for LGBTQIA+ people.

Tell me more.

The shelter will run for 10 weeks as part of a pilot scheme to highlight just how badly affected the UK’s LGBTQIA+ population is by homelessness – and how important it is to have safe spaces to help them.

The shelter opened on January 23rd 2023 and has 10 beds available on a referral-only basis.

How does it work?

People can access the shelter for anywhere from a couple of nights to two weeks, and staff at the shelter will help them find longer-term accommodation.

The shelter provides hot food and showers, beds and communal spaces, as well as access to resources to help people fleeing domestic violence and more.

How is it being set up?

A number of charities have come together to set up the shelter in the UK’s ‘gay capital’.

Led by Charity Switchboard, The Rainbow Fund is helping by donating funds. Meanwhile, Stonewall Housing has provided a housing advocate and The Outside Project is helping with the model the shelter is based on.

To find out more about the night shelter, visit the Switchboard website.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.


YouTuber covers cost of 1,000 eye surgeries

The largest cause of blindness worldwide is cataracts, a cloudy region on the lens of your eye. They become increasingly common as we get older – more than half of all Americans over the age of 80 have some form of cataracts. 

The condition can be cured with a 10-minute surgery, but the issue is that the procedure can be incredibly expensive, ranging anywhere from a minimum of $3,000 to $5,000 per eye.

To help, YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, announced that he has paid for cataract surgeries for hundreds of patients who couldn’t afford the procedure in the video, titled “1,000 Blind People See For The First Time.” 

“When patients go into surgery, there’s a chance that they can get their life back,” Donaldson, who is the most-followed individual YouTuber in the world with 131 million subscribers, says in the video.

“I wanted to provide this to as many people as possible.”

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


Amazing breakthrough in breast cancer vaccine

There has been a huge breakthrough in creating a vaccine for breast cancer.

Amazing! Tell me more.

Cancer is an incredibly difficult thing to treat – because it comes from our own cells uncontrollably mutating. There are even many different types of breast cancer, and each one responds differently to treatment.

That being said, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine just made a very promising breakthrough.

Go on

The team recently published results of their study, which they have been working on for twenty years. Twenty years!

Anyway, these results were of 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.


These HER2 proteins are responsible for causing one of the most fast-acting and aggressive types of breast cancer. 

Lead author of the study Dr. Mary (Nora) L. Disis believes this is a huge breakthrough – and that the vaccine may even be used in clinics by 2030.

Incredible news!

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


We can all do our bit to protect hedgehogs – here’s why

Today is ‘National Hedgehog Day’ – yep.

Sorry, what?

You heard us! Today is National Hedgehog Day and, while it’s important to celebrate these adorable little critters, it’s also a call to action to make sure that they are protected.

Rural hedgehog numbers have fallen by between 30-75% since 2000 and, while urban populations are beginning to stabilise thanks to human intervention, there’s still a lot that needs to be done to protect these walking pinecones.

Why do we have National Hedgehog Day in the first place?

According to Tommy Wilde from “The story goes that ‘hedgehog day’ goes as far back as the Roman period where people kept an eye on the hedgehog’s hibernation pattern and used it as an indicator to predict spring.

“The idea was, that if a hedgehog came out of hibernating on February 2nd and didn’t see its own shadow, it would go back into hibernation… on the other hand, if it did see its own shadow, it would come out of hibernation, and it would be a sign that spring would start early!”

Native hedgehog. Credit BHPS

Are hedgehogs really that important?

Grace Johnson, Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street says: “Hedgehogs have been a part of our cultural heritage for centuries (everyone knows and loves Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy-Winkle!), but they’re also a vital part of our ecosystem. 

How do we help protect hedgehogs?

According to Grace, one of the best ways to help is to make a Hedgehog Highway (a small 13cm square gap in or under a garden boundary), which allows hedgehogs to travel between gardens looking for food, shelter and mates. 

Hedgehog Street is a nationwide campaign run by wildlife charities The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Since 2011 they have been working to reverse the decline in native hedgehogs – one of Britain’s favourite mammals that used to be prevalent in our towns, villages and countryside.

If you’re interested in taking more action to protect these adorable, spiny lil things, there’s lots of free advice at

This article aligns with the UN SDG Life on Land.

Equality Wellbeing

Blind children learn to read with braille book club

National Braille Press has been working on and has made a name for itself providing reading materials that blind and hard-of-seeing people can read. 

“Braille is literacy by definition for blind or low vision person. If they don’t have that skill it’s hard to learn sentence structure and grammar and becoming more independent in life,” said Brian MacDonald, President and CEO of the Braille National Press.

With that in mind, the National Braille Press started a children’s book club to help kids that might not be able to see still learn to read. Every month, the organization sends out classic children’s books with custom braille pages put together by staff and volunteers at their facility. 

“We promote literacy for blind children through outreach programs and we encourage the teaching of braille to blind children by providing age-appropriate braille reading and support materials for caregivers and educators,” they write on their website.

Beyond children’s books, the National Braille Press is the largest producer of training materials, information pamphlets, and even tests in braille for the United States.

“Nothing substitutes for the ability to read. For blind people, braille is an essential tool in the process of becoming literate,” the NBP writes.

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