Another week, another seemingly endless deluge of depressing news. Amid such doom, hope can feel almost impossible to come by, and the urge to switch off and disconnect from the news is entirely understandable.
But as hard as it is to believe, there remain some brilliant nuggets of joy and optimism out there. We seek them out every Tuesday and this week is no different – because if ever we’ve needed hope, it’s now.
So, without further ado, here are the stories lifting our spirits, ever so slightly, this week…
Misogyny to be recorded as a hate crime under policing pilot
Crimes which are believed to have been motivated by misogyny are to be recorded by police forces across England and Wales on a trial basis.
Offences including stalking, harassment and violence motivated by a victim’s sex or gender will be classified as a hate crime on an experimental basis from this autumn.
The move will not require a change of law, but ministers want to trial the approach to see whether it provides greater effectiveness in bringing perpetrators to justice.
It comes amid a continuing national conversation in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder about the violence, harassment and intimidation that women face.
Uber drivers given worker status after firm loses legal battle
Uber is to offer basic employment protections to more than 70,000 drivers across the UK, after the Supreme Court ruled it could not regard its workers as ‘self-employed contractors’.
The move means those driving for the ride-hailing app will have access to holidays pay and a pension scheme, and will be entitled to earn at least the national living wage.
Uber bosses are also expected to make settlement offers to a host of drivers in order to make up for previous shortfalls in pay.
Trade unions have hailed the case as a significant step forward for the UK’s estimated 2.8 million gig economy workers.
Sarah Everard vigil fund to go to grassroots charities
More than half a million pounds, raised by the organisers of a banned vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, is to be divided among a host of grassroots charities.
The volunteers behind Reclaim These Streets say the cash will be handed out by Rosa, a charity that specialises in making grants to women’s and girls’ organisations in the UK.
The move means the organisers will be able to offer clarity to more than 22,000 people who donated a total of £525,000.
It also ensures that the funds will reach a greater number of smaller charities, including those supporting women of colour, trans women and those from marginalised communities.
HSBC expands bank account service for the homeless
An HSBC scheme allowing people with no fixed address to apply for a bank account has been rolled out to its 100th branch.
The initiative, which was initially trialled at 31 branches across the UK from December 2019, aims to make it easier for homeless people to access a basic current account.
The bank says more than 700 people have now made use of the service, more than half of them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Having a bank account can make it far easier to claim benefits, receive wages and pay rent, and is seen as a key factor in helping people regain financial independence.
National Portrait Gallery to increase representation of women
The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled plans to greatly increase the number of women featured on its walls, both in terms of artists and sitters.
A three-year project, outlined last week, will aim to improve representation in the gallery’s collection, with a focus on “overlooked stories” of women who helped shape British culture.
Currently, only 25 per cent of the portraits hanging in the gallery are of women, while only 12 per cent were created by women artists.
Aims to rectify that imbalance have been timed to coincide with a £35.5 million redevelopment project, with the flagship space set to reopen in 2023.