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Quiet day in the office? In need of some inspiration to fill that slot on the features page? Check out our story ideas here and see if you can take news developments from around the UK and localise them for your patch.

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Christmas before Halloween

Christmas seems to come earlier every year. The Gloucestershire town of Coleford has snowmen and seasonal lighting around the town a full two months before Christmas. The local council said it relies on volunteers putting up decorations in their freetime

No more freebies for women

Radical new plans are set to be introduced to curb excessive drinking. Promotions such as stopping free drinks for women are being put forward alongside cigarette-style health warnings and banning ‘Happy Hour’. Speak to police and local publicans to see

Tying stress up in knots

An East Midlands council is holding knitting classes for its employees to help combat stress and absenteeism. North East Derbyshire Council has decided to offer the courses after it emerged that an average of 9.75 sick days per employee were

The benefits of nursery education

Free nursery places are to be made available to all two-year-old children in a new scheme costing £1bn. It is thought up to 600,000 children will benefit from the new Government scheme which already operates for three and four-year-olds. Speak

Fighting crime in the community

Around 3,600 community leaders are to be trained to fight crime in a new Government initiative. £5m has been earmarked by the Home Office to train the crime fighters who will help police tackle vandals and yobs. Who are the

They exist for your safety

Claims about the effectiveness of speed cameras have been greatly exaggerated, experts have warned. The Government estimates that the cameras lead to a 22pc drop in crashes and 100 extra lives are saved per year. But a doctor from Liverpool

Pie, pint and a pedicure

A Devon pub which dates back to the 12th century is luring in customers by offering them a pampering to go with their pint. Head massages, aromatherapy and pedicures are some of the treatments on offer at the Oxenham Arms,

Trip of a lifetime for the price of some shopping

A moneywise holiday maker is about to embark on a cross-Europe trip for the princely sum of £24. Her budget-beating excursion – taking in Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Morocco and Italy – involves ten flights at £1 each except for

Who's missing out on medicine?

A quarter of people suffering from diabetes are missing out on vital medication, new research suggests. Drugs such as prophylactic aspirin and statins which prevent blood clots and reduce cholesterol are not available to many of the UK’s 2.3m sufferers.

From surgery to scissors

An NHS anaesthetist with 30 years experience has given up the hospital for the hair salon. Dr Roger Tackley, 56, now owns a salon in Devon specialising in futuristic hair styles. He was so fed up with NHS red tape

The cycle of offending

The number of juvenile criminals reoffending has fallen by 2.3pc between 2000 and 2006, missing the Government’s 5pc target – according to new figures. However, the number of offences committed per 100 young people has come down by 19pc while

Gotta job!

New employment figures show that 60,000 more people were out of work – a total of 1.67m were unemployed between April and June. The new stats also reveal the number seeking jobless benefit rose at the highest monthly rate in

Left-hand drive

Left-handers carry a big advantage when it comes to learning to drive, new research suggests. The study by the AA shows that 57pc of lefties pass first time as opposed to just 47pc of righties. The findings also revealed that

Hedging your bets

The UK’s tallest yew hedge has undergone a bit of TLC at Lord Allen Apsley’s Bathurst Estate in the Cotswolds. The 300-year-old 40ft high giant costs more than £5,000 to trim once a year with workers amassing a ton of

Big Brother may well be watching you

Local councils are being given fresh encouragement to use terror laws to spy on residents, according to the Metro. The laws were originally brought in to access private phone bills and e-mails to catch bombers but increasingly authorities have used

Picking up the pieces

The Highways Agency has launched a new campaign to combat littering on the UK’s major roads. The ‘Bag It and Bin It’ campaign urges motorists to store rubbish in their cars until they can stop and put it in a