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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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The future of heat in the home

Household waste could be used to top up householders’ gas supplies in the future. Research by the National Grid says that leftover food and sewage could be used to create ‘biogas’, potentially helping to heat half of Britain’s homes. But

Flocking Down Under

The lure of year-round sun, lower cost of living and a fresh start in life have tempted record numbers of Brits to emigrate Down Under. During 2008 more than 7,000 Britons moved to Australia – a rise of one third

Curbing childhood obesity

A new ten-week boot camp-style scheme is being piloted in Wales to tackle the problem of overweight children. The project, called ‘Mend – Mind, Exercise, Nutrition…Do It!’, will target 2,000 seven to 13-year-olds in the country where it’s believed 20pc

Fancy a holiday? Got £47,000?

It seems one holiday company is determined to laugh in the face of the credit crunch and recession. Tour operator Hayes and Jarvis is offering a 32-day VIP round-the-world trip taking in destinations as far afield as Costa Rice, Egypt

Kissing the parking permit goodbye

Hospital staff in Greater Manchester have been told their £14-a-month parking passes will not be renewed. The move, affecting two hospitals in Bury and Oldham, will mean staff either have to use public transport or pay five times as much

Stressed out? Fancy a coffee?

We all know too much coffee can make you feel a bit shaky and twitchy but new research suggests excessive consumption can lead to hallucinations. Researchers at Durham University suggest that ‘heavy’ caffeine use – equivalent to seven instant coffees

Last dance for the morris men?

The art of morris dancing could be dead within two decades because young people are too embarrassed to sign up to clubs. Morris Ring, which represents more than 200 troupes, has launched a winter recruitment drive after warning the skill

Life is meaningless for the young

Life is ‘meaningless’ for one in ten young people, according to a new study by the Prince’s Trust. The majority of the 16 to 25-year-olds surveyed who felt this way were not in education, work or training. While over a

Free parking at church

A proposal to introduce free parking for Christians heading for church on Sunday mornings could be alienating other faiths in one Gloucestershire town. Councillors in Tewkesbury are currently looking at the plans – with those against saying it is discriminatory

Dying trade is no barrel of laughs

England’s last remaining master cooper is looking for an apprentice amid fears his profession could go the grave with him. Alastair Simms, 45, who works in Wiltshire, began life as an apprentice cooper (barrel maker) on his 16th birthday but

A dog really is for life…..

‘A dog is for life, not Christmas’ – the iconic Dogs Trust slogan – turns 30 this year. The charity’s chief executive Clarissa Baldwin dreamt up the famous motto in 1978 – when one in five of all dogs were

Clamping down on abuse….and parking!

The problem of private (and often unlicensed) clamping firms wielding their expensive axe often makes the headlines. But it seems there’s even more potential misery on the way for drivers unfortunate enough to be hit. The temptation to vent your

Those refs just keep getting younger

An 11-year-old boy has become the youngest qualified rugby referee and has just supervised his first proper match – a girls’ under-12 game in South London. The youngster admitted he did get some flak from the older coaches on the

Becoming the apprentice

At least 7,000 apprenticeships in the construction industry are to be created over the next three years, representing a £1bn Government investment. It is estimated that one in five young people will be learning a ‘trade’ from an employer by

New ways to get barred from pubs

A hospital A&E department in Lancashire has become the first in England and Wales to join the ‘Pubwatch’ scheme. The move means that anyone caught attacking or insulting A&E workers will be barred from 22 pubs and clubs in the

'Angry' from Bath gets even younger

A boy of just ten has written to his local councillor in Somerset pleading for a bench to be removed as it’s used as a social spot for local yobs to congregate. Councillors are quite used to receiving letters from