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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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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

Battling the binge drinking

Self-regulation of the drinks industry has failed according to MPs, meaning stricter new laws are due to be introduced. Tougher powers will be given to police while some alcohol promotions in pubs will also be banned. The fine for boozing

More jobs at the job centre

Job centres earmarked for closure have been handed a lifeline after a sudden rise in unemployment. Around 6,000 extra staff are to be drafted in as well to cope with the influx of people on the job market. Take a

Beating the gambling bug

The first NHS clinic for compulsive gamblers has been launched in London. Running for a 12-month trial period, the National Problem Gambling Clinic will use motivational interviewing and behavioural therapy techniques alongside debt management. More than 250,000 people in the

Fit for (some) work

The traditional sick note is set to be replaced by a new ‘fit note’ under new proposals announced by the government. GPs will be able indicate that someone is able to carry out some work with employers assessing if someone’s

Crime victims and their compensation

Thousands of victims of violent crime are missing out on compensation, a committee of MPs has claimed. Apparently, only one in 20 victims apply for the compensation while just one in three is even aware they might be due some