The Happy Newspaper - the publication that’s spreading smiles

Emily Coxhead

Emily Coxhead - Credit:

Coronavirus, terrorism, the environmental crisis – the news can seem overwhelmingly negative at times. That’s why Emily Coxhead from Euxton created The Happy Newspaper.

Emily Coxhead

Emily Coxhead - Credit:

When was The Happy Newspaper founded?

I had the idea for The Happy Newspaper early 2015 and in the summer decided to make it happen, I set up a Kickstarter (crowdfunded) campaign and set the target at £500, which a lot of told me wasn’t enough to do anything with. There was never any intention to make money from the newspaper, I had figured out that I could print enough newspapers with that amount of money for the first issue. The target ended up tripling and I also received some extra funding from Lindt chocolate to put some newspapers in care homes and hospitals and hospices in the run up to Christmas that year.

Why did you decide to start the publication?

Emily has also launced a range of products designed to make people feel happy

Emily has also launced a range of products designed to make people feel happy - Credit: Holly Booth

I graduated in 2014 and started working freelance as a photographer, graphic designer and illustrator. As I was going through my own struggles I started to notice the impact the news and social media were having on my mental health. As I started to talk more about this to others I realised there were a lot of other people feeling the same way, so many people had stopped buying newspapers or watching the news because it felt like a constant bombardment of terrible things happening.

What has the reaction been to The Happy Newspaper?

Incredible, better than I could’ve ever imagined. I honestly hadn’t thought past the first issue, I thought I would do the first issue, which was celebrating all the good stuff that had happened throughout 2015 and then people would know there’s a lot of amazing people doing amazing things and that would be that.

Lightening things up: one of the candles in Emily's range

Lightening things up: one of the candles in Emily's range - Credit: Holly Booth

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In turns out though, after the first issue, anyone who had seen or heard about it wanted the next issue so I decided to make it a quarterly publication. There have been some amazing features on BBC, Granada, Australian TV and more, especially over the past year. Of course, with anything there will always be the odd negative comment but I never want or expect everyone to like it, I’m just so grateful for those who do love and support it.

I never imagined it would be so popular. It continues to grow even through the hardest and darkest times. It can be difficult to put ‘good news’ out when there’s awful things going on in the world but each issue we bring out is a constant reminder that we should hear about the positives, it makes such a difference to hear about the good when we’re so used to hearing about the bad, it inspires us to do good too.

What brings you the greatest joy from running The Happy Newspaper?

Seeing and hearing the impact it has on more people than I can even begin to comprehend. It never gets old receiving letters or messages from people thanking me for creating this little newspaper, no matter what their age, gender or nationality.

What have been some of the highlights since establishing The Happy Newspaper?

A primary school set up a mindful room which was full of happy newspapers and a ‘sunshine wall’ they had created for any of the children who were struggling and they had a ‘kindness bunny’ called Emily who was given out to the student who had been the kindest that week! Things like that make all the hard work so worth it.

Who are some of your well-known followers?

Richard Branson is a fan, which is pretty unbelievable. Zoe Sugg (Zoella), author Matt Haig and more have all posted lovely things about The Happy News.

How do you take care of your own mental health?

Sometimes it can be hard to take your own advice when you’re so used to being an advocate for something, which sounds silly but it’s true. I am quite good at noticing when things get too much. I’m a creative and always have been, being creative has always been my outlet when I’ve been struggling or overwhelmed and still is. The difference is, now it’s my job as well so it can be tough to find a balance, I find that stepping back from everything, including the news and social media, really helps me. Having some peace and quiet and writing stuff down is also really important and allows me to process any worries or stresses.

What has the reaction been to The Happy Newspaper since the coronavirus pandemic?

Through difficult and scary times The Happy Newspaper is something people look to for a sense of comfort and positivity among the chaos.

Of course, we never try to cover over the negatives or pretend like everything’s great when it’s clearly not, but I do think it’s so important to look for and share the good news, when things are tough especially. It has been hard at times as I am going through all of this like everybody else, I was supposed to be getting married and moving into our house that we’ve been renovating but none of that has been able to happen so I’ve definitely been struggling like everybody else but now more than ever we all need to come together, our strength and kindness will get us through, I’ve no doubt.

You will have given people something to smile about during these challenging times, how does this make you feel?

It’s a feeling I can’t really explain or can even fully comprehend myself at times as it’s impossible to understand the reach it has but it’s absolutely magic knowing that I am able to make a few people smile.

How are you dealing with isolation?

My working day hasn’t actually changed very much, I’ve realised that I live quite an isolated little life in my tiny office, which I do enjoy most of the time but I’ve been making more of a point of giving myself time to process everything that’s going on and taking time to walk to my favourite (secret) place, eat food I love and try tocreate some happy memories through these weird, uncertain times.

When the lockdown is lifted, what is the first thing you will do?

Go and see my mum, nan and grandma and give them the biggest squeeze.

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