Celebrating those who bring happiness to others
01 Jul 2015 | Joshua French
The first Brighton & Hove Happy List was published
recently, celebrating those who make the city a happier place to
live. Organising it was a heart-warming and humbling
I'm from the Action for Happiness Brighton group, one of the
largest groups in the country. We were already aware of (and
delighted by) the annual Independent on Sunday Happy List, which is an alternative to the
Sunday Times Rich List. It is very much in the spirit of Action for Happiness to recognise people for the good
they do and the joy the spread, rather than for how much they
In April, we were contacted by Happy City,
who created the first local Happy List in Bristol in 2013. They
decided to make it simple for other cities to create their own lists, by providing
easy-to-use online nomination forms, email templates and other
resources. Seizing the opportunity, we got the word out, found some
judges, and the nominations started coming in.
Reading about the Brighton nominees' actions and stories was an
uplifting process and opened my eyes to the sheer variety of ways
people are doing good in our city.
Some people shine in their job, going above and beyond the call
of duty to inspire and engage others. The nominees included the
stories of nurses, teachers, foster carers, customer service
assistants, lecturers and many other professionals who do this.
There were many nominations for people who used their creative
talents to bring smiles to others' faces, such as writers,
musicians and artists.
There were also many volunteers, giving up their free time to
help others be happier and cared for, and also people who had set
up charities and non-for-profits with the sole purpose of
alleviating suffering for others. This diversity of approaches but
unity of purpose was delightful to see.
The surprise and gratitude expressed by the champions testified
to their selfless actions. One said, "I'm a bit overwhelmed... I've
always wanted to help others as people have been so kind to me in
the past. It's my way of giving back." He didn't expect any
recognition, but it was very much appreciated.
"See life as it is, but focus on the good bits" is a great piece
of advice on one of the Action for Happiness posters.
Happy Lists are such an important idea because they help us focus
on all the generosity of spirit, kindness and joy in our cities -
things that can too often be overlooked.
Thank you Happy City, for making the list possible.
The Brighton and Hove Happy List 2015 can be found on the Action for Happiness Brighton website and
online with The Argus.
Joshua French helps run the Brighton Action for Happiness group and is
passionate about creating a happier and more caring society. He is
co-founder of Bailey & French.