Classrooms in a treehouse! School immersed in nature to teach kids about life on earth

Plastic chairs that seem to shrink after a growth spurt, tables with slurs about teachers scratched into them, the screeching of chalk on the board; sound familiar?

Classrooms as we know them are soon to be a thing of the past as one trailblazing school is leading the way with modern and contemporary designs.

Not only this, but children will be immersed in nature to learn about the beauty of the world they live in and understand their environment.

[Credit: Valentino Gareri]
[Credit: Valentino Gareri]

Inspired to create something positive from this year’s pandemic, architect Valentino Gareri has proposed a ‘Tree-House School’ designed to complement our new normal.

Consequently, he has constructed a thriving space that will allow for social distancing, time spent outdoors, and to educate on sustainability and respecting the planet.

The invention will see two circular buildings seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor space, allowing flexibility for activities where the relationship with nature is physical and visibly increased.

[Credit: Valentino Gareri]

Speaking about his venture, Gareri said: “The Tree-House School is a modular educational centre that can include all phases of education: kindergarten, primary and secondary school.

“The classrooms are located in circles and have connections to the courtyards and the outdoor landscape. Each module, of 55 sqm, is made of cross-laminated timber and corresponds to an ideal classroom of 20-25 students connected by a central corridor.”

In addition to this, there is a usable roof where students can continue to play and learn.

To complete its quest as a self-sufficient school, significant efforts are being made to preserve energy; notably with rainwater collectors and wind turbines located on the roof, where all students can observe them.

Due to this, sustainability becomes a strong educational focal point for children, introducing them to the environment through the building itself.

[Credit: Valentino Gareri]

As well as traditional education, there will be a drive to connect young people through community activities with recreational areas such as the urban plaza, a café, and a library.

In a further clever twist, the building can also be adapted to create different functions, including temporary medical centres for emergencies or temporary residential units.

Could this be the future of learning? We like to think so.

[Credit: Valentino Gareri]

Animal lovers rejoice as Natural History Museum unveils game-changing Urban Nature Project

When you think of The Natural History Museum, of course Dippy the Dinosaur and the Blue Whale come to mind, but that may soon change as an exciting new project has been officially green lit for the iconic South Kensington landmark. 


The Urban Nature Project will totally revolutionise the museum’s five acre gardens, and turn them into a hub for wildlife research and conservation; a project unlike anything undertaken at the legendary space before. The gardens look set to host an on-site ‘living lab’ and ‘education centre’, which will host keen nature lovers and undertake important research which will make a scientific impact on a global scale. 

Of course, the rejuvenation of the space will also see a vast increase in natural habitats for local animals (who doesn’t love that?!) and the East part of the garden will host an exciting area telling the history of the earth.

Perhaps most excitingly, the project has been endorsed by none other than Mr Nature himself – Sir David Attenborough, whose wise words will adorn the entrance and set the tone for how we can do better as a species: “The future of the natural world, on which we all depend, is in your hands.”

The legendary TV presenter said: “The natural world is under threat as never before. Species that were a common sight in gardens across the country when I was young, such as hedgehogs, are rarely seen by children today.

“These declines have devastating consequences for wildlife.  Unless children have access to nature and experience, understand and nurture wildlife, we know they might never feel connected to nature and could grow up with no interest in protecting the natural world around them.”

To answer Sir David Attenborough’s prayers the project is set to roll out a nationwide learning programme for families and schools – this will include advanced e-learning platforms and an onsite education hub.

Commenting on the facility, Clare Matterson,  Executive Director of Engagement at the Natural History Museum said: “At a time when people have spent most of the year social distancing at home, the nature on our doorsteps takes on ever greater appreciation and importance.

Photo Credit: National History Museum

“We hope the Urban Nature Project will not only galvanise people to reengage with the nature on their doorsteps, but building on the Museum’s scientific and public work, we want to trigger a movement that will ultimately help reverse these declines,” she concluded.

And if you’re wondering where Dippy the Dinosaur is… we’ve got some good news: the iconic National History Museum resident is set to make a comeback and will overlook the East Garden, a space telling the story of Earth’s history.    

The space will open to the public in 2023, and needless to say another green space in central London can’t come soon enough for us!

Buyagift partners with Joe Swash to launch charitable Christmas gift exchange

With Christmas on the horizon (2020 has really flown) Buyagift has teamed up with TV personality and presenter, Joe Swash, to launch webuyanygift.com.

With recent research revealing that 86% of the UK has received an unwanted gift at least once, the new online service lets you exchange your old, unwanted gifts from Christmas past – and you give back to charity in the process.

The all-new site, launched exclusively for Christmas 2020, offers a free and instant online valuation. Simply enter the name of your unwanted gift to get your instant valuation and you could exchange and upgrade to something more memorable within minutes; from spa to racing days – the service has it all.

In addition to their gift exchange, webuyanygift.com is partnering with Shelter, where the unwanted presents donated to the service will be turned into help for people facing homelessness and bad housing in the UK.

Shelter is a nationwide charity that helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support, and legal services. 

Joe Swash, who is helping to launch the initiative, admitted that his present choices have been somewhat desirable at the best of times.

“When it comes to buying presents for Stacey and the kids, I’ve been known to play it safe and get it wrong a few times… that’s why this new service is such a great idea,” he said.

“We all know about exchanging our old, unwanted cars online – why not do the same for that old gift set or pair of pyjamas that are getting dusty under your bed! It’s especially good to know that not only will the service allow you to get a memorable present that you’ve been eyeing up, but the Shelter partnership also means that you can turn old items in to help for people across the UK this Christmas,” Joe concluded.

Webuyanygift.com lets you exchange your old, unwanted gifts in just three simple steps, and you have right up until a week before Christmas on Friday 18th December 2020.

And if you’re wondering what unwanted gifts come out on top, the survey revealed that toiletries took the top spot with 35%, while gift sets clinched second with 30%.

The top ten list also featured:  Bubble bath / bath salts (25%), Candle (20%),  Jewellery (17%), Socks (16%), Perfume (16%), Mug sets (16%), Books (15%), and Knitwear (14%).

Use your old gifts for good, and turn them in to help and support for those in need this Christmas.

To exchange your unwanted gifts, visit here.

South London MC signed by Idris Elba after song was soundtrack on Netflix’s Top Boy

Rising star Che Lingo has opened up about his burgeoning music career following his signing to Idris Elba’s record label in February.

The South London MC – who only became a full-time musician three years ago and has been labelled “one of the most versatile rappers of his generation” – rose to notoriety following the release of his 2018’s Charisma EP which explores depression, love, and the choices young people face while growing up on London’s disadvantaged estates.

Same Energy, a track from the EP, gained widespread attention thanks to it being used as the soundtrack on Netflix’s Top Boy – and it wasn’t long before Idris got in touch.

Photo Credit: Soundcloud

Discussing his good fortune, he told the BBC: “I’ve gone from playing youth clubs, not knowing what I’m doing, to having a conversation with Idris Elba about an album. It was wild, but I maintained my composure. I think I’m quite good at that.”

Idris Elba’s record label 7Wallace took notice of Same Energy – a track that Cue used to call out producers and artists who’d ignored him during the infancy stages of the career – and his DMs soon went into overdrive.

“Fast forward a couple of months later, and Idris is on the phone calling me a genius and saying his son listens to me,” he excitedly recalled.

“I’m like, ‘You’re Idris Elba, bro! This is mad that you’re talking to me, just casually, about how sick you think I am.'”

Idris Elba signed Che to his record label

After signing his name on the dotted line, Che was in the studio, and worked on his highly anticipated debut album titled, The Worst Generation, which was released in October.

Opening up about his new material, he explained that the album dissects the “suffocating” pressures of his neighbourhood.

“It’s a day in the life of somebody who’s perceived to be a road man. He’s just the youth that made some bad decisions as a kid. Now he’s grown up, he doesn’t want anything to do with that lifestyle, but he can’t escape it because things are still following him,” he said.

Prior to the release of his debut album, Che opened up about the process, stating making new music has “genuinely been the hardest time of my entire life”.

And his new album has gone down well with critics and listeners with the Independent giving it 4 stars out of 5, writing “this is an excellent debut.”

Follow Che Lingo on Instagram here.

Dad with Tourette’s goes viral after documenting awkward reality of his condition

A father-of-three, who was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome during his childhood, has become an unlikely hero on TikTok after sharing videos documenting the realities of juggling parenting whilst living with the condition.

Glen Cooney, from Guernsey on the Channel Islands, shares three children –  Emma, 25, Daniel, eight, and Olly, five – with his wife Helen, 43. He developed Tourette’s syndrome aged ten after the tragic death of his cousin, and has since decided to show how Tourette’s affects his daily life.

The 40-year-old has become a breakout star on the social media platform, racking up over 250,000 followers in just under one month, and has garnered interest from across the globe thanks to his daily videos featuring himself splatting his son with custard while baking along with shouting ‘coronavirus’ during a trip to the supermarket.

Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics. It usually starts during childhood, but the tics and other symptoms usually improve after several years and sometimes go away completely. According to Tourettes Action, it is estimated that TS affects one school child in every hundred and more than 300,000 children and adults in the UK live with the condition. 

Opening up about his condition, Glen explained that he’s trying to live his life as openly and as honestly as he can.

“My most recent tic is fake sneezing and shouting ‘coronavirus’ in supermarkets, it happens and when I look up I’m surrounded by people backing away from me,” he told MailOnline.

“I can’t help the verbal and physical tics when they happen, and I haven’t had the condition since birth so I have been learning how to live with it. Sometimes I see bald people with lots of facial hair, look up and shout “your head is upside down” while pointing at them.”

‘It can get really embarrassing sometimes but over time I have learnt to accept the things I can’t control and try to live my life as openly and honestly as I can.”

Glen added that he hopes his videos help people living with Tourette’s along with breaking down the stigma attached to the condition, and said his tics are “never malicious”.

“Sometimes I come home and wonder what on earth I have done because outdoor stimulation really sets me off. Not long ago there was a guy that I swore at really loudly, he looked at me like I broke his heart. I always try to explain why I have done it if I have a tic, and often people will listen, but the problem is that it’s not subtle. I’m loud and will laugh loud.”

He continued: “I even copy accents, if I hear someone with a different accent I will mimic it sarcastically, but it’s never malicious.”

He is currently raising money for Tourettes Action – a charity helping people with Tourette Syndrome receive the practical support and social acceptance they need to help them live their lives to the full. Next month, Glen is undertaking a series of solo fundraising events starting with a 27-mile walk around Guernsey on Sunday November 1st.

“It will be difficult, not only because of the distance, but because of all of the outdoor stimulation – there’s so much to see and hear it can be a real challenge,” he told Guernsey Press.

To donate to Glen’s fundraising appeal, click here.

Meet the empowerment coach helping people deal with trauma

2020 has had a massive impact on people’s mental and physical wellbeing. The months of lockdown and loss have had a huge impact on us all, and the pandemic has caused a detrimental effect on Brits’ mental health.

Emmy Brunner, CEO of The Recover Clinic, a leading London outpatient clinic and online recovery programme for trauma, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, recently published a mini-book, Trauma Redefined, designed to help you take control of your journey to better mental health.

In 2007 Emmy founded The Recover Clinic, and subsequently turned her attention to her new venture, The Brunner Project. The initiative was created to assist with providing essential information and financial support to some of the amazing, not-for-profit organisations that are on a mission to redefine mental health treatment.

Uspire chatted to Emmy about her incredible team at The Recovery Clinic, her enthusiasm towards The Brunner Project and what’s next.

Opening up about the services at The Recover Clinic, Emmy explains: “The Recover Clinic was born from a passion I held to treat people as opposed to ‘diagnosis’. I believe that all of what we describe as ‘mental illness’ are responses to trauma and that when we learn more loving and nurturing coping strategies, we begin to heal.

“My clinic offers substantial outpatient and online programs that include everything from 1-2-1 psychotherapy to sex and relationship groups. The clinic began as my own private practice and has since grown into the most wonderfully nurturing community.”

Emmy added that her focus was to help women “become empowered,” adding: “My aim was to build a community of support for women who have experienced trauma and to empower women to heal and to realise their highest vision for themselves. I continue to explore different ways of helping women to become empowered and to realise they can manifest lives that they’d previously never dreamed of.”

Having been established for 15 years now, the response has been overwhelming and The Recover Clinic has since become Europe’s leading outpatient clinics.

“Our online services are also now available to those based in the United States as well,” she says. “We have been running for 15 years now and I think this is testament to the clinic being grounded in loving and spiritual values.”

Emmy, who is a Psychotherapist, Spiritual Recovery Coach, Author and Mental Health Speaker, “wants people to know that regardless of their journey or experiences, we are capable of profound healing”. She continues: “Through my clinic we have created a space where people feel seen, heard and held…which are rare things.”

Explaining her experience in the sector, Emmy adds: “I have been a clinician for the last 17 years. As well as being the CEO of The Recover Clinic, my work today is focused upon working 1-2-1 with dynamic and ambitious women with whom I create bespoke packages that allow them to connect to their most authentic selves and reach their highest potential.”

Alongside The Recover Clinic, Emmy is also behind The Brunner Project which is on a mission to redefine mental health treatment by making it more accessible, personal and open for everyone.

“My aim is to allow as many other wonderful organisations to benefit from the healing and community that we’ve created at The Recover Clinic,” she replies.

What’s the plan for the future? “I’m looking to create and expand on our digital offerings to enable even more to benefit from the teachings that we share at my clinic,” she responds. “We are also about to launch an ‘embodied stories’ group at my clinic which is elevating the trauma healing work that we offer to a new and dynamic level.

“I love what I do, I’m very grateful for my own recovery and to be in a position to offer others something that I’ve learnt myself.”

Girl, 10, writes original song for Dave Grohl following epic drum battle

It’s a drum off that no-one saw coming, but last month Nandi Bushell and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl took part in a virtual music battle.

2020 may have been a washout, but thanks to the power of social media, Nandi, 10, showed off her sticks skills online after challenging the legendary musician to a drum off. And Nandi has since wowed with her songwriting skills as she recently revealed she has penned an original track, aptly titled ‘Rock and Grohl‘.

Posting the music video to YouTube, which has already gained 624,000 views in under a week, the 4-minute clip sees the youngster, dressed in an eye-catching purple cape and matching skirt, style out her musical talents by playing a variety of instruments including the electric guitar, bass, and keyboard.

Credit: Nandi Bushell/YouTube

Underneath, she wrote: “Mr Grohl. The song you wrote for me was truly, truly EPIC! You really are LEGENDARY! I wrote a song for you to say THANK YOU! I made up and played all the instrument parts myself, just like you! It’s called ‘ROCK and GROHL, The EPIC Battle’!

“I hope you love my song, as much as I love your song for me! Whoever wins this round, it’s been an HONOUR to battle you. The Rock Gods of old are happy! Thank you Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters.”

The lyrics to the catchy song features: “Rock ‘n’ roll is my love/ rock and roll is my soul/ Rock and Grohl will help me change the world.”

And Nandi’s musical masterpiece didn’t go unnoticed by Dave,51, who swiftly replied: “I’m down, but I’m now out. Your epic song will definitely be hard to beat, but I think I know just what to do…”

[Credit: Dave Grohl/YouTube]

The musical battle first came to light on Twitter when Nandi tagged the former Nirvana drummer in a tweet, proposing for them to take part in a huge transatlantic clash. With the budding star impressing with her incredible rendition of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, Dave took to his kit, and hammered out Them Crooked Vultures track Dead End Friends, much to the delight of Nandi and thousands of fans.

Following round 1 of their epic content, which rapidly went viral on social media, Dave, pulled out all the stops as he wrote an original song for his drumming pal.

Enlisting his two children as backing vocalists (known as The Grohlettes), Dave, fashioning a snappy checkered shirt, informed the aspiring musician that he’s making the song up on the spot. Sat behind his drums, he proclaimed: “Ok Nandi… you got me. You win round one – but I’ve got something special for you; something you’ve never heard before, something I’ve never heard before because I’m about to write this right off the top of my head.”

[Nandi Bushell/YouTube]

The video, which to date has amassed 442,596 views, was lauded by users, including one who gushed: “This whole back and forth with Nandi and Dave has restored my faith in humanity. Seriously almost choked up with the feels. There goes my hero.”

“Dave Grohl is a legendary human being, the look on Nandi’s face after seeing this is priceless,” another chipped in.

Watch this space.. we have a feeling round three is coming very soon!