Young ship visitor among those recognised at Celebrating Young People Awards 2019

By agency reporter
July 7, 2019

A young volunteer ship visitor and a group of urban gardeners were two of the winners at this year’s Celebrating Young People Awards.  Launched in 2015, the awards are in six categories, based on Catholic Social Teaching: promoting dignity of the human person, community and participation, the dignity of workers, solidarity and peace, the option for the poor, and the care of creation. 

Hundreds of young people were nominated, and the awards ceremony was hosted by Million Minutes, a charity that supports action and advocacy activities by young people which can transform their lives and their world.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols presented the Pope Francis Award to 24-year-old Hannah Forrest who is a volunteer ship visitor for Stella Maris (Apostleship of the Sea) in Plymouth. She regularly visits the ships in port and her work has been vital to the seafarers who come across the world and arrive isolated and fatigued. She has also raised awareness of seafarers in her parish, recruiting other ship visitors ensuring that many more seafarers receive a welcome. 

A group of 12-year-olds from St John Vianney Special Education Needs School Manchester were awarded the Cardinal Hume Award for ‘living out the option for the poor’. The group support local charities by donating food, clothing, toiletries and money - and give up their lunch breaks. Their teacher said that being recognised, “would mean the world to them as they do not get much outside recognition for all their hard work. They face difficulties daily, often being negatively judged. But these are some of the kindest and spiritually amazing children I have worked with. They are so kind and caring and want to help others despite their own circumstances, it would make a huge difference in their lives”.

The Barbara Ward caring for the environment Award saw the biggest increase in nominations since the last awards in 2017. Recipients included; St John Bosco College Young Gardeners from Battersea who established a gardening club on an old football pitch at the back of school; Annalia Rathoor, from Blessed Robert Widermerpool Catholic Academy in Nottingham, who leads campaigns on litter picking, plastic-bans and animal-safety campaigns and through this, has helped her school renew its Green Flag Award; and Tom Allan from St Mary’s School, Menston, who established a Global Warriors Group and now sits on the Diocesan Leeds Justice and Peace Commission.

Danny and Eva Mizen, who along with his family have worked for peace and reconciliation since his brother Jimmy was murdered in 2008, presented the Jimmy Mizen award for solidarity and peace. Award recipient Shanea Oldham from St Bonaventure’s School, Forest Gate, has addressed youth safety in Newham; Ellie Heyes from St John Rigby Sixth Form College, Lancashire, supports socially isolated young people while walking the streets with her local church; and Amelia Prajsnar and Lewis Mitchell from St Mary Queen of Martyrs Voluntary Catholic Academy make up the International Pupil Council who are working on and delivering projects linking to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Danny Curtin, CEO of Million Minutes, said: “Young people all too often get a bad name, but their selfless and sometimes unseen actions can inspire all of us. Million Minutes is all about giving a voice to the young people that get overlooked. We’re delighted to have held these awards for the fourth year to recognise young people from across England and Wales. We want to celebrate all that they are and all that they give to our world.”

At the awards ceremony on 3 July 2019, the launch of a new campaign was announced: Million Minutes of Change. Million Minutes will invite young people to create a million minutes of social action to help change the world.

* The Million Minutes of Change resource pack is here

* Million Minutes



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