Every year dozens of ships arrive at the port of Plymouth. The seafarers onboard will come from the four corners of the earth; the Philippines, Syria, Ukraine on what is perhaps their first visit to Britain. They will be away from family and loved ones for many months, often isolated and fatigued.
Hannah Forrest (24), a recent psychology graduate from the University of Plymouth, is one of the Stella Maris-Apostleship of the Sea volunteers that are a friend for them.
13-year-old Faith Richardson is incredibly giving of her time and talents. From learning sign language and then subsequently acting as an Interpreter for a deaf lady at her local parish church, to attending a hospital forum on behalf of her foster cousin who is undergoing treatment, Faith made sure to use her voice to ensure that her cousin and other’s like him had their voices heard. Faith also learnt Braille to help her cousin with his schoolwork.
18 year old Christy Downer is a role model to her school and local community. Her weekly service to the Shaftesbury Group, which welcomes 30 adults with learning disabilities from across the community gather together, has had a big impact on those that regularly attend. Christy listens to the guests, plays games and shares the good news of the week with them. She is always the first to arrive and the last to leave which is testament to her commitment. On top of studying for her A-levels, Christy, without fail, finds time in her week to give to others.
From a young age Caitlin, 19, has been concerned about the welfare of others. In high school she helped raise money by making and selling cakes for local Charities. A trip to help in a Zambian school opened her eyes to what life is like for children and the everyday struggles they face. She donated the proceeds from car boot sales to buy materials for the school. She also donated all her cherished football kits to the children there
In a story of David and Goliath proportions Ethan, Michael, Ana and Zeruiah from St Anthonys Catholic Primary School, Newham, have managed to convince London City Airport through song to raise the wages of 100 workers. The group’s song, titled “Realise”, and its message has been supported by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Daisy Alston-Horne, 18-years-old, joined Prior Park College in the Sixth Form and made an immediate impact on the community by her commitment to speak out for justice and her ability to inspire others. She dedicates herself to the dignity of other students - and primary children - acting as a peer listener, as a member of the student council and by engaging in in the local Youth Parliament. Daisy has said that growing up in South Africa meant there was no choice about being politically interested.
Ellie Heyes volunteers in her local church group called The Edge in Wigan. The group meets weekly and run youth nights every Friday. Ellie heads up the welcome team on the nights and makes sure that everyone feels welcome and supported. Young people who attend include those that are socially isolated and perhaps find themselves walking the streets late on a Friday night. The Edge gives them a safe place to socialise with people of a similar age. They set up a range of structured activities that the young people can take part in. Most recently for Good Friday the group met and shared a Friday feast together.
18-year-old Shanea Oldham was spurred into action after a teenager was stabbed in her neighbourhood. She went to help him lying in the street and what she witnessed left a huge mark on her. She vowed to put an end to the increasing amount of violence in Newham. Her calm, authoritative and knowledgeable manner along with her passion and drive impressed everyone she met. She was determined to bring about change and reduce the fear amongst teenagers on the streets.
Saint John Bosco College is in the midst of Battersea’s tower-block estates. A group of enthusiastic and hard-working year 7s established the very first school gardening club, meeting weekly after school. The young gardeners took a small otherwise ignored patch of playground, and with commitment, passion and a great deal of industry and imag
Annalia Rathoor is an 11-year-old environmentalist with big dreams. She was nominated for a Barbara Ward: Caring for the Environment Award at the Celebrating Young People Awards for her recent efforts at school litter-picking, banning plastic and for her innovative animal safety campaigns. She was also one of the lead members of her Eco Team to help renew her schools Green Flag Award.
Tom Allan is a 17-year-old from Leeds, who since Year 7 has stood out from the crowd and made his belief and passion about the environment known to all. He has been an advocate and student voice of his school’s Global Warriors Group, which works across the year groups, building whole-school awareness of the need for action by giving regular assemblies and through the Student Voice.
Samuel Wilson is a positive witness to the Gospel through his words and actions, and is a role model across the Dewsbury deanery. Samuel welcomes all opportunities including training Altar Servers, leading Worship music and reads in school and the parishes, just a few examples to demonstrate his leadership and excellent communication skills to all ages on a daily basis. Samuel has embraced the opportunity to co-ordinate mission teams delivering assemblies to all year groups for CAFOD, Aid to The Church in Need and Missio.
Jehanut Bari has been part of St Angela's since she was 11. She is Muslim and started very unsure about how the Catholic community would interact with her. She threw herself in: Jehanut participates in many school events both taking the lead or as part of the organising committee.
Ashton Baker is an 11-year-old girl who is Chair of her school’s Chaplaincy Team and has been appointed ambassador for her school due to her attitude and commitment to living Christian values. In her role as ambassador, Ashton heard about street children in the Philippines and researched money spent on Easter Eggs for the pupils. She gave a presentation and all 425 pupils voted to donate the money to those living in poverty in the Philippines!
Harry Wale, 18, volunteers twice a week at a charity called The Brick in Wigan supporting people who are homeless, in poverty or facing debt. As its name suggests, it provides a safe, solid building block for people in crisis to begin to construct a new life and become valuable members of society.
St John Vianney’s is a Catholic special school in the North West and the pupils that attend have moderate learning difficulties and complex needs. Over the last two years, Leland, Isaac and Leon have been instrumental in the school’s Caritas team. The group have supported charities by gathering donations of food, clothing, toiletries and cash (giving up their lunch breaks in the process). They have made an effort to walk in others’ shoes, even sharing a meal with asylum seekers at their school. Their willingness to help out has set them apart.
Dawn Wilkinson has committed every Sunday for the last 16 years to the St Monica’s Impact Group in Flixton, Manchester. She has helped enable hundreds of young people from the primary school to stay connected to the parish and to their primary friends, as well as walk a journey of faith and action together. The first generation of this young group are now well into their twenties and still think fondly of their time in the group.