A young volunteer ship visitor and a group of urban gardeners were just two of the incredible winners at this year’s Celebrating Young People Awards which have been announced at a glittering ceremony in Central London on 3 July.
The awards – now in their fourth year – were powered by Million Minutes. Hundreds of young people were nominated in six categories, each celebrating a different aspect of Catholic social teaching lived out in action. Danny Curtin, the CEO of Million Minutes said the judging panels were “very impressed by all the young people nominated”.
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. Cardinal Nichols congratulated her, and the other young people present, telling them that he was so proud “to see and sense the vitality of the faith of our Church embodied in so many of the young people gathered tonight”. He added they “have so much generosity and verve for life.”
Danny and Eva Mizen, who along with his family have worked tirelessly 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 who make up the International Pupil Council who are working on and delivering projects linking to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Danny Curtin explained “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.”
The Awards evening announced the launch of a new campaign, Million Minutes of Change. Million Minutes will deliver a message to the young people of England and Wales, letting them know valuable and important they are to the Church. Together, they are being invited to creating a million minutes of social action to help change the world: millionminutes.org/change.
View pictures from the night here