Glittering Night of Celebration for Young People

Outstanding social action by young people was recognised at the third Celebrating Young People Awards.

On Thursday 23 November 2017 hundreds of young people, youth workers and teachers, family and friends gathered in London's Leicester Square to celebrate the inspirational lives of so many young people, nominated by you. 

The 2017 Celebrating Young People Awards, hosted by Million Minutes and with guest of honour Archbishop McMahon, highlighted some of the amazing young people across England and Wales who are transforming lives in their local communities. 

See all the stories of the young recipients here.

See all the photos here.

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Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool Presented the Pope Francis Award to 18-year-old Aaron Omotosho of the Loreto College in Manchester. Aaron founded and continues to run a project called Help Manchester which encourages young people locally to support day centres that feed and shelter homeless people daily. Aaron studies Computing, and has set up a computing project for underprivileged young people in North Manchester. “Aaron is quite unique as all of this is entirely his own initiative, and he genuinely cares about those living in poverty and making their voices heard,” says his college chaplain. Aaron is an active member of the college’s Social Justice Group having helped raise funds for and awareness of local homelessness charities, as well as CAFOD and Laughter Africa further afield. Archbishop Malcolm congratulated him and the other young people, telling them that “you are not the Church of tomorrow but the Church of today”. He described the evening as “uplifting”.

See his story and the story of all the awards here


Margaret and Barry Mizen, who have worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation since their son Jimmy was murdered in 2008, presented the Jimmy Mizen award It recognises young people who have shown commitment to the common good or peacemaking. Winners were Hannah Rai and Zoe Ray from St Mary’s Catholic School Newcastle upon Tyne who organised a recent conference on welcoming refugees; Anna Chapman from St Anselm’s School in Kent who is a mentor for younger students with anger or behaviour problems; and Ella Holliday (pictured with Margaret and Barry) from St Bede’s School in Lytham who is a Young Peace Journalist, supported by Pax Christi, and who focuses on the plight of refugees.  

See all the stories here.


The Chaplaincy team for The Douay Martyrs Catholic School, Ickenham, Diocese of Westminster, received their Cardinal Hume Award from Cathy Corcoran (CEO of the Cardinal Hume Centre), and former Centre Client Jordan Downer. See all the stories here.

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St Edward’s Youth Catholic Council from Keymer, West Sussex, whose ages range between 12 and 14, were winners of the Cardinal Hume Award for ‘living out the option for the poor’. They have thrown a spotlight on the issue of rough sleeping, asking how they as young people can improve the situation for homeless people. Their ‘big sleep out’ fundraiser got sponsors online and after Masses. They built shelters out of cardboard boxes and slept rough for a night on the church patio to raise awareness. The response from the parish has been enthusiastic, with one person commenting that, “these young people keep our Catholic community fresh and vibrant”. See all the stories here.


The awards ceremony enjoyed music from the choir of Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith.  In her thanks at the end Margaret Mizen, a champion of Million Minutes, urged those present to continue to support Million Minutes and undertake next year’s ‘siLENT’ Challenge. 

Celebrating Young People Awards: Shortlist 2017

The shortlist for the Celebrating Young People Awards 2017 have been announced by Million Minutes. Now in its third year and with an ever expanding list of nominators, we have received nominations from schools, parishes and organisations across England and Wales. The awards honour the achievements of those young people who make our communities and  a better place. Their achievements are a witness to all of us of the dedication that young people have to make a difference.

Young people were nominated in six categories, each celebrating a different aspect of Catholic social teaching lived out in action. The nominations recount examples of ordinary young people with extraordinary commitment. We hear of young people taking the initiative to find new ways to serve those around them, alongside others who tirelessly and without complaint get on with the challenging situations they find themselves in - often resulting in the most inspiring examples of social action. There are young family carers, volunteers, campaigners and eco warriors, to name just a few. The judging panels had a difficult task, but they have now chosen their shortlists - see below - and the award recipients will be announced at a glittering ceremony in Leicester Square on 23 November 2017. (The CYMFed Youth Leader Award and the Pope Francis Award do not have a shortlist. The recipients will be announced at the ceremony).

St Josephine Bakhita Award: Celebrating human dignity

St Greg's Young Carer Ambassadors: St Gregory the Great School, Oxford
Caitolin Ali: Bellerive FCJ Catholic College, Liverpool
Alex Griffiths: Bishop Milner Catholic College, Dudley
Hannah Burton: Ursuline High School, Wimbledon
Ethan Suppaya: St Bonaventure's Catholic School, Forest Gate
Daisy Douglas: Loreto Grammar School, Altrincham

Cardinal Hume Award: Living out the option for the poor

Julie-Anne Ntege: Catholic Chaplaincy, Southampton
Wiliam Kent: Newman House, London
Chaplaincy Team: The Douay Martyrs Catholic School, Ickenham
Jacinta Villabolos-Finigan: Priory School, Birmingham
Aaron Omotosho: Loretto College, Manchester
St Edwards Youth Catholic Council: St Edward's and St Luke's Parish, Keymer

Barbara Ward Award: Caring for the environment

Joab Pelling: St Joseph's Catholic High School, Newport
Charlotte Bray: Newman University, Birmingham
Matthew Gowens: Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, Fleetwood
CAFOD Climate Champions: CAFOD
Eco Committee 2016/17: St Gregory's Catholic Science College, Harrow
The One World Group: St Wilfrid's Catholic School, Crawley

Joseph Cardijn Award: Protecting the dignity of workers

Billingham YCW Group: St Thomas of Canterbury Parish, Billingham
Alexandra Grant: St Mary's Catholic High School, Croydon
Jonathan Wright: Thornleigh Salesian College
Artur Sobota: St Paul the Apostle Parish, London
St. Anthony's YCW Impact Group: St. Anthony's RC Girls' Academy, Sunderland
St Vincent’s Young Adult Group: St Joseph's and St Vincent's Parishes, Nechells

Dorothy Day Award: Fostering community and participation

Dylan Went: Finchley Catholic High School
Chris Hill: Ratcliffe College, Leicester
Courteney Manning: Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, Fleetwood
James Teague: St Joseph's Parish, Wealdstone and HCPT group 144
Niamh Ross: St Thomas More Catholic High School, Crewe
St Gregory's Harrow, Sixth Form: St Gregory's Catholic Science College, Harrow
Kelsea Curran: Bellerive FCJ Catholic College, Liverpool

Jimmy Mizen Award: Promoting solidarity and peace

Just.Is: St Mary's Catholic School, Newcastle upon Tyne
Yeshi Berhanu: St Angela's Ursuline School, London
Victoria Roddis: Loreto Grammar School, Altrincham
Joshua Vicente: Courtyard Project, Wood Green
Anna Chapman: St Anselm’s Catholic School, Canterbury
Ella Holliday: St Bede's Catholic High School, Lytham

Outstanding Young People Celebrated By Cardinal Nichols And Catholic Community At Londons’ Barbican Centre

Outstanding social action by young people was recognised at the second Celebrating Young People Awards.

On Tuesday 19 July 2016 hundreds of young people, youth workers and teachers, family and friends gathered at the Barbican Centre to celebrate the inspirational lives of so many young people, nominated by you. 

The 2016 Celebrating Young People Awards, hosted by Baroness Hollins and Rt Hon Ruth Kelly and with guest of honour Cardinal Nichols, highlighted some of the amazing young people across England and Wales who are transforming lives in their local communities. From the young family carer upholding human dignity, to the young man campaigning to improve the living standards of those living with disabilities, all the young people we met are living out the social teaching of the Church. Their commitment and drive is infectious, mixed with real humility. 

Cardinal Nichols chose and presented the Pope Francis Award from the hundreds of nominees. Congratulations to Matthew Martin, a sixth form student from Bolton, Greater Manchester. For the past two years, Matthew has been helping people who are homeless in Bolton, Greater Manchester. From November to April he gives up every Saturday night, from 7 pm – 1 am, preparing and serving food to between 50 and 70 people aged between 16 and 90. 

Danny Curtin from Million Minutes, said: “Through these awards we are celebrating all the inspirational young in our Catholic communities. Too often young people are overlooked, or even blamed for societies’ problems. What we want to say through the example of the young people we are celebrating tonight is that young people can be the difference in this world, and sometimes the rest of us just have to take time to stop to realise this.”

Baroness Hollins said, “We need to take time to celebrate young people, to celebrate all of you gathered here tonight and the hundreds more who have been nominated. We are celebrating all of you. Thank you for your commitment to build a more just and peaceful world – a world where everyone can flourish.”

Rt Hon Ruth Kelly, Pro Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, said: “I’m so delighted that St Mary’s is involved in these awards and partnering with Million Minutes. It reflects our commitment to the Catholic community and to helping to transform young lives”.

You can read about and be inspired by all award recipients here and photos from the night are on our Flickr page.

We’re looking forward to continuing the journey with all the award recipients. In October we’ll meet together for a weekend to learn from and inspire one another. 

The 2017 Awards are planned for November – we’ll announce them here soon.