I love Birmingham!

Maybe I'm biased, but Birmingham is where it's at. Although it's about a decade since I last lived in God's own Archdiocese, it's still a very important part of my story. And my story is the story of BCYS.

I'm a Stafford boy, and BCYS for me was Diane Lamb, a fearless woman with a big laugh and a dodgy car. I wonder if she still has them both?!

From my stint in the Staffordshire Youth Team (helping to run youth Masses) when I was about 16, to the ecumenical work I did with Churches Together in England a couple of years later and even representing England and Wales at a memorable Catholic conference in Hungary aged about 20, BCYS was all about offering me and my peers opportunities to get involved and grow.

And then there was the Lourdes trip and the Walsingham jaunts, and even a World Youth Day. All very Catholic.

They were important times, growing in faith along with a group of amazing young people, with the support of greats of the Archdiocese like Diane Lamb, Eddie Clare (a big MM supporter!), Mark Crisp, Maria Bracken (Robinson back in my day!) and Jo Boyce. I was always a bit daunted by their all-round aceness, frankly!

So it's a massive thrill to be able to work with BCYS as partners in this November's silence now that I'm all grown up (29 going on 19). Two brilliant Catholic youth charities doing what they do best to support and encourage a new generation of young people grow into the people the world needs them to be.

It's testament to BCYS' long term vision. How did Oscar Romero put it? "We are prophets of a future not our own". That's about right. And I'm not the only one, you know. Birmingham youth are spread the world over (I saw one working with young people in New Zealand the other month).

So let's hear it for BCYS, but SHHH! let's do it in silence!

Daniel Hale is Campaigns Officer at Progressio and a Trustee of Million Minutes. He lives in London, in constant sadness that it's not quite as good as Birmingham.