Loreto IMPACT and YCW Group Take Action on Human Trafficking

This week the YCW Training and Development Worker, Marc Besford, and National Chaplain, Fr John Marsland, went to visit Loreto Grammar School's IMPACT and YCW Group.

The young people at the All-Girls Catholic School have been exploring the issue of human trafficking over the school year, following a talk about it by Sr Imelda who talked about her experience of dealing with this in Albania.

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As part of their Group work, the young people began by looking further into the topic during the SEE and JUDGE stage and decide that they wanted to take action around it.

Their first ACT was to raise wider awareness of human trafficking by speaking at their school assemblies. This was followed by some fundraising efforts to help support the work tackling it around the world and giving support to the victims of it.

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Marc Besford commented on the work of the Loreto Group saying: "The girls at the school are a great example of how youth leaders can use the SEE, JUDGE, ACT method to tackle important issues. I was really impressed about how they worked together to raise awareness amongst their peers. I hope they will continue to successfully use the YCW method on other topics in future."

As well as their work on human trafficking, the Group have begun exploring the current YCW National Campaign on Mental Health called MIND! The Gap. They will be using some of the resources to look more deeply into this important topic.

Next Week is Mental Health Awareness Week

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year for Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May), the focus will be on stress. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this.

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The Mental Health Foundation ha said that: "By tackling stress, we can go a long way to tackle mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and, in some instances, self-harm and suicide. We will be looking at how we can tackle stress and therefore help improve our mental health."

Currently, the YCW are running a National Campaign on mental health called MIND! The Gap and the results of our survey have highlighted stress as a big issue for young people, alongside anxiety and depression. We will be using mental health awareness week to feed back some of our findings, so keep an eye out for these updates.

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YCW Group Meets at Trafford Park HQ

The regular meeting of the YCW Trafford Park HQ Group met last week to continue their ongoing discussions around the National Campaign, "MIND! The Gap".

Having previously used the Mental Health resource to more broadly cover the general issue around it, the Group delved more deeply into the topic of relationships and their impact on the mental health of young people.

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To begin with, the values of good and bad relationships were talked about including the link between this and mental health. For many young people, there is increased pressure on them from a variety of sources and if this is not dealt with openly it can lead to a negative spiral.

Added to this, the Group discussed some of the difficulties that many young people face to financially sustain relationships and friendships. Often the cost of socialising means there is huge pressure to spend too much money and potentially fall into debt. This too was raised as an issue that could negatively affect someone's mental health.

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YCW Attends "Working for a Better Future" Conference

The YCW attended an event this week held by Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and the Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Trade Union Congress.

The meeting was to gain insights from Catholic Social Teaching into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with issues of automation, Brexit, workers’ rights, discrimination and the gig economy being discussed.

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The Conference posed the question: How do we face the threats and opportunities presented by this new world, so that no one is left behind and all are respected and valued?

With the world of work changing so substantially over the last 20 years, innovative solutions are needed to protect the interests of workers. The principles behind this will be incredibly important and Catholic Social Teaching represents an opportunity to influence this.

The organisers of the event spoke about the nature of work, saying: "Workers have an inalienable right to human dignity and their labour cannot be reduced to a commodity. Work is both an obligation and a right, for it is a means of human fulfilment by which a person may become "more a human being".

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The event hosted several high profile speakers: 

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, 2017 President of the TUC

Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Birmingham

Rob Flello, Political consultant, former Labour MP and shadow Justice Minister

and held panel discussions with:

Dr Anna Rowlands, Associate Professor of Catholic Social Thought & Practice, Clifford Longley, author, broadcaster and journalist

Kevin Flanagan, National President GMB Commercial Services Section

In terms of Catholic Social Teaching, the theme of work has been very prominent since Rerum Novarum. Perhaps the fullest discussion of human work is in St Pope John Paul II's encyclical Laborem Exercens (1981), saying: "human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question."

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Marc Besford, YCW Training and Development Worker, who attended the Conference said: "It was an enlightening day, with lots of useful and insightful comments on the challenges many young people face around work. It was great to be able to share some of the experiences of our young members with the panel."

Feast Of Saint Joseph The Worker And International Workers' Day 2018

Today marks the joint celebration of the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and International Workers' Day.

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It is a chance to acknowledge the role of workers in our world and renew our commitment to ensuring there is dignity in work.

In 1955, Pope Pius XII also established the day as the Feast of St Joseph the Worker in order to reflect Joseph's status as a model for and patron of workers. The Church highlights, especially, Joseph's patience, persistence, courage, and hard work.

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In the words of St Pope John Paul II: “Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God.”

We ask that you keep workers in your prayers and continue your support of our mission to young workers in particular. 

79th National Council of the YCW in England and Wales

The YCW held its 79th National Council on 28th April 2018, at St Monica's RC Church in Flixton, Manchester.

The National Council draws together members, companions and national leaders from across the country to provide training, plan for the future, as well as the official aspects of the Council itself - approving the accounts and resolutions put before the members.

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This council elected two new posts, National Secretary and National Treasurer. Ben Sinclair from Billingham YCW was elected Secretary and Sean Smith as National Treasurer.

Ben commented on his election to the position, saying: “I am really pleased to be joining the National Team and look forward to getting started. Since we have a growing number of groups and companions across England and Wales we are planning on boosting our communication efforts, which is really exciting.”

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The day itself consisted of the formal Council in the morning and then in the afternoon IMPACT members joined the event for training around our current campaign on young people and mental health called “MIND! The Gap”.

The group then celebrated Mass together along with the parishioners of St Monica’s and contributed to the Mass with music, prayers and a drama on the Gospel of the day. Mass concluded with each member renewing their promise of devotion to serve, educate and represent young people; live out and spread the ideals of the YCW; play an active part in the YCW and say the YCW prayer daily.

National President Kate Wilkinson said: "It was fantastic to see so many of our members and adult companions there as we look to the future of our movement.

Can I also just say a big thank you to Becca Henderson who served as part of our National Team for many years. Becca is a tremendous asset to our movement and we know that even though she's left the National Team, her prayers and best wishes will continue to support us all.”

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