Preston IMPACT! Women And Girls Leadership Programme Update

A few months ago we highlighted an exciting new project being run in Preston aimed at women and girls through a UKYouth led project called “EpowHER” which is also supported by the British Red Cross. There has been a lot of inspiring work going on since then, so here is an update outlining what else had been happening.

EmpowHER was created to inspire young women and girls to lead change in their community. The programme, delivered in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust with funding from Spirit of 2012, aims to address low levels of well-being amongst young women and girls in the UK by empowering them to have a voice, be heard and give back to their local community.


In Preston, the IMPACT! Group there have been working through the first phase of the project. This including being asked to open an International Women’s Day event in Blackpool and hold a workshop on body image. This workshop was an opportunity to explore how negative attitudes around body image can have a devastating effect on the mental health of young people, but especially women and girls.

In fact, next week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation (13th-19th May), has as it’s theme this year “Body Image”. Further details on this can be found here:

The group are now reviewing how the first phase has gone and have been working on further plans to see what more can be done to encourage women and girls to develop their leadership skills.

New Group Established In Oldham

There is further good news about the development of another IMPACT Group being formed in Oldham, this time based in St Patrick’s Parish.

Marc Besford from the National Team visited the Parish following an expression of interest from the Parish Priest, Fr Phil Sumner. He met with over a dozen enthusiastic young people who were keen to get involved with the work of the YCW.

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The young people were given an introduction into the fundamentals of the movement, including the YCW Method and the focus on developing young people into Christian leaders. Asked what their realities were, the young leaders talked about the injustices of being unable to access adequate public transport. This meant that many of them struggled to access a wider pool of opportunities for education, work and socialising.

As the young leaders in St Patrick’s continue to work through the YCW Method we hope to share more about their development.

Marc Besford, National Training and Development Worker, said: “It was great to see so many young people want to explore how they can step up and make their voices count. In the YCW we believe there is power in giving young people the chance to take a lead in response to the challenges within their own realities. I hope to visit St Patrick’s again soon to see more of their work.”

Feast Of Saint Joseph The Worker And International Workers' Day

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.”

This year the YCW is also launching a new fundraising campaign to coincide with today’s important commemoration. Throughout the YCW’s history, it has relied on the generosity of it’s members and supporters to keep going. One such initiative was the option to donate a days wage - or perhaps the equivalent of this spread over the year as a regular donation.

If you would like to support the YCW and our mission to uphold the dignity of work - please visit or download a standing order form here.

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

YCW To Host Ralph Heskett, Bishop for Youth

The YCW is hosting the Rt. Rev. Raplh Heskett, Bishop of Hallam and Designated Bishop for Youth, for a training day on 25th May 2019 (11am-4pm).

The training is aimed at YCW Adult Companions but will be open to anyone who is working in the various forms of youth ministry across the Church.

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Bishop Heskett will focus his remarks on the recent Papal Encyclical called “Christ is Alive” and the Synod for Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to share and discuss good practice for new and existing Companions and a chance to hear about all the latest updates from the YCW.

If you would like to attend - please email so that we can confirm numbers.

There will be lunch and refreshments provided.

Preston Develops Another New IMPACT Group

A new IMPACT group has been set up at St Cecilia’s High School in Longridge, Preston.

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Following a visit from National Training and Development Worker, Marc Besford, with School Chaplain, Ann Bretherton, there was an initial meeting of young people held to look at what the YCW is and does. It was also an opportunity to explore the realities of the young people and what they would like to explore through the SEE-JUDGE-ACT Method.

A major issue being raised by young people all across the country is climate change and the environment. In fact, we have seen in recent times young leaders emerging through the “School Strike for Climate” movement. Therefore, it was no surprise when the young people at St Cecilia’s decide to look at these issues, and how they could begin to make a difference locally.

Marc Besford congratulated the Group on their formation, saying: “It is great to see another new IMPACT Group being set up. The young people at St Cecilia’s are enthusiastic about being the difference on matters they care passionately about and I hope to be able to visit again soon to see what progress they are making.”