IMPACT Group Puts Concerns Into Action

St Anthony's IMPACT Group in Sunderland have been working to "Save God’s Creation", one plastic bottle at a time!

Amongst the dog walkers and families on Roker Beach (Sunderland), St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy held its seasonal litter pick one cold and rainy February weekend, organised by the IMPACT Group.

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The litter pick was initiated over the Christmas season when the young people got to thinking about how they could raise money for their chosen Christmas charity and also to give something back to the community. A coastal litter pick was the conclusion, and quickly the girls got to work organising sponsorship money and checking the tides for a weekend in early February.

Before and during this event the young people were reminded of Pope Francis’ papal document Laudato Si and in particular this quote resonated with the pupils when they studied it as part of their GCSE course: “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (Laudato Si 14). The litter pick was a chance for pupils to preserve God’s creation one small step at a time.

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Over the past year there has been a 10% increase in rubbish washed up on the UK’s beaches says the Marine Conservation Society and most of it, plastic. This has harmed local wildlife and has impacted significantly on the beautiful coastal landscape. 

The pupils and staff at St Anthony’s have conducted litter picks in the past and this was a great opportunity to follow up on their great work.  Miss Prestwood, Assistant Key Stage Director at St Anthony’s and organiser of the event praised the girls saying, ”The dedication of the girls has been fantastic and to come here on a very wet Saturday just shows how much the pupils want to help our local community and rid the beach of human waste.”

Over 20 bags of rubbish were collected during the two hour stint on the beach. The girls were shocked at how much rubbish had accumulated on the beach, so are quickly organising a further litter pick in the near future.

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In the 21st Century we are part of a, “throwaway culture, “ which has left a huge stain on our global home. However, through endeavouring to improve and care for the environment through events like this, we can slowly work towards a brighter and less plastic-filled future for God’s creation.

"MIND! The Gap" National Campaign Team Meets

Last month saw the MIND! The Gap National Campaign Team meet together for the first time at the YCW HQ.

The members joined the YCW NEC in discussing the current response to the SEE stage of the campaign, including the overwhelming response to the mental health survey that currently has over 1000 responses from young people across England and Wales.

If you haven't had the chance to fill in the survey, please do so by using this link below:

There was also a session looking at the various resources that could be used to help add even more to this first stage for the Groups who are looking into the issue.

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The last week in March will be the end of the SEE stage, and the National Campaign Team will be looking over the responses we've had. This will then help in the creation of resources for the JUDGE stage to follow.

Kate Wilkinson, who is President of the YCW in England and Wales, said: "So far we have had an amazing response to this campaign, which only reinforces the need for us to look into it. Our National Campaign Team is keen to hear from as many young people as possible and progress the campaign on to the next stages."

Additional YCW Testimonies Uploaded

When we launched the 80th year of the YCW in England and Wales last year, we asked for any stories about the peoples' experiences of the movement over the past 80 years.

We have had some wonderful responses come in following this, ranging from the very earliest days, to some more recent ones. Despite the time from which they come from, the common theme within each is the powerful impact of the movement and the lifelong lessons, skills and experiences it instilled in the young people involved.

The testimonies are from across England and Wales, and explore what it was like for members within ordinary Parish life and special trips oversees to join the international movement. They also include accounts of seeing and hearing Cardijn himself, in particular his trips to Britain.

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Thank you to all those who have responded so generously and especially to the Cardijn Association who kindly shared their amazing work in collecting some of these stories. They are always very supportive of the YCW and their help is greatly appreciated.

YCW HQ Welcomes New Group

Last week the YCW HQ in Trafford Park hosted a new group that is being formed in Holy Cross Parish in Patricroft, Eccles.

The new group visited the HQ in order to find out a bit more about what the YCW is and does, including the basic fundamentals of the SEE, JUDGE, ACT method.

National Training and Development Worker, Marc Besford, led the session and explained how a YCW Group runs, the various ways in which young people can take on the leadership of the movement and ultimately, how the Groups can help strengthen the link between their reality and the Gospels.

Marc said: "It was great to see another new group being formed in our local area. The young people who came along were really enthusiastic and keen to learn more about the YCW. I look forward to hearing more about what they have planned."

National Chaplain, Msg. John Marsland, also joined the Group and spoke about the importance of the Chaplain's role in encouraging the young people to take the lead, whilst being their for support and guidance.

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The Group took a tour of the house, doing the "HQ Quiz" where they had to find the answers to questions that explained a bit about the history and current reality of the movement. They also did a quick JUDGE exercise to get them thinking about the range of injustices in the world and how they might take the leadership in overcoming them.

Overall, it was great to see the young people begin their YCW journey and we wish them all the best with it.

General Committee of the ICYCW Meets in Rome

Earlier this month the General Committee of the ICYCW gathered at the Rome HQ to discuss the current realities, vision and mission of the International movement.

England and Wales were represented by Marc Besford, National Training and Development Worker, who was also taking the lead for the European Commission of YCWs.


The first day was focused around the SEE aspect of the YCW method and asked for reports regarding the activities and processes within each national movement. This ranged from how the movements developed leadership and organised training for members, to how they dealt with financial issues and Chaplaincy support.


Following this, the second day explored the JUDGE stage and sought to identify the priorities of the future plan, based on the first days feedback. At the heart of this plan was the need to develop a strategy for the coming years, which could link together the work at a local, national, regional and international level. There will also be a focus on developing the collaboration of national movements at the regional commission level.


The final day looked at the ACT method and began some of the work in developing the strategic plan, which will be back up by a yearly activity plan. There was also discussion of the budget for this coming year and this was approved by the General Committee.


Throughout the conference there was also valuable time to socialise, discuss ideas and share parts of the rich diversity that can be found across the International movement. For example, at the end of the first day there was a "cultural exchange" social evening, which saw members present aspect of their national/regional culture. Marc was very pleased to share the delights of English food and drink, alongside discussion of our royal family and long history.


Berhanu Sinamo, International President of the ICYCW, coordinated the event in Rome and was supported by a range of facilitators, chaplains and members - including former President of the YCW in England and Wales, Danny Curtin and current National Chaplain, Mgr. John Marsland.


Commenting on the event, Marc Besford said: "This was a fantastic opportunity to get together as an international movement and learn from each other. It was my first time attending such an international meeting and I would like to thank all those who made it such a positive and friendly atmosphere. There is lots to be working on and I look forward to doing my bit both nationally and at the European level."

YCW Launches New Lenten Resources

The Young Christian Workers in England and Wales have launched new resources for the Lenten season - including a Review of Life and a Gospel Enquiry

Beginning on Ash Wednesday (14th February 2018) and ending on Easter Sunday (1st April 2018) Lent is that special time of prayer, sacrifice, good works and preparation for the wonderful celebration of Easter when we, as Christians, celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Many people use the forty days of Lent as a time of soul searching or sacrifice, giving up something they enjoy, like sweets, chocolate or alcohol. Others use the time to take up something new, like good works or acts of charity.

But Lent can also be a time for us to consider how we might live out our faith in our everyday lives as we journey towards the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. Through the method of See, Judge, Act we invite you to explore the Gospel with us as you journey through the season of Lent in preparation for the wonder of Easter.

The Trafford Park HQ is also running a series of Lenten Masses on each Thursday of Lent for the local workers in the area.

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