YCW Speaks Out for Youth at European Bishops' Social Affairs Commission

On 28-29th November 2017 Marc Besford, a member of the National Team in England & Wales was invited by the ICYCW to attend on their behalf the Autumn meeting of the COMECE European Bishops Social Affairs Commission which was held in Brussels.


The two day gathering started with an address from His Excellency Gianni Ambrosio (Bishop of Piacenza-Bobbio, Vice President of COMECE and President of the COMECE Social Affairs Commission) who outlined the reason for meeting.

He said “We find at the very heart of Laudato Si six paragraphs on the need to protect employment. In this Pope Francis reminds us that according the biblical account of creation, our vocation to work is strongly interlinked to our vocation to keep and till the garden that God has entrusted to us”.


After the opening remarks Fr Pierre Martinot-Lagarde SJ (Special Advisor at the International Labour Organisation) and John Hurley (Research Manager at Eurofound) spoke about employment shifts in Europe and gave the results from the European Jobs Monitor 2017.


In the afternoon the focus was on the youth perspective. There was a presentation by Leonie Martin (Vice President of the Young European Federalists, JEF) on the experience of young people in a changing labour market


After the presentation Marc spoke about some of the problems young people in the UK felt, he touched upon the issues of Brexit, Zero-Hour Contracts and young people unable to find a permanent posts, even after university. He also raised the increasing need to discuss the current state of young people’s mental health.


After that it was time to discuss the perspective of the European Commission and to ensure the dignity of work in a changing economy. After which Mass was celebrated in the chapel Marc was also asked to read the first reading.


The next day we had a presentation by Nicola Danti MEP about how to ensure dignity at work in a changing economy. As well as Rodrigo Whitelaw on entrepreneurship and Thomas Miessen on the role of Trade Unions in a changing labour market.


Then it got down to the discussion on the document that is to be drafted and sent to the Member of the European Parliament. This document has an emphasis to put the future of work in terms of Catholic Social Teaching. Recommendations to the document were noted and this is to be published early in the new year.

Marc said of the experience “It was amazing to be asked by the International Team to go and represent them at this event. I have gained a lot from the event and to be also able to speak at the event and to raise awareness of some problems face in the UK was an amazing experience”.

YCW Success at Million Minutes "Celebrating Young People’s Award 2017"

YCW members from all over the country were celebrated for their achievements at the recent Million Minutes awards night.

The ceremony saw 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. 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.

There is a special Joseph Cardijn Award for those young people who protect the dignity of workers. There were 3 worthy winners of this award, including Billingham YCW Group. Million Minutes recognised the work of the Group saying: "The young people at St Thomas of Canterbury YCW Group have real zeal for social justice and promoting the dignity of others." 

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St Anthony's YCW Group in Sunderland were also nominated in this category and had their tremendous work highlighted as an example for other young people to follow.

There was further YCW success in the Jimmy Mizen Award Category, with a YCW member in Lytham called Ella Holliday. She won the award for promoting solidarity and peace.

Ella is currently the youngest member of the 'Young Peace Journalists'. She chose the refugee crisis as her focus and built her own links with various agencies to make contact with refugees. Within that work and her work as a Anti-Bullying Respect Ambassador she witnesses to and communicates the gospel message. Her teacher has said of her: “Ella is an inspiration, she lives out the Gospel values each day; her presence and maturity of faith in action is beyond her years."


Well done to all the worthy nominees and winners. You are all inspirations!

YCW 80th Mass and Celebration

Nearly 200 YCW Members, past and present, came together on Saturday to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the YCW in England Wales.

They met at Salford Cathedral for Mass, presided over by Rt. Rev. John Arnold Bishop of Salford and over a dozen priests, including our National and Assistant Chaplains, Fr John Marsland and Fr Mark Connolly.


The Mass saw many of the current YCW and IMPACT members participate as welcomers, readers, in the offertory, altar servers and in the music group. It was great to see them show their talents and confidence to all those gathered, with many former members commenting that they were happy to see so many young people taking part.


Afterwards there was a wonderful celebration, where members reconnected and shared memories of their time in the YCW. One member, Rose, impressed us all by her long service to the YCW, having joined in 1946! She was given the privileged job of cutting our very own YCW birthday cake.


National President, Kate Wilkinson, thanked all those who came along to support the event and took the opportunity to share our upcoming campaign on Young People and Mental Health, called “Mind! The Gap”. She said: “I would like to thank everyone for their service to the YCW over the last 80 years and especially all those who could join us for this magnificent occasion.”


YCW Launches Living Wage Resource

The YCW has launched it's own Living Wage resource to tie in with this year's Living Wage Week.

The document covers the background and basics of the Living Wage, including the recently announced figures for the new level set by the Living Wage Foundation.

It will also allow young people to use the SEE, JUDGE, ACT method, to fully explore the issue and see how they can engage with this in their own reality.

The resource can be found here: http://www.ycwimpact.com/downloads/ and can be downloaded for FREE!

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Next Week is Living Wage Week - 5th-11th November

Next week will be 2017's "Living Wage Week" (5th-11th November).

The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about the need for a Living Wage and to celebrate responsible employers who pay it. (More details can be found online here: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-week)

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At the YCW we are committed to promoting the Living Wage as an essential part of ensuring dignity at work. At the heart of the movement is the idea that a hard days work deserves a fair
days pay.

We have produced a useful resource for any Group that would like to look further into the Living Wage, using the SEE, JUDGE, ACT method. This can be downloaded for FREE here: http://www.ycwimpact.com/downloads/

Sandbach YCW Impact Group Action for Refugees

On Sunday 8th October,  the Sandbach YCW Impact group organised a coffee morning after Mass in aid of the refugees in Myanmar/Burma.

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There was a prize quiz and a presentation about the situation. It was very well attended and a very enjoyable event for the parishioners after church. The group were able to raise over £300 for Myanmar.

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In the picture Mary, Kathleen, Joey, Luther, Esther (the section president) and Harvey.

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YCW National Training and Development Worker, Marc Besford, congratulated the Group on their efforts saying: "This is a fantastic example of the young people working through the YCW method and building up their skills in Christian leadership. Well done to them!"