Over the past year the YCW has continued with it's mission to train young leaders; serving, educating and representing other young people in their places of work or study and in their local communities by living out the Gospel through their actions.
We have had a busy year visiting and training groups all over the country, especially in our target regions of the North West and North East. A key part of this has been the identification and training of adult companions and chaplains to accompany the new groups emerging.
In July, a national event was held in Manchester for the younger members of the movement who are part of "Impact!" groups and this proved to be a great opportunity for young members to meet one another, work together and share their ideas.
All this hard work has led to the movement being comprised of the largest number of active groups in the last decade.
The new headquarters has helped with our work enormously, and is embedding itself within the local area with a growing YCW group of its own. There are further plans in the pipeline to open up the grounds for local workers and offer more opportunities for groups to visit and get training.
The HQ has hosted several NEC and Trustee meetings over the year, allowing the National Team the time to plan and prepare the activities of the year and discuss the future vision of the YCW and IMPACT in England and Wales.
We also benefited from being able to host a range of international visitors and specialists, to help develop our own skills and links with the wider movement of the YCW. From this we have generated our own leadership training plan and work more strategically with our Groups across the country.
In addition, we have attended the International Council of the YCW in Seoul, South Korea, taking an active role in the discussions and being asked to help lead the European sphere. One recent example of this was our National Worker, Marc Besford, attending the COMECE European Bishops Social Affairs Commission in Brussels. Training has also been given in Scotland to the movement there.
Further international training that we have undertaken has took our team to Israel and Palestine, in order to assist them in creation of YCW movements in their countries.
Midway through the year we experienced a handover of President, following a well attended National Council in April. Kate Wilkinson took over from Phil Callaghan, who had been President for the last 6 years. Phil oversaw the move up to Trafford Park in Greater Manchester and the emergence of new groups in the North.
Throughout the year we have continued our close involvement with other projects and organisations within England and Wales. The YCW remains a member of the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) and took a large group to participate in the Flame 2017 event at Wembley Arena in London in March.
We also partnered with Million Minutes to sponsor an award named in honour of our founder, Joseph Cardijn. We've had several groups and members win recognition for their wonderful work and are very proud to see them achieve such success.
Perhaps our biggest event of the year was the celebration of our 80th Anniversary in England and Wales. Nearly 200 YCW Members, past and present, came together at Salford Cathedral for Mass, presided over by Rt. Rev. John Arnold, Bishop of Salford. 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. Afterwards there was a wonderful celebration, where members reconnected and shared memories of their time in the YCW.
As we look towards 2018, we will be focusing on our upcoming campaign on mental health and young people, called "MIND! The Gap". Please keep an eye out for this over the next year and help support this incredibly important issue.