Earlier this month, the YCW National Team attended the Caritas Salford “Parish Social Action” Conference and led a series of workshops during the day.
The aim of the Conference was to share best practice of activities in parishes, inspire others to take up new ideas and make each parish an active, missionary one. There were a variety of speakers and presentations, including from Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy. The day was also brilliantly compered by former MP John Battle.
The central theme within presentations was how we can respond to the growing need for positive social action to help those who need support. Andy Burnham highlighted the work he has undertaken to end rough sleeping in Greater Manchester and tackle the underlying issues of homelessness. He highlighted how it needed a united response from national, regional and local government but also one supported by faith and voluntary groups. One of his flagship schemes relies on faith groups to volunteer and this has had a massive impact already.
Sir Peter Fahy spoke about the importance of holding together our bonds as families, drawing on his many years of experience in the police as evidence of the struggles communities face when they lack a sense of togetherness. Sir Peter has in recent years supported many different charities and social action groups, many of whom look at building links within communities to help deliver positive changes.
Throughout the day there was also the opportunity to look at stalls of the many organisations that work within the Diocese of Salford, including the YCW. This gave us the chance to speak to over one hundred people about the movement in England and Wales and catch up with many former members who fondly remember their formation in the YCW.
For the afternoon sessions, the YCW team split off and hosted two workshops, both using the See, Judge, Act method to help the attendees get as much as they could from it. One session was on how parishes can involve young people and the other was about how to involve the wider community.
The speakers used their experiences of the YCW to highlight the potential for building vibrant and active parishes, with young people growing as leaders that are inspired by the Gospel.
Overall, the day was very worthwhile and gave the YCW a chance to contribute something back to our host Diocese.