Catholic ‘clean-sweep’ at Community Inspiration Awards

Community Inspiration Awards

The work of the Archdiocese of Birmingham recognised by the Community Foundation.

Tuesday 25th July 2018 was the occasion for the 7th Community Inspiration Awards ceremony, recognising public service and community involvement throughout the Midlands.

The event was recognised by many organisations in public life, represented by those who presented the awards: the new Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anne Underwood, local MPs and MEPs, officials from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Birmingham, Coventry and Sandwell Councils, Black Country Chamber of Commerce among others.

The good work of so many individuals, groups and organisations that might otherwise go unnoticed was celebrated.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham had responded to a request for nominations by commending two people for their contribution over many years: Mgr Pat Browne and Sr Margaret Walsh.

Among the categories listed, Mgr Pat Browne was nominated for and won the category of Bringing People Together. The citation included his work in the city of Birmingham for so much of his priestly life, working with the Irish community in Birmingham and for supporting the work of Irish Welfare; for his priestly work as Episcopal Vicar for the Birmingham parishes and his role as Dean of the Birmingham Cathedral Deanery in which he promoted in a particular way the rich contribution of Congregations of Religious Men and Women in social outreach across the city. More recently, his initiative which led to the immense work of Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham and Father Hudson’s Care in conjunction with the Columban Lay Missionaries in the setting up of Fatima House, for destitute female asylum seekers and the emerging and equally challenging but much needed project of Tabor House, a night shelter for the homeless which will run 7 nights per week, all the year round, at St Anne’s Parish Centre, Digbeth.

Sr Margaret Walsh was commended in the Lifetime Achievement category for the three projects which have made a valuable contribution through her own Religious vocation but always drawing on the help and collaboration of countless volunteers: The Hope Community, Wolverhampton; Brushstrokes, Smethwick; and now St Chad’s Sanctuary, Birmingham. The Hope Community and Brushstrokes continue as projects of Fr Hudson’s Care and in partnership with local agencies and supporters. St Chad’s Sanctuary is a collaboration between the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army who have been close neighbours around St Chad’s Cathedral for many years.

Both Mgr Pat and Sr Margaret accepted their awards in recognition and on behalf of the many people with whom they have worked in these projects over many decades of service to the Church through priesthood and religious life.

As it happened, there was a wider Catholic theme to the category of Lifetime Achievement Award, with something of a Catholic ‘clean-sweep’: in addition to Sr Margaret Walsh’s recognition, the two other winners in the category were Sr Sabina Staff MBE from Selly Park Convent for her work at SIFA Fireside in Birmingham, and Christine Walsh, a dedicated member of Christ the King Parish, Kingstanding, Birmingham, for her tireless work with the SVP and the Thursday luncheon club at the New Heights Community Project.