A local young person has been commended for their efforts for their work in promoting the common good in our local community. 

Leah James, aged 17, from St Edmunds Catholic Academy, was honoured for her efforts in volunteering her time at her local hospital. Her job includes changing the beds of each patient on the ward, and making people cups of tea. Leah says, ‘it has been amazing to work alongside the people who we clap and cheer for on Thursdays at 8 pm. The NHS has been doing a wonderful job and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to give an extra pair of hands to my community’.

Leah is one of the first young people in the UK to receive the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Award, which celebrates and recognises young people who are promoting the common good in their local community. The award is supported by Cardinal Nichols and is named after Pier Giorgio Frassati, a young man who devoted his life to look after the poor, sick and needy. He died aged 24 from an infection which he had contracted from those he was caring for.

The Award hopes to enable everyone to reflect on how Catholic social teaching – such as promoting peace, building community, and caring for creation – is being lived out on a daily basis.

The award is organised and promoted by Million Minutes, a charity that supports projects helping young people to transform their lives and put Catholic social teaching into practice. Applications for the award are open on a rolling basis and all who are nominated are considered for a small grant (£50 - £300), to help continue their work across their local community.

Kate Eastmond, from Million Minutes says: “This award scheme is a positive response to the global pandemic, and we are awestruck by the young people who are nominated. Sadly, the media narrative can overlook the amazing efforts of the young people across the country who are making this world a better place. Their selfless and sometimes unseen actions can inspire all of us. Million Minutes is all about giving a voice to young people, so we’re delighted to be able to recognise and shout about young people from across England and Wales. We want to celebrate all that they are and all that they give to our world.”

Her chaplain, Miss Ferris, says: “I think Leah would feel humbled and maybe a bit embarrassed to gain this award because I don't always think she sees what an amazing, thoughtful and kind person she is to others. She follows her faith every day, in everything she says and does, she is a beautiful example of 'faith in action' to her peers, family and community. Which can be hard in the secular world we live in today. This award would mean the world to her as she enters her final year at school before she joins university to train in the medical profession. Her years of hard work and giving to others will be rewarded.”