Eight members of the Kenelm Youth Trust Mission Team have recently been commended for their efforts by a national charity for their work in promoting the common good in our local community.

Rebecca Palsar (19), Lucas Weaver (19), Beth Mitchell (20), Jair Jesus de Paulo Jr (23), Felicity Hawley (19), Rebecca Mills (19), James Dwyer (20) and Ginny Murray (19) were honoured for their work in supporting young people across the Archdiocese of Birmingham over lockdown (2020).

The “quaran-team” used social media platforms to proclaim the Joy of the Gospel, from promoting ‘raw fun’ by creating a positive presence on Tik Tok, to engaging online sessions, to sharing and deepening their own spirituality with resources for parishes and schools. In addition to working around the centre making their spaces more welcoming, for when the young return.

Their on-going commitment has had a positive impact on the lives of many young people – supporting their wellbeing and life of faith – beyond the confines of the retreat centre in the Staffordshire Moorlands. 

The Kenelm Youth Trust is committed to providing life changing opportunities for young people. It was established by the Archdiocese of Birmingham to oversee and bring together the wide variety of youth work that is undertaken in various settings throughout the Archdiocese.

The awards are powered by the Catholic national youth charity, Million Minutes.

“This is the first local award scheme created by Million Minutes as a positive response to the global pandemic we are currently facing and we are awestruck by the young people who are nominated,” said Danny Curtin, co-founder of Million Minutes.

“Sadly, the media narrative created around this pandemic has largely unacknowledged the amazing efforts of our young people across the country, who are in their own ways making this world a better place. 

"That’s why we created this award scheme as their selfless and sometimes unseen actions can inspire all of us. Million Minutes is all about giving a voice to young people. We’re delighted to be able to recognise and shout about young people from across England and Wales who are nominated this year. We want to celebrate all that they are and all that they give to our world.”

The Pier Giorgio Frassati Award celebrates and recognises young people who are promoting the common good in their local community, and helps everyone 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.

Their nominator, a parish priest who does not know the team, said: “This group of young people made a great difference to the lives of young people of the Midlands and beyond.

"I have witnessed through our schools how many of our families have been afraid to return to school.

"So the impact of online resources, while they might not have been ‘social outreach’ in the traditional sense, for those who have been at home, not getting to church or to our schools, I believe that the work of the team has been ‘life-giving’.”

Group photo taken earlier in 2020 (above):

Top: Fr Paul Whieldon, Spiritual Director of the Kenelm Youth Trust; Hannah Hall, Alton Castle programme leader; Beth Mitchell; Erin Doughty, Soli programme leader; Sandra Satchell, CEO of Youth Ministry Services.

Middle: Ginny Murray, Felicity Hawley, Rebecca Palsar, Rebecca Mills.

Bottom: Jair Jesus (JJ), Lucas Weaver, James Dwyer.

The team in action (below):