Celebrating Young People Awards


On Thursday 7th July, Elke, Meriel and Sr Silvana from Caritas Westminster joined over a hundred Catholic campaigners and social activists – veterans and teenagers alike, from across the country – at the Celebrating Young People Awards, hosted by Siobhain McDonagh MP in the House of Commons. The awards, now in their fifth year, were run by Million Minutes. Hundreds of young people were nominated in six categories, each celebrating a different aspect of Catholic Social Teaching lived out in action. 

Among the nominees were six young women from the Sport and Cultural Society and SVP at St Michael & St Martin parish in Hounslow. They were Highly Commended for the Cardinal Hume Award, for reaching out to their local community and beyond, especially during Covid19. They are part of a team which set up a food bank (which is still running) and supported people who suffered due to isolation. During the pandemic they supported, on average, 112 families per week. They were proudly accompanied at the event by Hounslow SVP President and parish Caritas Rep Vincent Fernandes, who has mentored the group over the past two years. 

Hounslow young people at Million Minutes awards
Young people from Hounslow receive their certificates

Hounslow featured again on the podium, when Mary Pierre-Harvey won the CYMFED award for inspirational youth leaders, for her work in the parish. This was one of two awards for older people, the other one being the Rutilio Grande and Companions Award for clergy or religious. Sr Silvana was Highly Commended in this category for her work promoting Catholic Social Teaching in schools throughout the Diocese, and for supporting schools in their social outreach, and in setting up their own foodbanks.

Commenting on this, Silvana says:

“I was pleased and genuinely astonished to be nominated, let alone shortlisted and highly commended! The Constitutions for my order say Conscious that what we do, we do together… And I remain very conscious that I have not done or won any of this alone. Fundamentally and primordially, I’m part of a generously supportive, multi-talented RSCJ community called to make God’s love known through the service of education. And I’m also part of an equally multi-talented and supportive team at Caritas, which includes the colleagues who used their skills and experience to produce the amazing Caritas Ambassadors resources I have the joy of promoting in schools. And then there’s the colleague who rescued an abandoned stuffed penguin, who became Nigel, the Caritas mascot and my indispensable sidekick in primary schools! And, of course, I couldn’t do any of this without the welcome, cooperation and enthusiasm of teachers and chaplains in the schools themselves. 

Silvana at Million Minutes Awards
Sr Silvana receiving her certificate. Photos thanks to Million Minutes

“I’m sure, though, that I wasn’t the only person surprised by their nomination. None of us gathered in that room do what we do in order to win awards or medals. And so, in a room filled with love and positivity, we applauded and heard stories of so many incredible, dedicated young people, all motivated not by plaudits or profits, but by compassion, concern and a desire for fairness and justice; each one engaged, in their own way, in building a better world; each one living their Faith, and their love in action. I’m proud to have my name listed alongside theirs.” 

For all those present, especially the veteran campaigners and social activists, it was a truly joyous, inspiring evening, giving everyone plenty of reasons to have hope for the future.

Read more about the awards on the Million Minutes website.

You, too, can nominate a volunteer for an award!

Nominations are open until 8th September for the Diocese of Westminster “Love in Action” Volunteering Awards 2022. Click here for everything you need to know.



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