On Thursday 17 November 2022, people from across the diocese of Westminster came together to celebrate volunteering, at the second annual Diocese of Westminster Love in Action volunteering Awards. Awards were presented to eleven volunteers or groups of volunteers for their work in responding to needs in their parishes and communities. Ten other individuals or groups received runners-up certificates. 

​Speaking at the start of the evening, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: 

The act of creation, bringing the world into being, sustaining it in being, is God’s love in action. Creating the human person… in the image and likeness of God, that is God’s love in action. Sending Jesus into the world to mend broken relationships, that’s God‘s love in action. We learn from St John that God is love and God’s love is action. And because we’re made in the image and likeness of God, and we try to echo in our lives that same love.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Diocese of Westminster Love In Action Volunteering Awards

Primary School Social Action Award

Holy Family Catholic Primary School, West Acton

“Thanks for a lovely afternoon… what a joy with the children… they made an old lady very happy”
– guest at the tea party hosted by children

This school were awarded for the difference they made to elderly and isolated people, by sending over 400 hand-made, personalised Christmas and Easter cards and entertaining them at a tea party. They have also raised money for many different charities, helped pack food hampers for local Afghan families, spoken out about racial justice and planted trees in a local park. 
Secondary School Social Action Award

Douay Martyrs Chaplaincy Outreach Team for People in Need, Uxbridge

“Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which our pupils live their lives of generosity, compassion, love and charity” 
-Leadership team at Douay Martyrs school.

This team were awarded for collecting for their local foodbank, and for Ukrainian refugees, and raising money for CAFOD and Mary’s Meals. They also support the wellbeing of students at the school, and through their example encourage others to live lives of compassion and generosity.
Young Volunteer of the Year Award

Vincenzo Arrigo

Vincenzo has responded to God’s calling to use his gifts for the benefit of the common good” 
– PA to the head of St Joan-of Arc school, Rickmansworth.

While a sixth form student, Vincenzo organised a collection of essential items for Ukrainian refugees and travelled to Poland to distribute these directly to the people that were arriving on the border. He also took time in Poland to drive refugees to their accommodation and even brought three members of one family back with him to the UK. 

Young Volunteer Team of the Year Award

Diocese of Westminster Pilgrimage to Lourdes Redcaps

“Their readiness to serve meant that the pilgrims – some of whom had spent the past couple of years socially isolating – had a joyous experience” 
– leader of the Redcap team

The job of these volunteers is to assist pilgrims with disabilities during the diocese pilgrimage to Lourdes, and this particular team went beyond offering practical assistance to developing real relationships with the assisted pilgrims, responding to their individual needs. 
Charity Partner Volunteer Award

Advice4Renters Wellbeing Team

“She’s the only person to contact me during lockdown, asking how I am and not wanting something from me. It made the world of difference.”  – client of a mentor

This team act as mentors, supporting clients of Advice for Renters, empowering them to make the changes they want to see in their lives. The team were recognised for the impact they have had on the lives of their clients, their compassion and dedication, and for showing what a difference listening can make.

Parish Social Action Award

Janet Lewis, SVP, St Bonaventure’s
Welwyn Garden City

“In our small community the name Janet Lewis is synonymous with kindness, concern, compassion, and the Society of St Vincent de Paul…” 
-SVP member

Janet has been the president of the SVP conference in her parish for more than 20 years, and won the award for the depth of concern and compassion she shows to every person who comes to the SVP for help. She goes to great lengths to support even the most unreachable to make improvements in their lives.
Parish Social Action Team Award – Joint Winner

Soup Run Team, St James’ Church, Spanish Place

St James’s SVP’s Soup Run has benefitted from hundreds of volunteers since its inception in 1994 – all have joined to try to give back something to those in need, recognising their own good fortune in life. 

This team has provided vital support to people sleeping rough in central London for 28 years. Their well organised service takes food and drink to people living in difficult circumstances twice a week every week, and is a true example of putting faith into practice.
Parish Social Action Team Award – Joint Winner

Sandwich Service Volunteers, Notre Dame de France church

“These hours spent in preparation – mixing with other volunteers, and serving our guests, have been outstanding. There is a sense of true joy and solidarity” 
– volunteer

This team provides food and friendship outside the door of their church near Leicester Square every Saturday. They go beyond serving food and find extra ways of supporting their guests and building community.
Outstanding Service to the Parish

Vincent Fernandes, St Michael and St Martin, Hounslow

“His hard work and dedication towards the parish is an example… of a true Catholic who not only practises his faith but portrays outstanding service to the parish with acts of love” 
-Parish administrator

Vincent has supported parish life, and the wider community in a wide variety of ways, including building up a team of around 60 volunteers, including many young people, to run a foodbank and other social activities.
Outstanding Service to the Parish – Team Award

Social Apostolate Team, St Ignatius Church, Stamford

“The Social Apostolate has created a space of deep love and hope for people. They are an example of amazing dedication” 
-Niki Psarias, Caritas Westminster

This team cooks meals four times a week for people experiencing homelessness and other difficulties. Alongside this they provide a range of support and advice to help people achieve their goals and reach their potential, creating a community where everyone feels accepted and can get involved.
Lifetime Achievement Award

Sr Christine Frost FCJ

“Through Neighbours in Poplar [she] provides practical support and encouragement for everyone to use their God-given gifts in the service of their neighbours, locally and internationally” 
-Parish Priest

Sr Christine has given over 50 years of service to her community, bringing together a team of volunteers to serve their neighbours, locally and internationally.  Over the years she has organised a  wide range of events and activities to support her local community and encourage “neighbourliness”.
Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award

Ernest Ronald Bernard Palmer

“Ron is a truly special gentleman with a pastoral heart, striving to help those who are not as fortunate as himself, sharing his skills at accountancy to support our charity and students.” 
-Caritas St Joseph’s volunteer coordinator

Aged 103, Ron Palmer has been keeping the books for Caritas St Joseph’s since 1984, and has supported the centre for people with intellectual disabilities as it has grown from small beginnings. He is described as a true gentleman and a steadfast and loving member of the community.
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