CAFOD Live Simply Award

Update: We are delighted to have this story featured on the Archdiocese of Birmingham website.

Cafod Live Simply Award presented to St. Thomas More School, Willenhall by Canon Gerry Murray on 7th October 2021

Students and staff at St. Thomas More Catholic school are delighted to have been presented with the CAFOD Live Simply award by Canon Gerry Murray on behalf of the Diocese. Canon Gerry is Chair of the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission and has particular responsibility for environmental policies in the Diocese and so it was very fitting that he was able to come into school to present the award.

The award is in recognition of the work that the school has done and continues to do in response to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”. It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living: simply; in solidarity with people in poverty; sustainably with creation.

Canon Gerry said: “It’s wonderful to see a school achieving the Live Simply Award through their dedication and hard work. I hope this will provide an inspiration to other schools to follow in their footsteps”.

Students across all year groups have been involved in the planning and delivery of many of the events and initiatives which contributed to achieving the award. Even during lockdown activities continued. Assemblies were delivered virtually focusing on CAFOD’s campaigns. Students were able to participate in the “Walk for Water “campaign during Lent and, once back in school, many classes contributed to the “Eyes of the World” campaign in the lead-up to the COP26 conference to be held in Glasgow next month. During Advent when visitors were not able to come into school, students met in their bubbles and reached out to local Care Homes and charities by donating food, clothing, gifts and Christmas cards. Laurna, a Year 11 student commented that working for the award made her realise that, “When we care for the world we come closer to God as His stewards”. Another student, Stephen, added, “If we take care of the world , the world will take care of us”.

All departments in the school were asked to be involved with the Live Simply award. Students from the Youth SVP groups in school presented the initiative to Heads of Department and to governors.  Each department was asked to identify how they could make changes to “live simply”. Some of our Prince’s Trust students took charge of the Peace Garden and bird boxes were made with the help of the Technology department. Students asked the catering company to replace the plastic cutlery in use with recyclable cutlery. KS3 students got involved in litter-picking as part of their pledge to look after the environment and all students across the school signed CAFOD pledge cards with a commitment to live simply.

The school’s lay chaplain, Sarah McPhee, said that the school is committed to continuing this important work and recognises that, as CAFOD states: “The award celebrates what you have already done and inspires you to do more. It helps your community to live, not just more simply, but also more fully”.

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Miss S McPhee is the Lay Chaplain at St Thomas More Catholic School.