Local Winners at the Celebrating Young People Awards 2017

Monday 27th November 2017

This year’s Celebrating Young People Awards recipients have been announced and awards presented at a glittering ceremony in Central London. The Diocese was lucky enough to be represented by outstanding young people who scooped two of the big prizes.

The awards are now in their third year and are organised 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. At the awards ceremony on 23 November around 60 of the young nominees, gathered from around England and Wales, were asked to stand up and to be applauded.  Danny Curtin, the CEO of Million Minutes said the judging panels were “very impressed by all the young people nominated”.

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool Presented the Pope Francis Award to 18 year old Aaron Omotosho of the Loreto College in Manchester. Aaron founded and continues to run a project called Help Manchester which encourages young people locally to support day centres that feed and shelter homeless people daily. Aaron studies Computing, and has set up a computing project for underprivileged young people in North Manchester.

“Aaron is quite unique as all of this is entirely his own initiative, and he genuinely cares about those living in poverty and making their voices heard,” says his college chaplain. Aaron is an active member of the college’s Social Justice Group having helped raise funds for and awareness of local homelessness charities, as well as CAFOD and Laughter Africa further afield.

Another local winner was 17 year old Jonathon Wright a pupil of Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton. Jonathan was the winner of the Joseph Cardijn Award.

Jonathan  is a dedicated campaigner, raising awareness of youth mental health issues as well as building youth involvement in democracy. He helped young people of Bolton realise they can be part of the solution to the challenges of job opportunities and poverty. Through his ‘Democracy in Action’ project, every student an Thornleigh took part in a mock General Election, the EU referendum and the ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign for the UK Youth Parliament

Humour is key to Jonathan’s work – he even compered an annual charity concert from inside a recycling bin!

His teacher says, “Jonathan is a real role model in every sense of the word. Over the 40 years I have been a teacher I have never met a young man who was more involved in trying to improve his community, especially the lives of young people. We are very proud of him. When I asked him why he wanted to give up so much of his time, he replied with typical modesty ‘I want to give to others the same opportunities that I have enjoyed’.

Archbishop Malcolm told the young people gathered that “you are not the Church of tomorrow but the Church of today”.

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