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100 schools achieve LiveSimply Award championed by CAFOD

27 February 2024

In a momentous occasion for Catholic schools across England and Wales, 100 schools have now achieved the LiveSimply Award.

The LiveSimply Award, championed by CAFOD, the Catholic international development charity, recognises schools and parishes that pledge to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities. This accomplishment is a testament to the commitment and dedication of over 30,000 pupils in primary and secondary schools across England and Wales.

These schools have embraced a holistic approach to live simply and the pupils demonstrated their commitment through a range of activities, including but not limited to:

  • creating prayer gardens and celebrating peace days

  • visiting and forging strong links with local care homes

  • supporting foodbanks and homeless shelters

  • campaigning and taking action to speak out against global injustice

  • introducing Fairtrade initiatives at school and participating in CAFOD’s Big Lent Walk.

The LiveSimply Award is deeply rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si’ and encourages personal transformation. Pupils learn not only about the actions they undertake but also understand the reasons behind them, the impact they have and how faith inspires their involvement.

Siobhan Farnell, CAFOD’s LiveSimply for Schools Coordinator, expressed her excitement, stating:

“We’re thrilled that 100 schools have now achieved the LiveSimply Award. Congratulations and well done to all the schools who have achieved this and to everyone who has supported them along their journey.”

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School, Birkdale, paved the way by becoming the first school to achieve the award in October 2017, while St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, Newcastle Upon Tyne, followed suit as the first secondary school in November 2018. Interest in the award has surged in recent years, with over 100,000 pupils currently working towards the LiveSimply Award across 20 dioceses in England and Wales.

Siobhan continues:

“It’s so inspiring to hear about the actions the schools have taken and how much the young people have enjoyed themselves, embracing the ethos and sentiment of LiveSimply. The schools have demonstrated living in solidarity when they stood side by side with Salina, a small-holder farmer from Bangladesh, by signing a letter to the World Bank to fix the broken food system. They campaigned by writing letters to the Prime Minster about climate change and how the world’s poorest communities are most impacted despite being the ones who have done the least to contribute to it.”

The living sustainably element focuses on actions that steward our planet, including schemes promoting reduction, reuse, and recycling. Pupils have actively engaged in environmentally conscious practices, such as walking and cycling to school, creating allotments, and participating in community clean-up initiatives.

While the living simply element is a chance to slow down, spend more time in prayer and reflection, spend time in nature and quality time with others – putting the electronic gadgets away and really engaging with people around them.

The inclusive nature of the award has led to strengthened community ties, with parents, families, local parishioners, businesses, MPs, governors, and councillors actively participating.

David Harris, Adviser for Catholic Education (Primary) at Birmingham Diocesan Education Service said:

“The LiveSimply Award has been well received by Primary and Secondary schools within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Children have been enthused and inspired to live out Catholic Social Teaching through living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with others.”

Josh Marshall, RE Coordinator and Year 5 Teacher at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Wigan, described the LiveSimply Award as "the most inclusive Award we’ve ever done."

All Catholic schools and colleges within England and Wales are invited to join the LiveSimply movement.

Notes to Editors

For more information, photographs and interviews contact Laura Ouseley:

CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. Working with communities across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice. The charity works with people in need, regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.

LiveSimply Award

The LiveSimply award enables you to strengthen the bonds of community in your parish or your school, to nourish your spiritual life and care for God's gift of creation.