The importance that we place on the welfare of our children and grandchildren extends to their friends and other young people in their schools and communities. In practice this means providing or supporting events which help to foster their personal and spiritual development.
Projects at home or abroad
We engage with young people and local Catholic schools in a number of ways. Often this is through the Association’s Bursary Fund. For example a successful application for a grant enables them to volunteer in a charitable project at home or abroad, assisting communities less fortunate than ourselves. This may be a gap year from further education or work as in the case of this Nottingham student.
” In late September last year I was fortunate enough to have the support of the Catenians for my volunteering journey with the charity Restless Development in Uganda. I have attached a brief word document to give you a idea of the things we achieved, and additionally how much I personally gained from this experience. Now, having returned from this fantastic, once in a life time experience, I would like to thank you again for making this possible.”
Pupils at the three Nottingham Catholic Secondary Schools, working as helpers on the Nottingham Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage, receive grants from the Catenian Association Bursary Fund to help with their expenses.
The Catenians are one of the main sponsors of Flame, which normally takes place every two years at Wembley Arena. Nottingham Catenians were able to provide additional support from our own funds to help local school students to attend this in 2019 when it was the biggest-ever Catholic youth event in England and Wales, attended by over 9,000 young Catholics. The next Flame event takes place in 2023.
“We wouldn’t be able to put Flame on if it wasn’t for the Catenians!” Fr. Dermot Donnelly (Chair of CYMFe)
Catholic Schools Public Speaking Competition
Catenians organise an annual Public Speaking Competition for Fifth and Sixth Form students with local heats and finals at Manchester Conference Centre. These help young pupils in Catholic schools to develop speaking and presentation skills. Cheques and trophies are presented to the winners and their schools. In 2019 an East Midlands student was the overall winner.
Empowering speech of shy schoolboy who won national public speaking competition
A 17-year-old Swadlincote schoolboy, who says he feels ‘physically sick’ before having to speak in public, has overcome his fears to win a national public speaking competition.
Peter Firbank, a student at Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Voluntary Academy Sixth Form, triumphed at a national public speaking competition on Sunday, September 23. He was up against 14 other teens from across the country and spoke for four minutes in front of hundreds of audience members on the subject ‘Freedom is not given; it is won.’
He said: “There were 15 of us altogether who were competing from across the country and about 400 people in the audience. I think that’s the largest amount of people I’ve spoken in front of. I hate public speaking but I seem able to just put the fear to one side. I feel physically sick just before I go on stage but once I start talking it’s fine, it’s just the run-up to it that’s generally awful”.
(From the Derby Telegraph)
Nottingham Catholic Schools Music Concert
Each year the Catholic Secondary Schools from Nottingham and Mansfield hold a Concert sponsored by the local Catenians. The event showcases the truly incredible musical talent in our schools. A number of the youngsters have gone on to become outstanding musicians, performers and national celebrities.
Although we get together to have some fun and enjoy each other’s company we do aim to have a positive effect on the wider community. We are not primarily a fund raising organisation but do raise money for our President’s good cause for that year.
This year this is called Food for Thought and is directed at the children of some of the most disadvantaged families in Nottingham. In each of four inner-city primary schools each week we are providing a £40 food voucher for one family. The Headteacher of one of the schools emailed us with this message.
“May I take this opportunity to thank you, as the family have been so very grateful. It has also helped to strengthen our relationship with them further and I feel they are more responsive to our help and support in other areas now too. Which is wonderful!”
Other good causes supported in recent years
Aid to the Church in Need
Founded in 1947 as a Catholic aid organisation for war refugees, Aid to the Church in Need is dedicated to the service of Christians around the world, through information, prayer and action, wherever they are persecuted or oppressed or suffering material need.
Founded in faith in 1976 by Father Roger Killeen, Emmanuel House Support Centre is an independent charity that supports homeless, vulnerable and isolated adults in Nottingham.
Its main aim is to prevent people becoming homeless and to support those who are homeless into accommodation. Some of our members volunteer there.