Our Lady of Lourdes primary school in Birkdale, Southport, came together on Friday 3 November to celebrate being the first school in the country to receive the livesimply award.
Staff and pupils from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Birkdale invited MPs, governors, and local clergy to boast their new award, which was awarded as they proved how their school community had been living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with people in poverty.
Ged, Justine and Paul from CAFOD enjoyed a Fairtrade tuckshop and a special assembly led by the children. A pupil from each class across the school who had showed an outstanding commitment to the project received their own certificate, and classes took part in environmentally friendly activities such as bulb planting ready for spring.
The school kick-started their commitment to being eco-friendly when they won a £50,000 ‘eco makeover.’ They spent the money on installing solar panels and another panel which shows their output display clearly for the children to look at. In the past, pupils also campaigned by writing to their local MP to request recycling bins in Southport, which was a huge success.
When the school, who are long-term supporters of CAFOD, heard about the livesimply award, it seemed like a national progression. Children in the school attend a gardening club, growing their own fruit and vegetables, which they make soup out of and share.
Annie Swainson, chaplain at the school, said: “The ongoing effort from children across the school has been inspiring. The support from families in the school is equally incredible and we are very grateful!
“It was great that so many governors, community members and clergy could come down to celebrate us being the first school to receive the award – it was a real community event. This isn’t just a one off, it’s a commitment. Our livesimply actions will be carried into the future as we develop and grow the project.”
Each year the children fundraise for CAFOD at Lent and Harvest, as well as learning about issues across the world, including the refugee crisis.
Paul Kelly, who assessed the school in his role as a CAFOD volunteer, said: “It’s been brilliant seeing the enthusiasm of Our Lady of Lourdes school and how committed everyone is to respect one another, respect people in need at home or abroad, and respect the environment. They have really embraced Living Simply, from the large solar panels to the smallest trough of wild flowers, from paper recycling to growing fruit and vegetables.
“The school thoroughly deserve the accolade of being the first Catholic school in the UK to get the LiveSimply award. The presentation ceremony at a special assembly was really upbeat; a great celebration of their achievements. I loved the way they used the whole day to get classes focussing on new LiveSimply ideas for school and home, and I feel very positive the school will build their LiveSimply ethos in the future.”
Find out more about the livesimply award