Pupils and staff from St Thomas’ CVA have achieved an award which recognises that they are living simply, sustainably, and in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.

The LiveSimply award, championed by overseas development charity CAFOD, was presented to the school after they successfully planned and implemented faith inspired actions that highlighted the importance of caring for people and the planet.

Their actions have had a positive impact throughout the school, in their local community, and globally too, as they reached out to make a difference.

Each class at St Thomas’, in Ilkeston, took a pledge to do something either for their school, the local community or overseas.

Students worked together to make a change and each pledge was linked to a Catholic Social Teaching principle, the children learnt how their actions helped to change their lives or the lives of someone else.

Some actions that the school has taken part in and continue to work in include creating a school eco garden, creating links with a local care home, raising money for CAFOD, organising food collections, holding uniform swap shops, litter picking in the community, running eco craft clubs and linking with a school in Gambia.

Harper, a Year 3 student, said: ““I really enjoyed taking part in our class pledge to raise money for the Canaan trust so they could help women who are struggling to get a better life. We took part in a cake sale raising £250. I loved that everyone helped raise the money to help others. I also loved taking part in the Big Lent walk last year and this year we are taking part in the Big Lent Linedance. We had fun and it raised a lot of money for others.”

Pupils Oscar and Willow said: “I think other children should take part in the Live Simply Award because we get to learn more about our world and how we can play our part in making it a better place to live. We get to talk to people in other countries by becoming pen pals and learning about their culture and the life they live. It’s really nice to help other families in our community by being able to offer free school uniform.”

Gemma Shelbourne, Teaching Assistant at St Thomas’ who led the Live Simply journey, said:

“As a school we have enjoyed living out our mission statement by making links with the LiveSimply Award and using our Catholic Social Teaching principles as a guide to building God’s Kingdom on earth. In our mission statement we work, play and serve. When we serve others, we are serving God. The children in our school have taken ownership of their class pledges and have shown how their Gospel values shine from within them.

CAFOD’s LiveSimply Coordinator for Schools, Siobhan Farnell, said:

“Congratulations to the pupils and staff on achieving the LiveSimply Award. Their actions are wonderful examples of caring for others and our common home and we wish them well as they continue to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity.”