Mini Vinnies is a Christian organisation which encourages children to put their faith into action and to serve others with their gifts. Members give support to people in their community, meeting them face to face and trying to help them in any way they can. See www.minivinnies.org.uk
1 Peter 4:8-11 Serve one another with the gifts you have received.
The work our Mini Vinnies do links directly with Catholic social teaching and our ambition to achieve the Oscar Romero award. See www.romeroaward.co.uk
English Martyrs Mini Vinnies began in the Spring term 2019 when we asked children to give a speech as to why they wanted to volunteer to be a Mini Vinnie. They were then voted in by their class mates. They were officially commissioned in a ceremony held on 13th February 2019 during a whole school ‘Love in action Day’.
Since then the Mini Vinnies have supported their class mates with various class projects:
Year 3 children are making ECO bricks using waste plastic. Once we have enough bricks we will fulfil the vision of building something in school.
Year 4 children have developed a toolkit for conflict. They have used role play using the toolkit which the rest of the school can learn from. We hope their work can be used in all classes and become school policy.
Year 5 children have been making links with a school in Cameroon. We have been in contact with the Education Sub-committee, Portsmouth-Bamenda Committee. Due to the crisis at present the links have proved quite difficult. However, it has not deterred our children, who are sharing their thoughts and prayers with Cameroon at this difficult time.
Year 6 children have been writing to large superstores and local businesses to find out from them what they are doing to reduce carbon footprint and plastics in superstores. They have also been collecting food for Readifood and supporting local foodbanks.
Our youngest children in reception have been regularly visiting a local care home called Cornerstones bringing joy to the elderly and in turn learning from their life experiences and wisdom.
Our Mini Vinnies have also been in direct contact with LaunchPad, a local charity which supports the homeless in Reading. We recently held a sponsored Sleepout to raise money for the charity which was a great success. They also wrote to our local MP, Mr Alok Sharma, about various issues concerning them. They were very pleased to receive a direct reply from the house of commons, signed by Mr Sharma, in positive response. Our Mini Vinnies will continue with their connection with the government.
Already this year, we have all been so impressed with the love that has been shared throughout the school community and beyond. In celebration for all the work our Mini Vinnies do we were invited to Westminster Cathedral in London to receive blessings and congratulations from Auxiliary Bishop Paul McAleenan of Westminster. Here we met many other Mini Vinnie groups also doing great work around the country. It was a great chance to learn from and share ideas with each other.
A huge thank you to all involved. We will continue this vital work to look outwards and truly put our love and faith into action next academic year!
As Catholics, we are called to be witnesses to our faith in the way we live our lives.