A Southport primary school has celebrated being the first school in the country to receive the Cafod livesimply award by holding a day of eco-friendly events.
Staff and pupils at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary in Birkdale invited MPs, governors and local clergy to come and see their new accolade – awarded for the school's efforts in living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with people in poverty – during a special open day.
livesimply is an opportunity for Catholic communities to respond to Pope Francis's invitation in his encyclical Laudato Si' to 'work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world God has entrusted to us'.
Pupils and attendees enjoyed a Fairtrade tuckshop as well as an assembly led by the children. One student from each class across the school who had shown outstanding commitment to the project received their own certificate.
Our Lady of Lourdes Primary's eco-friendly exploits began when it won a £50,000 grant to spend on installing solar panels and a panel clearly registering energy usage. When the school, a long-term Cafod supporter, heard about livesimply it seemed a natural progression. Pupils attend a gardening club, growing their own fruit and vegetables, which they make soup out of and share.
Annie Swainson, the school's RE subject leader, said: 'It was great so many governors, community members and clergy could come to celebrate our being the first school to receive the award. This isn't a one-off, it's a commitment.' Headteacher Maureen Hillsdon added: 'To be the first nationally to gain this prestigious award is amazing. We will continue our commitment and put our faith into action going forward.'
Every year the children fundraise for Cafod and learn about global issues, including the refugee crisis.
Cafod volunteer Paul Kelly, who assessed Our Lady's, said: 'It's been brilliant seeing the enthusiasm and how committed everyone is to respecting one another, respecting people in need at home or abroad, and respecting the environment. They have really embraced living simply.'
To find out more, visit: cafod.org.uk/livesimply.