All schools and parishes can run the awards alongside each other or exclusively.
We are doing this because in Portsmouth we have an ambition to bring people closer to Jesus Christ through his Church. These awards can help us in our efforts to realise this ambition. They can support young people as they discover more about their faith by engaging in the practical activities that surround our liturgies and service to the community. They also enable young people through their actions to be missionaries and witnesses to other young people, to make their voices heard.
Since the Awards were launched in 2020 many young people have come forward to take part. All award leaders have said they enjoyed delivering the award and would do so again; they found them easy to deliver and very rewarding to see the growth in the young people. Reflecting on the Faith in Action Award, many group leaders commented on how it had led to spiritual growth of the whole group.
Both awards offer different levels of achievement from the Pin, or Bronze through to Gold, or Papal Cross. Each level requires an increasing time commitment of service from a minimum of 16 hours through to the top level where a commitment of 52+ hours is required. Each level is also designed to engage the participants in increasing awareness of their leadership skills, at the lower levels they are led to discover and in the higher levels are expected to lead others with increasing innovation.
Those in Year 11 and above can take part in the John Paul II Award by committing to carry out service both within their home community whether this be their parish or school, on a consecutive number of weeks and further afield thus raising awareness of the teachings of Christ through their actions. For the bronze award this would be a minimum of 1 hour per week for 8 weeks on parish involvement and a further 1 hour per week for 8 weeks on social awareness; the highest award – the Papal Cross award requires a commitment of 26 weeks in both areas. A final written piece of work requires them to reflect on their actions in the light of their faith.
Young people from Year 6 onwards can take part in the Faith in Action Award by committing to complete a minimum number of hours of service within their home community plus further hours accrued on projects outside of it. They also commit to attending a minimum of 4 reflections led by their group leader so that they can reflect upon how the love of Christ is revealed through their actions. A participant working toward a bronze award would commit to 20 hours service within their home community and 10 hours elsewhere, the top gold award requires a commitment of 20 hours in each area.