School Engagement

Caritas partners with schools within Portsmouth Diocese to support environmental and social action projects. Rooted in Catholic Social teaching, there is a strong focus on Subsidiarity, with each school knowing best what their needs are and how to engage with their community, so that the voices of all members are heard. Our structure is built around initial and then periodic engagement, with the goal of setting up school projects to be self-sufficient. Caritas aims to provide resources, support, and access to our partners, to eliminate/reduce costs and to create a network of schools working together across our Diocese. Below is a list of our current and past projects, but Caritas is always open to working with our school partners to create activities that match the ideas and needs they have. Get in touch to find out more details about our projects and to begin working with us on collaborative action to promote the Common Good

Bee banks and pollinator areas     · Community planting and gardening      · Dragons’ Den entrepreneurial competitions      · Eco workshops     · Food growing for school or community foodbank use     · Forest School     · Hedgerow sapling planting     ·Social Justice assemblies and workshops     · Tree sapling planting      · Wildflower gardens

Assemblies & Consultations

Our engagement journey with a school begins with an initial meeting with a senior staff members to understand where the schools is at and what areas it can develop. This is normally followed by an assembly and consultation period.  A Caritas Project Officer will spend the day at the school, presenting assemblies and hosting consultation workshops. The pupils will be introduced to Caritas and the mission of Catholic Social Teaching, with a special emphasis on social and environmental action.  This engagement could also include a meeting with the Student Council, Eco Club, Mini Vinnies etc. Caritas is also able to attend staff meetings to talk with the teachers about the importance of social action and how projects can move forward with their support. The aim is to make sure the whole school community is involved and understands our common responsibility. During each workshop pupils are invited to engage with the different projects through visual and physical mediums. A key part of the day is to promote the concept of ‘using your voice for good’, so there is the opportunity for each student to share their own ideas for projects that Caritas could help with to promote action at their school. Responses from the pupils have been outstanding, exemplified by one comment; ‘The visit felt like a special treat. I enjoyed coming up with the different ideas to help make our school better.’

Caritas Schools Eco Conference

Thursday, 22nd June saw the inaugural environmental conference for our Caritas partner schools. This was also our first virtual event to bring together schools from across the Diocese to showcase the environmental action our schools have done over the past year. As well, as to provide a space for schools to foster collaboration and exchange ideas as part of a wider network. We began with a recap of the year, with 1,060 saplings planted, 1,124 pupil post-it notes ideas, and 2,760 students having attended a Caritas assembly! The main part of the webinar was the presentations, many of them pupil led, where the attending schools had a chance share their projects and activities around the environment and care for creation. A whole list of impactful and unique activities were shown, from growing veg for food banks, to Forest School, to recycled art, and many more. In the spirit of cooperation, the event concluded with breakout discussion rooms to facilitate dialogue amongst schools that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to connect. We were all left with the impression that there are many actors working for positive change across our Diocesan schools, and that added up together we are all truly making an impact. A massive thank you to all our partner schools, their pupils, and especially the eco-leads without whom this work would not be possible. Caritas looks forward to many more future events aimed at bringing together our school partners, and we will continue to showcase and share all our eco action when we resume our school engagements in the new academic year.

3 booklets laid out on a table. One is called Faith in Action, one John Paul I 2nd award and the other Portsmouth Diocesan Youth Award


Caritas supports the work of faith-based achievement awards for the young people in our Diocese. The Faith in Action Award is designed for pupils aged 10-18 and is accessible at both primary and secondary schools levels. In addition the Pope John Paul II Award is aimed at 16-18 year olds. Both awards are earned through taking part in parish and social activities, acknowledging good works and encouraging action rooted in faith. If your school is interested in finding out more information or would like to sign-up, please contact Sue Field, our Diocesan Awards Co-ordinator, at [email protected]

Find out more about volunteering with Caritas Portsmouth