What are Mini Vinnies?
The Society of St Vincent de Paul has been engaging with young people and education since its earliest days. Mini Vinnies are children aged between 7-11 (or younger) who, with permission of their parents and the support of their schools, are encouraged to embark on their first steps as possible “Vincentians for Life” as Mini Vinnies, the youngsters have their own treasured prayer, pledge and badge which guide them in their formative steps – helping and enabling them to becomes in every sense, Mini Vinnies!
Mini Vinnies at St Benet’s…
We began this wonderful group in our school in September 2014. Miss Caulfield leads the group with support from our School Chaplain, Mrs Sammut. We sent application forms home to children in Y4, Y5 and Y6. The children had to apply for their place and we were very impressed with the applications. We had a beautiful commissioning ceremony and feel proud to have Mini Vinnies as part of our school life. The children were presented with certificates and badges to recognise their commitment to help others both locally and globally.
What we do…
Our Mini Vinnies group help in many ways round school such as; organising, setting up and selling cakes at coffee mornings, making prayer cards which Fr Duffy and Deacon Peter give to parishioners in the Parish who are unwell or not able to attend Church as well as planning and organising different charity events within school. The Mini Vinnies promote and support food donations for The People’s Kitchen at Harvest time, Samaritan’s Purse “Operation Christmas Child” and fundraising events for CAFOD. (Faith Pallister, Year 5 and Maria Garrity, Year 6)
“As Mini Vinnies we do lots of different activities, mostly linked to fundraising. Our main event this year, to date, was the Macmillan Coffee Morning and Cake Sale. Our role as Mini Vinnies is how we can turn concern into action and help others who are less fortunate than us. We have had Mini Vinnies in our school for a couple of years and we are hoping to continue for as long as we can. Being part of the Mini Vinnies is amazing and you will get to do lots of fun events and activities which will make a difference to others.” Ellen Simcox (Year 6) and Amelia Kelly (Year 5)
“In July 2017, We both attended the Sacrament of the Sick Mass at St Joseph’s Parish, Birtley. We welcomed people as they came into Church and gave out the hymn books. We read the readings during the Mass and then went over to the Parish Centre to serve the refreshments as well as playing some bingo with the Parishioners. It was so special to spend time with members of our community we don’t get to see a lot and knowing we had helped was really special especially those who are sick and unwell.” Sophia Winship, Year 6 and Charlie Robertson, Year 6
Mini Vinnies is a helping hand! We think of things to do that are fun and creative but we don’t forget about all of those people who don’t have as much as us…Last year the Mini Vinnies helped many different charities and this year we are hoping to aim for an even bigger target. When we are helping with a charity we always have fun and do it with a big smile on our faces we definitely love it when we do a cake sale! We also help around school with the little ones and the big ones, getting people’s attention by making posters and putting them up, giving up our lunch time to get things done for different events. Our School is a Happy and Holy place of Learning and the Mini Vinnies help to keep smiles on people’s faces in and out of school. (Written by Imogen and Lois Husband)
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to apply at first because I didn’t think I’d get in, but once I went to the first meeting I loved the way it worked and the people that were in the group as well. I love the Mini Vinnies group and I will never have any doubts about turning my concern into action.” Imogen Husband, Year Six
“When I got into the Mini Vinnies I was overjoyed and full of happiness that I was going to be able to be in this group.” Lois Husband, Year Five
“I enjoy working as group to come up with ideas to help other people who aren’t as lucky as we are, it is really fun to meet up each week, pray together and think about how we can turn our action into care” Emily Allan, Year Six
“I wanted to be Mini Vinnie, as I wanted to have the opportunity to help others. It is fun thinking of things we can do which will make a difference to other people” Billy, Year 5
“I think it is important to take time each week to stop and think about how you can help others” Alfie, Year Six
“We try to make a yearly action plan of things we hope to achieve. We would really like to hold a Talent Show in the Spring Term to raise money for a chosen charity” Holly, Year Five
“I like that as a group we work together to think how we can help others around us, not just within our school but in the wider community and around the world too. It is important to stop and think of how we can help others” Jay, Year 5