Canon Andrew Read, Diocesan Director of Education, Mission and Ministry was delighted to present Bella with the very first Diocese of Ely Courageous Advocacy Award. Bella, who is in Year 2 at Linton Infants School, was chosen as an award recipient after speaking out and making real positive change in her local community. Headteacher Kelly Harries told us, ‘Bella felt so strongly after learning that the parish council had removed some goalposts that had been put on some communal land for the youngsters of the village to use, that she gathered a petition and handed it in to the parish council. Bella felt that the goalposts should be there to promote healthy living, sport and activity for young people in the village.’ As a result of Bella’s petition, which gathered 70 signatures, the parish council agreed to replace them with new goalposts. Bella’s parents were pleased to join the assembly to watch her collect her award, proud that Bella had shown the courage to stand up for others and for what she believed in.
The Diocesan Education department have sent every diocesan school a trophy to be used as a Courageous Advocacy Award.
The trophy allows a pupil or a group of pupils to be rewarded for the work they have been doing that meets the definition of courageous advocacy - the act of speaking out against an issue of injustice, often on behalf of those whose voice is not heard.
Speaking out, at whatever level this takes place, requires an element (and sometimes a great deal) of courage! Becoming a courageous advocate for change, therefore, must involve being informed about an issue and it must move beyond simply knowing, to saying and doing.
Educating for courageous advocacy must embody an ethos of action-taking, challenging injustice and becoming agents of change in the transformation of ourselves, our relationships, and our communities from the local level to the global. The courageous advocacy award can be awarded whenever a school leader sees fit. Once the recipient(s) are chosen and communicated, the Diocesan Education department will produce a certificate for the pupil(s) and a certificate for display alongside the trophy. We also hope that a member of the Diocesan team will be invited into school to award the trophy and certificates too.