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A report from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Retford about their St Vincent de Paul Mini Vinnie Group

  Our Mini Vinnie group was founded in St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Retford in 2015, with the help and continued support of St Joseph’s St Vincent de Paul Conference, Retford.  We are now in our third year of having Mini Vinnies in school.

  We have eleven Mini Vinnies in Year 6 who were commissioned in June, 2017.  They began their roles in September with enthusiasm and suggested ideas at our first meeting to help with future projects.  Each meeting begins with a prayer and scripture and continues with discussion, planning and working on projects.  The group trained as Playground Buddies in September 2017, (Buddies help children in school who have a conflict with a friend to talk it through and solve it themselves), and developed a rota to ensure there were Buddies available each play time.  This has run successfully over the school year.

  Mini Vinnies have been busy working with the school community, the parish of St Joseph’s and the wider community of Retford, and the global community across the world.  We prepared for Advent by producing a booklet, to help children in school consider how they relate to friends and family over the four weeks of Advent.  In February we made cards for the sick, lonely and housebound, to tell them that the children were thinking of them and praying for them, particularly at Candlemas.  We supported the school food bank collection during Lent with a visit to the Retford food bank and Mini Vinnies explained what they had learned at an assembly in April.  The Mini Vinnies and Year 6 organised a walk in June to lead the school in a walk and prayers for refugees and migrants, using materials from CAFOD’s ‘Share the Journey’ campaign.

  We have just had a commissioning liturgy for seventeen new Mini Vinnies for the next school year; our retiring Y6 Mini Vinnies will help with playground buddy training in July and then celebrate the end of a year working together.

  We are very proud of our Mini Vinnie team, a vibrant group of children who make great links between the school, parish and wider community.  We would like to thank them, and all those who work alongside them, for their continued efforts.