On the evening of Thursday 23 November 2017, along with hundreds of young people, youth workers and teachers, family and friends, we gathered in London’s Leicester Square for the Celebrating Young People Awards.

The event, held in the Prince Charles Cinema and hosted by Million Minutes, with guest of honour Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, highlighted some of the amazing young people across the country who are transforming lives in their local communities.

Former Loreto student, Aaron Omotosho was chosen from hundreds of nominees as the winner of the Pope Francis Award – the overall youth award – on the night, and it was an incredibly proud moment for him, his family and the college.

Amongst other ventures, Aaron won the award for the work he has done in founding and continuing to run a project called Help Manchester, which encourages young people locally to support day centres that feed and shelter homeless people each day. Recently, Aaron helped a refugee with no friends or family in the UK, whom he and a friend met in the library. Acting as a friend, Aaron has given the man invaluable physical and emotional support. The legal advice secured and donations of clothing have been vital.

Aaron studied Computing here at Loreto, and set up a computing project, Console Code, for underprivileged young people in North Manchester. Aaron had to pitch his idea to a panel of judges who decided it was worthy of funding

“Aaron is quite unique as all of this is entirely his own initiative, and he has truly changed people’s lives. Aaron really, genuinely cares about those living in poverty and making their voices heard,” says Emma – Lay Chaplain.

“Young people all too often get a bad name,” said Danny Curtin, CEO of Million Minutes. “But often their selfless and sometimes unseen actions can inspire all of us… We’re delighted to have held these awards for the third year to recognise young people from across England and Wales. We want to celebrate all that they are and all that they give to our world.”