Leeds: Plastic Free picnic is a sustainable success!

Our Lady of Kirkstall picnickers

Our Lady of Kirkstall picnickers

The parish of Our Lady of Kirkstall, Leeds, held a family celebration picnic on 21 July, with the aim of creating zero waste, and inspiring others to think about how they can better care for the environment.

The parish - who have recently received a LiveSimply award from charity CAFOD, thanks to their efforts over the past two years to live sustainably - organised the picnic as a chance for parishioners of all ages to come together and celebrate their achievement.

For the picnic, which was attended by around 60 people, everyone was encouraged to bring food in reusable containers and the parish provided 'real' cutlery and plates.

There was a large array of homemade food including African dishes brought by a parishioner from Cameroon and a celebration cake decorated with real flowers.

CAFOD volunteer and co-organiser of the event, Michael Emly, said: "The people of Our Lady of Kirkstall are thrilled that we received the parish LiveSimply award from CAFOD in May - the culmination of a two years project in which we all, both individually and as a parish community, tried to find new ways to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor.

"Having received the award, we decided to organise a parish picnic, and very much in the spirit of LiveSimply, tried to avoid any single-use plastic for the occasion.

"Gaining the award is only the beginning of our LiveSimply journey - there are many things we have started during the project which we want to make an ongoing part of our parish life - like avoiding single-use plastic wherever we can, both at home and in the parish."

The LiveSimply award, championed by the aid agency CAFOD, is only given to groups who have made significant sustainable changes.

In deciding to work towards the award, the community commits to living in solidarity with all people and sustainably with creation.

There are now over 50 groups across England and Wales who have been presented with the award - and many more across the country who are working towards it.

CAFOD's representatives in Leeds, Bronagh Daly, said: "It was so exciting to see all the work of the parish come into fruition. There was a big push not to use anything throw away, and it was a great day enjoyed by all.

"This event has inspired several church community functions to do likewise, so the non-plastic efforts are already causing a ripple effect, reaching out into the wider community.

"Congratulations to everyone in the parish of Our Lady of Kirkstall that worked towards this award - it is a really great achievement."

Find out more about the livesimply award at: www.cafod.org.uk/livesimply

Tags: LiveSimply, Environment, CAFOD, Plastic-Free, Leeds

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