Mini Vinnies spread the Christmas message

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Charitable pupils at a Burnley primary school are spreading some festive cheer throughout the Christmas season and beyond for elderly and vulnerable members of the community.

A group of eight Year 4 youngsters from St John’s RC Primary School have formed a branch of Mini Vinnies, a children’s version of the St Vincent De Paul Society, a charity which looks after the socially excluded in communities.

So far the Mini Vinnies have held a Smile Campaign where they gave out smiley stickers to encourage people to be happy and given out Christmas cards at a tea party for parishioners in school.

There are also future plans to expand the group and organise some fund-raising for good causes. The group recently elected its own pupil president, vice- president, secretary and publicity team and the youngsters organise meetings themselves, supported by a group of four Vincentians from the church.

The eight Mini Vinnies, Reece Helps, Caitlin Dickinson, Amelia Kurcaba, Bailey Peat, Bethany Eliott, Mikey Summer, Idress Akram and Joshua McClean, were presented with certificates by Fr Michael Waters and Mr Paul Stephenson, president of St John’s Church SVP conference at a special school assembly.

Headteacher Mrs Sarah Price said: “It’s all done quite formally and they are enjoying taking on adult roles. The aim is to do some charity work within school and in the community. They are also looking to have guest speakers. It’s only in the initial stages but it’s already having a positive impact in school. It’s all about spreading kindness and looking out for vulnerable people and showing how small acts can make a big difference to people’s lives, like a ripple effect.”