Simple life wins award for Leeds parish

David Jackson in St Benedict's garden.
David Jackson in St Benedict's garden.
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A Garforth parish has been named the greenest in the Catholic diocese of Leeds.

St Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church is the first in the diocese to win the Live Simply Award set up by CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development).

The accolade, secured by only 20 other parishes in England and Wales, was awarded to the parish for people’s efforts to reduce their energy consumption and put their faith into action.

St Benedict’s Church, rebuilt 20 years ago this year, features used wood and metal from the previous building. Its vegetable garden has been made in the same way, decked with water tanks, timber, plastic tubing and wooden crates that have been donated by people in the community. The church also has a recycling bin.

Parishioner David Jackson, who tends to the vegetable garden, said: “Everything we grow here in the garden is passed on to parishioners at the end of Mass. There are those in our community who can’t afford locally grown produce so being able to lend a helping hand is the greatest reward. We grow everything from beetroot to rhubarb and use our own flowers and poppies for displays at Mass throughout the year.”

The Live Simply Award encourages parishes across England and Wales to be greener and act more sustainably. It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation.

St Benedict’s parish priest Father Gerrard said: “Our parishioners were encouraged by the Pope’s Encyclical to make eco-activities more part of our DNA; both as a parish and as individuals. That’s when we began to think about recycling and reusing our waste as much as possible.”

Bronagh Daly, CAFOD representative in the Leeds diocese, said: “It is a great example of how such a small commitment can make a global difference to climate change.”