Give just a few hours and help improve lives

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteers at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands. They told us about their experience and how you could become a temporary volunteer.  

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteer at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands

Angela and Colin Dowling, whose help made Lent Family Fast Day such a success, have both been temporary office volunteer at CAFOD Southwark in Shortlands

We’d heard about CAFOD’s work to improve the lives of those living in poverty through our church. We already volunteered at a local hospice and dementia café. When an advertisement appeared in our church newsletter asking for short term support for the Lent Family Fast Day project we were able to offer two days a week for six weeks to fit in with our other commitments. It was a great opportunity to offer our time and skills and to learn more about CAFOD.

Come to an Understanding CAFOD day to find out more about short term volunteering

How easy was it to apply as a temporary volunteer?

Very. We contacted the Southwark office and there was as simple application form. As we would be working at a school in Shortlands there was also a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. It took about three weeks in all and then we had a start date. Everyone was really helpful and made the process painless. We could have also been based in Romero House in Waterloo.

Sign-up to volunteer with CAFOD

Did you get support?

Eileen and Marine from the CAFOD Southwark Volunteer  Centre during a Family Fast Day Soup Lunch

Eileen and Marine from the CAFOD Southwark Volunteer Centre during a Family Fast Day Soup Lunch

Yes, lots. We took part in on-line learning and webinars which gave us a good understanding of CAFOD. There was also a safeguarding briefing. Eileen and Marine at the Southwark CAFOD office were very welcoming and friendly and always ready to answer any questions. We were also given very good background briefings.

Was the experience rewarding?

We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to dust off some old skills and put our work caps on again. It was good to see the Lent Family Fast Day project from start to finish with clear objectives to aim for. We met some lovely volunteers working on other CAFOD projects such as setting up a dementia café. Marine and Eileen were very supportive but they also let us get on with planning the work and then doing it. We felt trusted and that was great. We learnt such a lot about CAFOD and the geography and structure of our diocese. We’d describe our time on the project like getting a burst of oxygen and have been left with a great respect for the CAFOD’s work.

Would you do it again?

CAFOD Southwark volunteers during a Christmas Lunch

CAFOD Southwark volunteers during a Christmas Lunch

When our CAFOD mentors said they’d like to contact us later in the year about the Harvest Festival Time appeal, we did not say ‘no’!

Said Marine from the Southwark CAFOD office: “Angela and Colin made a huge difference to the success of the project and thanks to them we could contact all the parishes in the diocese of Southwark.”

Your turn to volunteer for a short term

Have you ever thought of volunteering but don’t think you have the time? CAFOD is looking for short term and temporary volunteers. It’s flexible and means even if your precious time is short you can still put your faith into action and make a real difference to world poverty.

These are some of the options you might like to think about:

  • Helping out for a few weeks each year
  • Volunteering for a one-off project such as the Lent Family Fast Day or our Share the Journey campaign
  • Blogging

How do I apply?

Our Southwark Volunteer Centre office would love to hear from you.

and

Come to a discovery day for volunteer to find out more on Saturday 28 April in Romero House – 9:30am till 1pm

What the Stations of the Cross mean to me

Rachelle Thevathas, CAFOD parish volunteer at Holy Cross church in CATFORD, has organised the Station of the Cross in her parish. She told us what it meant for her .

When I was approached by a member of my Parish to lead the stations of the cross as CAFOD parish volunteer – I was thrilled!

The stations of the Cross help me to reflect on Jesus’ final journey

Stations of the Cross at Holy Cross in Catford

Stations of the Cross at Holy Cross in Catford

For me the stations of the cross is a great way of reflecting Jesus’ final journey, and his great sacrifice; it allows me to evaluate my life and my choices and puts into perspective the greatness of sacrifice and fasting. At times I associate the word fasting with food – however giving up my time for something – CAFOD volunteering for example – or someone, going out of my way to do a good deed for another are all examples of fasting – I give up a part of myself for other people.

Discover how I organised the Stations of the Cross at Holy Cross

Don Lazaro's artisan workshop, painting CAFOD's Romero El Salvador crosses.

Don Lazaro’s artisan workshop, painting CAFOD’s Romero El Salvador crosses.

I gave a call to the Southwark CAFOD office to get some ideas. I discovered that all the resources were on CAFOD website : a power point with pictures and a word document to organise the Stations of the Cross. 

I decided to only use the leader’s notes.  On the day, we had two alter severs walk around the church, from station to station. Using CAFOD’s resources I and another speaker talked through each station – giving a bible reading that linked to the station, and a brief reflection where we meditated on our thoughts, and then finished each station with a small prayer.

I reflected on CAFOD’s project

Whilst doing the Stations of the cross in my parish, I was able to reflect on CAFOD’s project in Zimbabwe; the sacrifices the people there must undergo without a choice, really put into perspective how fortunate and lucky I am.

In what ways does Jesus’s final journey affect you?

This Holy Week meditate on Jesus’ journey to the cross with our brothers and sisters around the world.

The successful recipe to raise funds for Refugees

Jo Buenafe, from Christ the King Roman Catholic Parish in Wimbledon Park is sharing with us the successful events they had to raise awareness and funds for the Rohingya refugees. 

Christ the King raises £3000 for Rohingya refugees

Rohingya Refugees arriving in Bangladesh

Rohingya Refugees arriving in Bangladesh

An amazing £3000 has been raised for the CAFOD Rohingya Crisis Appeal for refugees at a fundraising weekend organised by the Parish Music team and the Justice & Peace Group at Christ the King Roman Catholic Parish in Wimbledon Park. By donating to our Rohingya Crisis Appeal, the community from Christ the King has provided food, water and shelter to people in desperate need.

Understand the Rohingya crisis and discover what is happening when aid reaches refugees in Bangladesh 

Two amazing events to raise funds for Rohingya refugees

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Music evening at Christ the King Roman Catholic Parish in Wimbledon Park

On a Saturday evening, a musical social evening gave guests an opportunity to:

  • demonstrate their music knowledge in a quiz,
  • listen to live performances by talented local musicians,
  • and have an enjoyable evening out with friends.

On Sunday morning, a cake sale was held after mass to involve the younger members of our congregation. Fantastic result and well done for all!

How will this money help the Rohingya refugees?

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Message written by a child from church to refugee

Thank you to all who participated in the fundraising weekend for Rohingya refugees and contributed to the CAFOD Rohingya Crisis Appeal. Every donation will have an impact on the frontline of this crisis, literally making the difference between life and death over the coming weeks.

“The human misery created by such massive displacement of men, women and children under the threat of death is getting worse every day,” said Francis Atul Sarker, the Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh. “There is scarcity of food, drinking water and sanitation… Many of them are still living under the open sky.”

The money raised can :

  • feed 60 families for a month,
  • or provide 600 families with water for a week,
  • or provide 100 families with emergency shelter.

We received 25 messages of hope for refugees, more than half of which were written by children and young adults, and CAFOD will send these on to refugees. Representatives from our local mosque visited our cake sale and made a generous donation.

You can do the same to help Rohingya Refugees

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Emergency aid is being given to vulnerable families who have fled their homes in Myanmar for Bangladesh.

The suffering we have witnessed in the faces of men, women and children who have fled to Bangladesh must end. We now need your help, so that we can dramatically scale up our response and urgently reach more people.

Check out some ideas and resources to help you plan an event in your parish or community.