Be inspired – CAFOD volunteer day

Min is a CAFOD volunteer. Here she talks about taking part, last Saturday, in a CAFOD Volunteer Day for volunteers and those thinking about giving their time. 

I found the day truly inspiring, and humbling. It opened my eyes to the difference CAFOD makes in countries devastated by war, climate change, famine and poverty. It helped me understand how each prayer, gift and action supports its amazing work.

Making a difference

CAFOD volunteers enjoying an International workshop lead by sister Clara from Zambia

CAFOD volunteers enjoying an International workshop led by sister Clara from Zambia

Too often, we witness the cruel impact of an international crisis. But what happens when the TV cameras roll away? We learnt how CAFOD stays on to help communities rebuild their lives through education, development work and how CAFOD speaks out against injustice.

But it was hearing first-hand so many moving stories that helped me grasp the real difference this makes to people’s daily lives. Such as how we worked with partners to help communities in Sierra Leone stop the spread of Ebola, educating people about risks, providing hygiene kits, ensuring safe burials, delivering food to quarantined areas and villages that were unable farm because of the disease. Continue reading

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

Looking Back on 2017 in Southwark

Lots has happened in 2017 !

In January Catherine from Whistable

In February, we learnt more about Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ examination of the many issues affecting our planet and spread the message to young people in our diocese.

In March, soup lunches were held across the diocese in aid of Lent Fast Day.

Power to Be

CAFOD supporters at the Houses of Parliament

In May, we joined other CAFOD supporters in meeting with MPs at Parliament to remind them of the importance of International aid and tackling climate change.

In July, acclaimed electronic band Ooberfuse inspired Greenwich students to take action on climate change through our Power to Be Campaign.

In August, the Archbishop Romero Trust held a mass to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Oscar Romero at St George’s Cathedral.

Fairtrade

A CAFOD supporter outside Sainsbury’s Crayford

In October, we campaigned against Sainsbury’s decision to ditch the Fairtrade scheme on some of its own-brand tea. Also, soup lunches were held across the diocese in aid of Harvest Fast Day.

In November, we celebrated the exciting news that the scheduled eviction of the Maua community in Brazil has been suspended following months of campaigning by CAFOD supporters.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all CAFOD supporters for all their hard work over the last year. We couldn’t achieve anything without you.