Maureen’s first virtual school visit: ‘ I’ve finally done it!’

Maureen ready to begin her first virtual school visit

Maureen Birkett has been a CAFOD primary schools volunteer for over 12 years and she shares with us her recent new experience of making her first virtual schools visit this term.

Well I’ve finally done it! After months of listening to the distant talk of ‘virtual visits’ I finally got the email:

“One of your schools has requested a virtual visit.”

Not wishing to be daunted by this I immediately took up the challenge and made, what was to be, my first mistake. I instantly bombarded the school for information and admitted I had not actually done one before. Communication suddenly went dead but I had learned my lesson.

Continue reading



Richard French, Co-ordinator of CAFOD Southwark’s Schools’ Volunteersreports on a very successful CAFOD programme for visiting schools in the Diocese.

Richard French (on the left) and Jim Simmons (on the right) with Schools’ Volunteers at a ‘Refresher Day’ held at Romero House on 29th July (Photo: Christine Bryant)

In the past academic year, our CAFOD Schools’ Volunteers have visited 62 of the 135 Catholic Primary Schools and 18 of the 40 Catholic Secondary Schools. If we include non-Catholic schools and the many repeat visits made, then the total number of visits is 125. This is a significant increase on the previous year when we made 85 visits.

The success of the schools programme is thanks to the dedication of the approximately 30 CAFOD Schools’ Volunteers. Typically for primary schools, they make presentations at school assemblies, and for secondary schools, the visits tend to be more based on classroom or group activities and are linked to the curriculum. Sometimes the Volunteers are asked to speak during school retreats. In all cases the objective of the visits is to raise young people’s awareness of poverty and injustice in the world and to understand the good work CAFOD is doing to assist development and relieve suffering.


Last week Richard wrote about his work in CAFOD’s Southwark School’s programme.  The programme is focussed on visiting schools to raise awareness of global issues such as poverty, injustice, fair trade, disease, climate change and natural disasters. This week Southwark Schools Volunteers met to give an update on the programme and to determine the best way to contact schools.  We were also looking to get feedback from volunteers as to how to improve the programme as well as reviewing training materials. We have 30 trained Schools Volunteers at the moment – 19 for primary schools and 11 for secondary schools and we have visited about 79 of the 174 Catholic schools in the Diocese. But we are always looking for more help in order to cover more ground, so please contact the CAFOD Southwark Office if you are interested in becoming a Schools’ Volunteer