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

Freda’s Summer Party

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

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John and Freda

Freda and John Vine, held an afternoon tea party to fundraise for CAFOD in June. As volunteers, they organised the event in their garden, attracting numerous visitors.

We would like to warmly thank Freda for this wonderful initiative and commitment. We would also  to give a special thanks to all those who helped. Including those in the kitchen who prepared food and cleared up, and the 4 young “waitresses” who attended on guests. Everyone had a lovely afternoon in Bexleyheath.

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A Selection of Cakes

Freda said “We were pleased to welcome Father Jim and Father Romanus from St. Stephen’s Church, along with about 70 other friends, neighbours, parishioners and well-behaved children. Everyone tucked into the sandwiches, cakes and the delicious scones, courtesy of our friend and CAFOD co supporter, Jo Stanton. The tea and coffee were nearly as popular as the soft drinks and water!”

“A total of £626.60 has been raised for CAFOD’s Partners. This included some donations we were pleased to receive from people unable to attend, and from the sale of some plants. £30 worth of donations went to the Greenwich and Bexley Hospice.”

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Plants for Sale

Overall, the afternoon was a success. “I spent wonderful afternoon in John and Freda’s lovely garden, eating a delicious afternoon and enjoying the company of all the parishioners that attended.  John and Freda do so much for CAFOD and numerous other charities, and their warmth and enthusiasm was infectious.  It was great to see that they had solar panels on their roof and water butts in the garden – care for God’s creation in action!” Jessica Coffin from CAFOD. “It was so warm that people were seeking shady parts of the garden, and even once the day had cooled down, nobody seemed to want to go home!”

Many thanks for all those who generously donated raffle prizes. We look forward to seeing you all again this time next year.

If you are inspired by Freda and John’s successful fundraiser, we encourage you to organise your own event within your parish and raise money for CAFOD.

 

Acclaimed Electronic Duo Inspire Greenwich Students to Act on Climate Change

By CAFOD – Southwark Office

Thanks to Hal St. John and Cherrie Anderson, founders of the electronic band ‘Ooberfuse’ from Woolwich, students from St. Ursula’s Convent School in Greenwich had a musical workshop on renewable energy.

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Students showcasing their lyrics

The critically acclaimed duo visited the school on Monday 10th July, giving students the opportunity to learn about CAFOD’s latest Power To be campaign and the significance of renewable energy for the world’s poorest communities. The students wrote their own lyrics, inspired by the campaign, and even had the chance to sing and showcase their work with Ooberfuse. The school hall may have been a contrast to the band’s latest venues, the Ministry of Sound and the O2, but everyone had a fantastic time.

Both Hal and Cherrie were really pleased with how successful the day was. Hal was especially impressed by the lyrics written by the students. “It is always a tall order to make scientific problems attractive to a young audience, as usually their minds are anywhere else. But it helped that we focused it around things that they already knew about.  The real test was when they were writing their own lyrics but when they read them back and they were such powerful lyrics, it was great to see.”

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Learning about ‘Power To Be’

Ooberfuse was formed in 2010, and within just a few years their quirky and upbeat songs have been praised by many, including Boy George, The Guardian and BBC 6’s Tom Robinson. Their music has since taken them all over the world from Madrid, where they played for two million young Catholics on World Youth Day, to Iraq, where they played at a refugee camp in Erbil. Both social justice and inequality are strong themes within their music. They are also soon to release a song about the plight of refugees. Whilst promoting social justice and their Catholic faith through music, the Ooberfuse was motivated to get involved with CAFOD’s work, and run a workshop for the students at St. Ursula’s Convent School.

Cherrie was originally from the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. “Climate change was just an idea but when Typhoon Haiyan hit my hometown it became so real. That is when we decided to devote our music to social justice and raising awareness about important issues.  After the typhoon CAFOD  were one of the first aid agencies on the ground responding to the need, so it’s great to be involved with them now.”

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‘Power To Be’ display, created by students 

Through our Power To Be campaign, communities have been encouraged to lobby the World Bank to invest more in local renewable energy. Despite the fight to reduce worldwide poverty, only less than 3% of their expenditures go towards renewable energy. Through our campaign, we are asking the UK’s representative at the World Bank, Melanie Robinson, to use her influence to ensure that children everywhere have the power to achieve great things and lift themselves out of poverty, without harming the planet.

Our message is reaching many people, and thanks to a fun-packed day, students were made aware of our responsibility to be stewards for our planet. “People in places like Kenya are suffering because they do not have access to electricity. Around the world, one in six people don’t have electricity; that’s equal to 1.2 billion people and we should do something about it.” (Saumu, Year 8).

School Chaplain, Susan Elderfield, was also inspired by the duo’s message, “I don’t think we should forget the message of today; how we should look after the planet. Each one of us has a responsibility – from switching off the lights to getting involved with NGOs to becoming politicians. It’s our planet and our job to look after it.”

To engage in our Power To Be campaign, you can sign our petition online, order action cards at our shop to sign within your parish, or organise a Power To Be Liturgy to continue to raise awareness, pray and spread the message.