It all started with, “Why not?”

Meg, a CAFOD Media Volunteer, shares the story of the newest CAFOD coordinator, Andy Wansbury. Here she tells us how Andy began his journey as a volunteer.

“I used to be a forensic photographer,” Andy recalls. He had been in the Forensic

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A group photo from Lent Fast Day 2016–when it all started for Andy

Science Service for 12 years until 2011. Since then he had been at home, caring for his daughter. And then CAFOD reached out to him. “Eileen Hayes from CAFOD came to speak at the Lent Fast Day 2016 in my parish and asked for volunteers. I thought it was a call for me as I had always been interested in CAFOD work,” he says. He had always wanted to be a parish speaker, so when they finally asked him to be a part of the family, he just thought, “Why not?”


Why volunteer?

Andy began his CAFOD journey by giving talks in school. “Last September, there was a private school in Lewisham who needed a volunteer. I underwent training in the summer,” Andy explains. The training would occur twice a year, for a full day. “And soon I was giving talks for about 20 minutes in schools and parishes, about what CAFOD does and what we are all about.” There are also various volunteering opportunities for other aspiring volunteers who would like to do something else.

Andy had recently become the new volunteer campaign Co-ordinator for the deaneries of Bexley, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bromley and Lewisham. I thought, “My, what huge responsibility this is!” it all seemed so overwhelming. But he patiently explained that his role is mostly to act as a support person. Whenever there is a campaign, he is there to extend a hand if needed, but not necessarily having to be directly involved. “I am still getting the grips of it, ” he admits.  His latest assignment is trying to help with the committee appeal for East Africa. He is also hoping to recruit motivated volunteers to promote CAFOD campaigns in parishes.

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Andy sporting his signature look

Because of his new role, Andy is every where CAFOD takes him. He would show up in his Harley-Davidson, wearing black leather boots, navy trousers, and of course, a CAFOD shirt. He believes in making a first impression, and quite an impression at that. “It makes people remember you. And when they remember you they remember what you say, and the message you’d like to imprint on them.”

 

Discover the latest campaigns here

Many thanks, Andy, for all your fantastic work so far!

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Why East Africa needs you : a lunch-talk with Dc Tesfa Mahari.

Thank you to Streatham and Clapham United Nations Association who organised a simple lunch on Saturday, 29th April 1.00pm to find out why East Africa needs your help.

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A woman from South Sudan collecting wild leaves to eat. Photo by David Mutua

The event was held at the English Martyrs Church lower hall (2 Mitcham Lane, Streatham, SW16 6NN) to understand why East Africa needs us . Guests were invited to share a simple bread and cheese lunch, with a lecture that talks about the East African Famine.

The talk’s principal lecturer was Dr. Tesfa Mehari, from the International Business and Economics Department of the University of Greenwich. She discussed the causes, immediate needs and longer term solutions for the East African crisis.

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Food distributions in South Sudan; Photos taken by David Mutua

This event aimed to raise funds and awareness for these communities suffering severely of hunger caused by long periods of drought. The proceeds from this event will be split between UNICEF and CAFOD. More information available here.

Our thanks goes out to Sarah and her United Nations Association group who organised this.

Biggest Catholic Youth event set to light a ‘flame’ in Wembley

On 11 March, up to 10,000 Catholics will attend Flame 2017, a youth event at Wembley arena, and share stories of faith and hope from across the world.flame-poster2

Young Catholics from across the country will come together for the biggest event of its kind in the UK. The theme of the day is ’10,000 reasons to hope’ based on the song by Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Matt Redman, who will be performing at the event.

 

Three young leaders from Southwark diocese, who are volunteering with CAFOD, will be attending the event and running lunchtime workshops around the themes of refugees and climate change.messages

During the event, CAFOD is aiming to collect 10,000 messages of hope to send to refugees around the world. This is part of our refugee action campaign, and we have so far received over 25,000 messages from communities across England and Wales.

CAFOD youth volunteers, Leah Fox, 19, and Ryan Wilkinson, 18, will be speaking on the day about their experiences of meeting refugees in Lebanon, in hopes of inspiring the young people to act.lebanon

“I am so excited to speak at Wembley,” said Ryan, who is currently volunteering at Savio House, the Salesian retreat centre in Sheffield. “From my own personal experience, sharing messages of hope makes a massive difference and shows refugees that they are not alone.”

“During these turbulent times, it is great that so many young people will be coming together for one cause,” added Leah, who is currently training to be a primary school teacher. “I hope that by sharing my story, I will encourage young people to take further action in solidarity with refugees.”

The event, organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, will also include talks by the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Nichols, Myanmar’s first Cardinal Charles Bo, and Matt Redman.

Tickets are still available for the event which will take place on 11 March at the SSE arena in Wembley. Doors will open at 10am with the event expected to finish at 5:30pm.

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Find out more on CAFOD’s website or on their Facebook page