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

Gratitude to and from Our CAFOD Volunteers

Several CAFOD volunteers have received awards honouring multiple years of dedicated service to CAFOD. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern, highlights some of the volunteers who have received these prestigious certificates.

A big thank you goes out to all of our CAFOD volunteers who have dedicated their time to serving CAFOD. As a sign of our appreciation for them, CAFOD has recently granted some milestone certificates honouring their dedicated volunteering efforts for multiple years of service.

Learn more about what it means to be a CAFOD volunteer

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Eileen with volunteers Roger Wright, Anne Unseld and Fred Mendonca

We as CAFOD are grateful for the post-awarding messages our volunteers have been sending us, and we would like to acknowledge some of them here. Grania Frazer, who has served CAFOD for 10 years, says “May I thank [CAFOD] for their THANK YOU for 10 years of volunteering. I had not realised that it was so long.” Another volunteer, John Foley, modestly, and yet powerfully states that “…the reward is just in helping CAFOD.”

Anne Towner 10 yr certificate

Anne Towner, a 10-year CAFOD volunteer

Some of our volunteers even have decades of volunteer experience under their belt. Long time volunteer Josephine Sands tells us “Thank you for my certificate received yesterday. It’s nice to have it… I started volunteering for CAFOD around 1995 when the office was in Dartford!”

Sign up here to get started as a volunteer

Eileen Hayes, a CAFOD administrator, says to one of our volunteers, “Whenever we meet or chat with volunteers, we are so inspired by the acts of kindness that you do. You give us a great hope that a fairer world is possible.” And a fairer world doesn’t just happen; it requires time, and it amazes us at how CAFOD volunteers are willing use their free time to build a better future. In fact, the summed total of all the years our volunteers have served is about 640 years! Clearly, a large part of CAFOD’s foundation hinges on the drive of our volunteers. We’ll have to make sure to celebrate once we hit 1000 years!

Even while receiving the certificates, many of our volunteers were still hard at work

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Eileen presenting a thank you cake to our office volunteers Gaynor and Liz

preparing and speaking at Mass for this past Fast Day–a sign of their continuous support. Though we have received several “Thank You” messages after delivering our certificates to them, the biggest gratitude goes to our volunteers. Thank you for your service and we hope for your continuing support and zeal for creating positive change in the world.

 

CAFOD Essentials Day at a glance: Preparation with smiles

CAFOD Essentials Day, which occurred on Saturday 9th September, 2017, is a day dedicated to preparing CAFOD volunteers for the upcoming Harvest Fast Day and updating the volunteer community about campaigns and other activities. Sidney Magdaong, a CAFOD intern from the US, recounts his experience throughout the day:

Having volunteered for CAFOD for only a few weeks, there is a lot to learn about this vast organization brimming with opportunity for fellow volunteers. From campaigns and social media, to speaking training for Mass, Essentials equipped me with an extended amount of information about what CAFOD is currently working on and how I, and many other volunteers, can get involved.

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Opening speech about CAFOD’s work in Latin America at the commencement of Essentials Day

I spent Essentials Day working as the booth-runner for the Refugee Campaign and as the photographer. The refugee booth caught the attention of many volunteers, most of which had already heard about the campaign and have been at work to spread the message about supporting refugees in their own parishes and even schools. It surprised me at how passionate the volunteers were to advocate for the safety of refugees, which has become a serious crisis in recent years.

Take action to support refugees in your own community

As a photographer, I was able to hover around the various workshops and catch a glimpse of CAFOD’s key focuses. The workshop that most interested me was the training for speaking at Mass led by a professional coach. With Harvest Day approaching, confidence is important in spreading the message, and this workshop bolstered the skills needed to advocate. While in London, I plan on being a speaker for Mass, and the training provided everything from speaking speed to powerful presentation, something that is central to advocating the importance of Fast Day.

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Speaking coach training volunteers on how to effectively deliver the Fast Day message at Mass

Mass training was well in conjunction with the workshop on El Salvador, the focus for CAFOD. This workshop easily received the most amount of attendees, all intent on listening to the struggles of El Salvadorian farmers and youth. 

Get involved with this year’s Harvest Day and support El Salvador

With all the exciting activities happening, Essentials Day was also the perfect opportunity to meet fellow CAFOD volunteers. I ran a photo booth, taking pictures of several volunteers sporting CAFOD gear and props to show their appreciation and commitment for CAFOD’s mission and values.

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One of our volunteers posing for the CAFOD photo booth

The smiles they gave were more than enough to tell me how happy they were to work towards building a better community through CAFOD, a common theme I’ve seen throughout my few weeks as an intern. At the end of the day, that smile was present on my face as I watched several volunteers receive certificates for volunteering for 1, 5, 10, 15, and even 20+ years at CAFOD. This dedication and happiness to serve is something I want to work towards while interning at CAFOD, and Essentials Day was, essentially, exactly what I needed to reach that goal.