CAFOD visits Woldingham School


David Brinn CAFOD’s Schools’ Programme Coordinator and School Volunteers Anne Barry and Isabel Cameron from Arundel and Brighton Diocese, ran a series of workshops all day on Tuesday 11 February at Woldingham School.

The day began with a talk on ‘Step into the Gap’ by ex- Gapper Sophie Aulton which captured the imaginations of 135 Sixth Form students about her experiences including her overseas visits to El Salvador and Nicaragua to see CAFOD’s work in those countries.

Following this, School Volunteer Anne Barry led two most informative workshops on Catholic Social Teaching to sixty Year 10 students.

In the afternoon, David Brinn led a CAFOD liturgy to seventy-eight Year 7 students and two workshops on Life Without Taps with thirty-nine Year 7 students in each group. He was assisted by School Volunteer Isabel Cameron. Life without Taps is a stimulating game for Key Stage 3 students which encourages the students to imagine what it is like to live without easy access to clean water and negotiate difficult decisions to reach a consensus on an action.

What’s it like to live without easy access to clean water?

Concurrently, Anne Barry led workshops for thirty-nine Yr 7 students on Children’s Rights which required students to think about basic children’s rights and also they were encouraged to think ‘outside the box’ about rights and entitlements of all children such as to have a name, to be free to choose their own religion, to live in a safe environment and to have a happy childhood and not to grow up too quickly.

CAFOD would like to thank Woldingham School for allowing us in to run presentations, and workshops for their students. Woldingham is a lovely school and we very much appreciated the lunch too.

For more information about how to get involved with CAFOD, please visit

Sophie Aulton speaks about CAFOD's 'Step into the Gap' programme at Woldingham School


On Tuesday 11 February, Sophie Aulton CAFOD’s ex gapper delivered a powerful presentation to 135 Sixth Form Students at Woldingham School about giving a year to CAFOD as part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme.

What is CAFOD Step into the Gap Programme?

Sophie explained that Step into the Gap is a year long programme for 18-30 year olds, whereby they are based in a UK such as at a retreat centre and work for CAFOD. During the course of the year they learn leadership skills and the highlight of the year includes time spent abroad looking specifically at CAFOD’s work and how it is impacting people’s lives overseas.

She also talked about the impact of climate change and how the poorest countries who least contribute to it are suffering the most from the effects of it; and showed them a CAFOD Net Zero video.

What is like to be a CAFOD Gapper?

Sophie went on to talk from her heart about her own experiences of visiting El Salvador and Nicaragua in Central America, and how CAFOD is working in partnership with communities in these countries and empowering them to help them become sustainable. She illustrated her talk by describing some of the wonderful, resilient people she met whom had been empowered by CAFOD including a bee keeper, farmers, a man that kept an inland shrimp farm and described how plastic had been recycled to make a playground for children. She also gave a moving account about how some Nicaraguan women had received support in turning their lives around after suffering from sexual abuse.

Locals preparing their meals at home
Sophie said;'Step into the gap was such an amazing and moving year for me. Still two years on, I think about those whom I met in El Salvador and Nicaragua. I want their stories and experiences to be heard, and appreciated by the Catholic community in England and Wales. Speaking to young people about the issues they face is particularly important as they have the power to change things, they just need to go for it!'

Sophie ended her talk by telling the students about the impact that her Step into the Gap year had made on her personally and how her outlook and perspective on life had changed. Since her Step into the Gap year ended, she has spoken to over 5000 people about her experiences. She encouraged any students who might be interested to look on the CAFOD website for further information and left some leaflets with the School Chaplain.

Family Fast Day: Your love in her hands


Family Fast Day is a great way to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters living in poverty around the world by having a simple meal and donate what you save.

This year CAFOD’s Lent Appeal is supporting local health experts, like Sister Consilia from Zimbabwe to reach vulnerable people and transform their lives.

Sister Consilia is just one of many local experts who work tirelessly throughout the year to save people’s lives. She is a brilliant life-saving pharmacist and works at the Mission Hospital in Gokwe, Zimbabwe helping some of the poorest people in the area. Six days a week, most weeks of the year, she treats sick people, pregnant mothers and babies and she does this because of the love she has for the people who come to her.

The generosity of Catholics across England and Wales at Family Fast Day is what makes projects such as the mission hospital possible. Though we can’t be in Zimbabwe with Sr Consilia ourselves, our love can still reach her. Your support is like the arms of Sr Consilia in the photo – holding the baby and saying: we’ll be there for the future.

Family Fast Day is your love in her hands.

Do you want to take part in CAFOD’s Family Fast Day and support one of our local experts, like Sister Consilia, to save the lives of people in need?

You can help by supporting our Lent appeal and enable us to reach out to more families and communities in desperate need of help. Also you could follow our 2020 online Lent calendar to reflect, pray and take global justice actions throughout the season of Lent.

To receive weekly Gospel reflections via email please sign up to our e-newsletter for weekly reflections

Download our Lent calendar for children or our calendar for young people.

Find out more at

Young Leaders meet at St Paul's College, Burgess Hill for the second training day


At CAFOD we recognise that young people can make a huge difference, which is why we want to equip senior students to be Young Leaders  in their local and global communities. CAFOD’s Young Leadership Programme is designed for Sixth Formers and provides them with training to develop leadership skills.

On Thursday 22 January, St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill kindly hosted CAFOD’s second training day for  Young Leaders. We were given a warm welcome by Headteacher Rob Carter and School Chaplain Christian Nobleza. The day was ably led by CAFOD’s Sinead Callaghan, Young Leadership Coordinator. There were over forty sixth former attendees from schools across Arundel and Brighton including: St Peter’s Catholic School Guildford, Salesian College Chertsey, Cardinal Newman School Hove, St Paul’s Catholic College Burgess Hill and St Wilfrid’s Catholic School Crawley.

Students were firstly given the opportunity to feedback on leadership projects from last term. I was amazed at how brilliantly these young people engaged with one another and enthusiastically shared what they had done previously; such as preparing a quiz on human rights defenders, creating a display board on human rights defenders to raise awareness, speaking to Yr.7s on the impact of climate change, leading CAFOD assemblies and liturgies to primary and younger secondary students within their own schools, organising charity cake sales and promoting world gifts. Students from one school even gave a detailed explanation on how they had improved the school wide recycling system – through research, planning and implementation.   

The day involved prayer, reflection, icebreakers, a session understanding CAFOD’s  values  whilst motivating listeners to become engaged in CAFOD projects to work for a fairer more just world. The students identified examples of ‘good communication’ after watching Simon Sinek’s video which emphasised; ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,’ and were asked to link this concept for speaking up for a more just world.  After lunch, they watched a Lent video about Human Rights Defenders, examined some case studies and matched them to some sustainable development goals. Later they watched a football fundraiser video and were challenged to plan a football fund raising event for Lent within their own schools.

My thanks to Sinead Callaghan for leading the day, Christian Nobleza and St Paul’s students and staff for hosting the event, staff and chaplains from the schools who supported the day; but most of all, to the Young Leaders 2019-2020. You are an inspiration!

There certainly is HOPE for the future when you see the commitment, compassion, energy, drive and creativity of these young people empowered to make a difference. We look forward to seeing you all again for the final day in April.

New Year’s Resolutions giving you the January Blues? Put a smile on someone’s face and become a CAFOD volunteer


We all know that dreaded sinking feeling. It’s 6 January and, despite promising this year was going to be different, your New Year’s Resolution feels hopelessly impossible.

2020 is the time to shake things up. Make a commitment to help others and volunteer with CAFOD. Not only will you gain new friends and skills, but you’ll be integral in supporting our life-saving work.

From volunteering with your local parish to spreading the word through campaigning, this resolution will support our mission to ensure everyone can reach their full potential and live with dignity.

We have a whole range of volunteering opportunities available, from parish and school volunteering, to campaigning and events opportunities, to prayer writing and working to promote CAFOD in local and social media.

It doesn’t matter how much time you can volunteer for – it matters that you’re doing it.

Despite what our climate zero heroes would have you believe, not all heroes wear capes and every volunteer is a hero in our eyes. Let’s step into the new year together and make a real difference.

Want to get involved? Contact us now!

Telephone: 01483 898 866



Salesians School in Arundel & Brighton increasing awareness on climate change


This term the Salesians School in Chertsey have been raising awareness about climate change and showing through example how to care and be kind with Our Common Home.

Students have had a great initiative to collect all the rubbish the school produce in a day and talk about how to improve recycling practices in the school.

Big congratulations to students who are taking actions to increase awareness and improve recycling practices in the school and their communities.

Would you do the same in your school and/or communities? click here to find out how to take action and make a difference.

CAFOD’s WORLD GIFTS, Give a life-changing gift they’ll love


Would you like to make a difference this Christmas?

If your answer is yes, CAFOD has created a very special and meaningful way to do it through out World Gifts.

World Gifts are CAFOD’s alternative charity gifts that transform lives and support communities to break free from poverty. Whether it’s teaching someone to read, or giving enough seeds to grow a year’s worth of food in a vegetable garden, World Gifts has a perfect gift for everyone.

This virtual gift are great presents for friends, family, teachers – and most importantly, make a very real difference to families around the world.

World Gifts have already helped over 5,000 children to attend literacy classes – opening doors to education and work and has brought 100,000 animals to families – helping to create countless small businesses and improve their livelihoods.

This year, change lives around the world and celebrate a true meaning of Christmas giving with World Gifts

How World Gifts works?
Order your gifts online, by phone (0808 14 000 14) or using freepost order form.
Receive a beautifully illustrated card ready to personalise and give to your friend or love one. If you go online you can also choose to do this as an e-card, or print at home.
Change the lives of families and communities. Each World Gift is a real example of CAFOD’s work. They sit within five different funds and when you choose a gift you will be supporting the are of work that the gift represents.

Explore World Gift catalogue here

Further details can be found on the CAFOD website

Christine Allen visits St John’s Seminary


On 19 November Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, visited St John’s Seminary Wonersh to meet Volunteers, Priests and Seminarians. She was there to hear about the invaluable contributions local volunteers make towards CAFOD’s work within the diocese; as well as to share her vision and talk about the different aspects of CAFOD’s work, so that people can put faith into action. She said that of course, charity begins at home, but it doesn’t end there. We have to be ‘Jesus to others.’ As Christ’s followers, we are witnesses, and, as it says in Matthew 25, ‘Whatever you to do the least of my brothers, you do unto me’. As the official aid agency for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, CAFOD is guided by the values of compassion, solidarity and hope, firmly rooted in the Catholic community.

Together, with the help of our volunteers, CAFOD helps our sisters and brothers living in extreme poverty reach their full potential, regardless of religion or culture. Everyone in the world has the right to live their lives with dignity.  As a member of Caritas Internationalis – a group of over 160 Catholic agencies from around the world, CAFOD can work through the local Church to reach people and places that others can’t. She mentioned the tremendous work carried out by different volunteers who support CAFOD in parishes, schools, fundraising and campaigning.

Christine said that CAFOD was inspired by ordinary people. Elspeth Orchard, was one of the extraordinary Catholic women who helped organise the first Fast Day in 1960 and raised over £6,000 having been motivated by the words in Matthew:25 ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat’. Two years later CAFOD was born. ‘We were just doing what we ought to do, remembering that we are all God’s children,’ Elspeth explained later.

Christine outlined the different aspects of CAFOD’s work which she illustrated with concrete examples.

  • CAFOD helps those countries with no infrastructures that are in a crisis such as earthquakes and tsunamis; by providing food aid, water supplies but also in the months and years that follow too, helping people to rebuild their lives and prepare for whatever the future holds. She spoke about a particular project in Lebanon that supports Syrian refugees.
  • CAFOD speaks out for justice. When international bodies and governments make decisions that damage poor communities, CAFOD speaks out. In Brazil indigenous communities are being supported to secure their land rights and to become sustainable through growing crops, fruit trees and keeping hens.
  • CAFOD helps communities become sustainable. There are currently long-term water, sanitation and irrigation projects in Niger. Women there are benefiting from the bore holes instead of travelling miles to collect water. Girls can now attend school when having their periods. This means they can have an education and ultimately play their role in the community.
  • CAFOD is following Pope Francis’ call to conversion in Laudato Si. We are asked to promote the common good, eliminate poverty, act against climate change. The ecological conversion of reducing our carbon footprints starts with ourselves. Recently CAFOD as part of the Climate Coalition, lobbied MPs to take urgent action to protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

One of the Seminarians asked Christine how priests can be helpful to CAFOD. She said that as shepherds in the parish, they have the power to encourage or discourage CAFOD’s work. She said that priests can be proud of CAFOD, be confident in CAFOD’s work and to ‘let us in.’

A priest asked Christine about her vision and she said there was work on a new strategic framework, ‘Our Common Home’ from a subtitle in Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudate Si’ that reflects the desire to put this into practice caring for creation must be integral to tackling global poverty – to allow a sustainable sharing of the gifts of creation and that the systems in place, should allow ecological conversion.

One of the Office Volunteers, Elizabeth Beale commented afterwards that she felt a great sense of belonging; ‘CAFOD exists for us and we exist for CAFOD. CAFOD offers volunteers the opportunity to do something we wouldn’t normally do ourselves. CAFOD is an expression of God’s love.’

Saint Peter Parish in Hove supports CAFOD’s Christmas World Gifts


Big congratulations to St. Peter Parish for organising a cake sale which raised £128 for their Christmas project called “Do a good (goat) thing”. Through this initiative St. Peter parishioners are planning to raise more funds for CAFOD’s Christmas World Gifts and provide as many goats as possible to help transform the lives of poor communities and families in developing countries.

Cake sale fundraising event at St. Peter Parish for CAFOD’s World Gifts

What a great example to make a positive impact in people’s lives!

Do you also want to make a difference in people’s lives?  Talk to your friends, family and community members about  World Gift for Christmas. You do also can organise different fundraising events and help to change the lives of those living in poverty.


World Gifts are CAFOD’s alternative charity gifts that transforms lives. Perfect for Baptisms, birthdays and anniversaries, you can choose a unique, virtual gift that will make a real difference to a family living in poverty. And, that warm fuzzy feeling comes with free delivery.

For example, St. Peter Parishioners’ “virtual goats gift” provides a perfect livestock for many families living in rural areas. Goats are relatively easy to look after and can provide up to 12 pints of nutritious milk a week. It also produces free fertilizer which they can use to help grow crops.

Each World Gift is a real example of CAFOD’s work. When you choose a gift, you support the area of CAFOD’s work that this gift represents. Take a look at Gifts in Action for more information about world gift funds, and visit CAFOD’s World Gifts and choose your virtual Christmas gift now!

Blessing of the CAFOD Arundel & Brighton Remembrance Book


During November, the month of remembrance, we take time to pray for those who have died an give thanks for loved ones who have made a deep and lasting impression on our lives.

During this special time, we hold Memorial Masses across England and Wales in honour of supporters and loved ones who have died.

At each Mass, we present a Book of Remembrance which included names of supporters who have sadly passed away during the year. These Masses create a special time to come together and reflect on the lasting impact our loved ones have had on the world.

On this occasion CAFOD will have the local diocesan Book of Remembrance blessed at this Mass for the Arundel & Brighton diocese. The book will be blessed at that Mass and then displayed afterwards for a short time so anyone attending can look at it if they wish.

You are warmly invited to attend Arundel & Brighton Diocese’s mass on Thursday 7th November, at 7:30 pm at Christ The Prince of Peace, Portmore Way, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8JD

Add a name to our Book of Remembrance

Faith in Action Day


Join us on Saturday 23rd November for Arundel & Brighton Faith in Action Day. “Love is Civic and Political: Our Faith and the Common Good”, where we will explore the links between faith and politics.

From Trump to Brexit to Climate, politics is everywhere. But when should we pray from the side-lines and when should we roll up our sleeves?

The Church here and around the world has a proud history of encouraging Catholics’ political reflection and action. With amazing results.

At this CAFOD day, we’ll explore the links between faith and politics.This will be a great opportunity for campaigns volunteers and other supporters to explore how our faith and the common good intersect and how they play a more active role in campaigning.

Join us and reflect on Scripture and Church teaching. Be inspired by others and CAFOD’s campaigning and work overseas.

Saturday 23rd November, 10am – 4pm

St. John’s Seminary Wonersh
Surrey, GU5 0QX

Book your place or call 0303 303 3030

Soup and roll would be provided for lunch. Donations towards cost of day accepted. We look forward to seeing you there!

Brighton volunteer is hoping to “fight for climate justice” on gap year adventure


A Brighton volunteer is dedicating a year to working alongside communities across the world by taking part in a gap year programme, run by the international development charity CAFOD.  

Daisy Wedge, 22, is taking part in CAFOD’s ‘Step into the Gap’ programme and will be based at St Mary’s Academy in Blackpool, volunteering as a youth worker while working together with the local community.

“I decided to apply for ‘Step into the Gap’ after hearing so many exciting things about the programme from friends who have done it before,” said Daisy.

“Everything I’ve learned so far about CAFOD’s work has been nothing short of inspiring, and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.”

During the year, Daisy will work alongside staff and students at St Mary’s to raise awareness of global justice. She will also make an international trip to either Cambodia or Guatemala to meet some of the communities that CAFOD works alongside.

Daisy continued: “My first experience with CAFOD was in 2015 when I went on a climate march in London.”

“It’s there I heard about CAFOD’s ‘One Climate, One World’ campaign, which was raising awareness of climate change and fighting for climate justice. I still think that climate action is one of the most important causes today.

“I feel like I want to make the world a better place, and that this year will give me the skillset, opportunities, and confidence I need to do so.” 

Daisy is planning to raise awareness of the charity’s work by arranging an event around the upcoming Harvest Appeal, which will see communities across England and Wales hold fundraising events throughout October. 

The annual fundraising campaign is working to support communities around the world to access water and grow climate change-resistant crops to help feed their families this autumn.

Find out more at:

Volunteering for CAFOD as an MP Correspondent


CAFOD MP correspondents are a crucial element to CAFOD’s work, by writing letters to their MPs a few times a year or even meeting them in person to call for action and share their passion for global justice. Once a year MP Correspondents meet with their MPs at the annual MPC reception at the Speakers House in Parliament.

Christine Allen, CAFOD Director.
Campaign supporters at the CAFOD MP Correspondent Annual Parliamentary Reception at Speaker’s House, House of Commons, Westminster.
tEmily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Allister Phillip, Caritas Antilles Youth Emergency Action Committees, Anna Fraine, CAFOD Climate Champion and Christine Allen, CAFOD Director.
Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Being at the MP Correspondent reception was a brilliant opportunity to meet other volunteers and hear their experiences and how they have engaged with their MPs.

It is so easy to feel powerless and that our vote or our letter won’t make a difference. It was uplifting hearing from Emily Thornbury who is the MP for Islington South talk about the impact her constituents’ letters have.

“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s a waste of time. Instead you must always remember that the most powerful, the most personal letters that you will write, are more likely to get pinned to my wall, or one of my colleagues, and will inspire them every day to fight for what you believe in.”

It is so important that we come together as a collective group to tell out MPs that we care about climate change, poverty and injustice.

Are you interested to become a CAFOD MP Correspondent? Sign up and find out more reading CAFOD MPC Guide and recent MPC Actions


By Siobhan Doyle
MP Correspondent / Communication Volunteer



A ground-breaking agreement on climate change, signed in Paris in 2015 by 196 countries (including the UK), came into force in November 2016. This was a recognition that climate change is by far the most serious danger facing mankind and all life on earth. The effects of climate change being felt now include increased extreme weather patterns – droughts, flooding, stronger and more frequent hurricanes. In the UK we are experiencing hotter summers and wetter winters. Sea levels are rising as the result of polar ice melting and the water is expanding as it warms up. The warmer water absorbs more carbon dioxide resulting in it becoming more acidic.

The impact of this is falling most heavily on people in the developing countries – those who have done least to cause it and who also have the least resources to cope.

Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan destroyed thousands of homes, roads, bridges and farms in August 2013 for the third year in a row.

We need to ensure that our politicians do take the actions they know are necessary. To enable us to do this, CAFOD is launching a new campaign “Our Common Home”, named after Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home, which complements what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says  that our responsibility as good stewards of creation is to care for our world and not ‘steal’ resources from future generations.    

We need to tell the government to embed in law that the UK will reach “Net Zero” carbon emissions by 2045 – that is, the emissions we produce will be no more than the carbon that is being absorbed e.g. by trees and plants. We all need to play our part in putting pressure on our Government.

CAFOD will be joining other organisations in a mass lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 26 June, where thousands of people will be discussing climate change with their MPs. A coach will be running from Hove via Crawley.

Sign up today. If not, we will have no answer when, as Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist said: “Our grandchildren ask us why we knew, but did nothing.”

Sign our petition and find out more about the lobby today:  CAFOD also invites you to reflect how you, your family and your parish can work together to respond to the climate crisis, inspired by the teachings of Pope Francis. Use the  “Live simple activity poster”  to think and discusses about how your community can do a few simple things to live more sustainably and cut down on carbon emission.

By Roger Morton CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator