Now at the end of my time volunteering for CAFOD, I can safely say it has been a fantastic, and at times surreal, experience…
Over the bank holiday weekend I went to the Greenbelt festival with some of the Campaigns dept and other volunteers. I’ll admit I never would have thought about going to Greenbelt had it not been suggested by Christina, who led the CAFOD campaigning there, but I was so glad to have been invited.
Yes, there was many a bearded many sporting flowing shirts and feet clad in both socks and sandals, but it was refreshing to meet a whole host of other people who, religious or not, believed in Christian values.
Apart from the main sponsors of the festival, CAFOD had arguably the most visible presence over the weekend.
We flew our Climate Justice flag during the evening concerts, painted blue hands on the cheeks of any willing passer by at the stall and tied luggage labels with climate change facts on around the taps, toilets and bins all over the site.
Our main aim for the weekend was to get CAFOD’s message out about the plight of poorer countries struggling to cope with climate change and getting people to sign our Action Cards that will form our petition to the Prime Minister.
These urge him to recognise the right such countries have to continue developing in a sustainable way and the responsibility the richest nations in the world have in supporting them to do so.
In spite of the serious cause we were representing at Greenbelt, we did have a really good time, go to informative talks and enjoy a lot of great live music.
The nights were cold and the days breezy and I spent the majority of the time in pj bottoms tucked into wellies or a CAFOD Climate Justice t-shirt and jeans, when “on duty”, both accompanied by an attractive blue waterproof jacket.
Like everyone else who’d been on the mini expedition to Greenbelt I was exhausted on arriving back in Brixton and glad to be back in my own bed that night. One of the great things about volunteering for CAFOD is the amount of flexibility they give you, so I had the next day off to relax and rejuvenate.
CAFOD understand people have busy lives but as I’ve said my goodbyes this week I’ve had a sense of leaving a team I really have been a part of, even if just for a short time.
I like to think I take most opportunities that come my way and am generally a proactive sort of person but I could never have anticipated the amount of experiences working with CAFOD has afforded me…now extending beyond my 7 weeks of voluntary work.
The Campaigns team have invited me to go to the European Development Day in Stockholm this October, and I will hopefully be going to campaign with them at the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December!
I guess I still don’t know quite what I have let myself in for but these past 7 weeks have been an amazing insight into the world of non-profit organisations and I have learnt so much along the way.
Not only has it made me reconsider my career ideas for the future but also made me a more conscious consumer.
I would seriously recommend volunteering for CAFOD to anyone who was thinking about it (and all those who aren’t too!).
by Lucy Jenkinson