Exercising our democratic right

St John's Youth Council“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown

Volunteer with CAFOD today in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

There are opportunities in the following roles:

  • Parish Volunteer to assist your PP with our Lent and Harvest Family Fast Day, emergencies, campaigns, parish fundraising for CAFOD
  • Education Volunteers to visit our Catholic Primary and Secondary Schools in the diocese
  • Office Volunteers to undertake admin and other office duties
  • Member of Parliament Correspondents (MPC’s) to build a relationship with your local MP and writing to her/him up to three times a year
  • Communications Volunteer who will write press releases, blogs and tweets and give the occasional radio interview

These are just a few examples of the ways in which you can volunteer some of your spare time, putting your faith into action.

Step into the Gap-We’re on our way



Our team of Step into the Gap volunteers are departing on their overseas trips to either Sierra Leone, Nicaragua and El Salvador.  Hannah Collinson is on placement with our Youth Ministry Team in Hexham and Newcastle Diocese. She tells us about what she has been doing to prepare for her overseas visit to Sierra Leone:


“In order to prepare for the trip we have been learning more about social justice, sustainable development and culture especially linked to Sierra Leone. We have also been spreading awareness about CAFOD’s work and  the impact everyone can make during retreats  at the Youth Ministry Team where I volunteer. This included a morning prayer session in which young people used the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love to write messages that will be taken and possibly exchanged with the people we encounter in Sierra Leone.

I feel so privileged to be involved in such amazing work and to have this incredible opportunity  as part of that. I hope to do justice to the people we meet when we return and share the truth that we have heard. I am really excited to share this experience with the young people that come on retreat, so that they can really see the bigger picture of CAFOD’s work and the impact that they can all contribute to”.

Applications for CAFOD’s gap year programme are open. For anyone aged 18 – 30: an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners overseas. The deadline is 19th February. For all information and how to apply visit www.cafod.org.uk/Education/CAFOD-Gap-year or contact Catherine Jones 0207 095 5308 cjones@cafod.org.uk


News from our Gapper

Bridgid Duffy, our Step into the Gap volunteer, tells us a little about what she’s been doing for CAFOD and her imminent trip to Ethiopia.


Bridgid- from Allendsford to Ethiopia

I have been at the diocesan Youth Ministry Team (YMT) for just over 4 months now, and what an amazing experience it has been! I have had time to focus on personal development, as well as growing in my own faith. However, most importantly, I have already encountered around 2000 young people on retreats at the Youth village, where myself, and the rest of YMT, help them understand how much God loves them.

Additionally, I have done a wide range of activities during retreats to raise awareness about CAFOD, and current global issues. For instance, a very powerful activity that I have done quite often with the young people is a refugee simulation activity.  In this activity, the young people get a sense of the struggles that refugees have to go through, which is then followed by the opportunity to write and send a message of hope to a refugee. The young people find this extremely thought provoking and insightful.


A message of hope written by one of our young people

As you can imagine, my year so far has been incredible, however my trip to Ethiopia is imminent! I can’t even begin to put into words how excited I am. I will be flying to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, on the 24th of January with my fellow Gappers.

While in Ethiopia we will be visiting various HIV/AIDS projects, climate change adaptation projects and possibly getting involved with music and art classes for street children.

I have no doubt that this will be a life changing experience, that will help me see the world from a completely different perspective. I have such a passion for social justice, so I cant wait to see in action the work that CAFOD is doing to combat the issues surrounding it. I have such a deep longing to learn more and encounter people from a completely different culture to my own. However, I also hope that I can share my own experiences with the people who I meet in Ethiopia, and consequently form a relationship where we can learn from one another.


Bridgid and fellow Gappers all set for Ethiopia

Finally, despite being an extremely outgoing person, I can’t deny that I am nervous about my up coming trip. However, this emotion is undoubtedly overpowered with an overwhelming sense of excitement. I am ready to step out of my comfort zone, and literally ‘Step into the Gap’ to make a positive change in this world.

You’ll be able to hear more about CAFOD’s work in Ethiopia from Brdigid right here in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you’d like to get involved in CAFOD’s refugee action, please follow this link for more information.