New year resolution? Become a CAFOD volunteer!

Feeling guilty over that broken new year resolution? Or did 2014 sneak up too quickly to make one? Here’s a chance to start the year afresh – and make a difference at the same time!

CAFOD is looking for supporters willing to support our work in the Diocese of Middlesbrough by becoming parish or school volunteers.

One of our current volunteers is Donald Lillistone. He’s kindly spoken about what his support involves:

Donald meeting with CAFOD supporters

Donald meeting with CAFOD supporters

Schools volunteering can be very varied. It can range from being simply a CAFOD contact to provide a personal ‘thank you’ for work already done, to giving presentations and running workshops. We aim to ensure that our young people are informed about CAFOD’s work, to encourage them to pray for social justice, and, where appropriate, to be involved in fund raising. This is work that can be done by people from all sorts of backgrounds and is very rewarding. Volunteers are precisely that – not teachers – so do not worry about being responsible for a large number of young people, as there will always be a teacher in charge there with you.

I am also a Parish CAFOD contact at St Mary’s Cathedral, where I assist Laurie Haley, who has many years of experience working with CAFOD. The two main annual collections are, of course, very important, but it is also highly desirable to keep parishioners informed about CAFOD activities and issues, and, where possible, involvement in them. We did this in 2013 with the Tour de Fred in which Fred Uttley and his cycling companion Mark Brown completed a marathon bike ride around all 22 dioceses of England and Wales to raise funds for CAFOD.

I applied to become a CAFOD schools volunteer after seeing a request for additional volunteers in the Catholic Voice. Having received my application, David Cross, the Diocesan CAFOD manager, was extremely helpful in explaining to me precisely what volunteering would entail. Full training is provided. My training took place over four days spread out between April and June. The sessions were engagingly delivered in a totally supportive and friendly atmosphere, and it was good to be able to share thoughts and reactions with other trainee volunteers. The training was comprehensive and covered not only the necessary information about CAFOD’s work, but also the range of materials available with suggestions as to how to use them, plus such necessary matters as Child Protection and Safeguarding.

More information on volunteering for CAFOD can be found at http://www.cafod.org.uk/Work-with-us/Volunteer, or by contacting CAFOD Middlesbrough at middlesbrough@cafod.org.uk.

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