Join our Family Fun Online Quiz tonight (Friday 7 August) at 6.30 pm

We are so excited to bring you another night of family fun with our online quiz night, in aid of CAFOD’s Coronavirus Appeal.

Tonight (Friday 7 August) we are inviting you to gather your friends and family for the CAFOD Family Quiz.

Starting at 6:30 pm, there will be multiple rounds with a variety of topics which are suitable for all ages.

It’s a great chance to have a socially distanced competition – why not invite your neighbours to play along too?

There is a suggested minimum donation of £5 per adult, which you can donate through our website or at our Celebration Fund.

All funds raised will go towards CAFOD’s Coronavirus Appeal, which is helping some of the world most vulnerable communities tackle Coronavirus.

Don’t forget to register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7577422229936972815?source=Twitter

The role of faith-based charities in time of pandemic

The DEC’s faith-based charities: CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Tearfund and World Vision – can play an essential role not only in terms of community outreach and messaging relevant to prevention ( i.e. in promoting safe spacing precautions and essential behavioural change), but also in terms of dealing with the mental impact and long term effects of pandemics.

Faith leaders have potential for awareness raising in a way that is more trusted by local communities, complementing and reinforcing the work of national authorities and the global public health and humanitarian response.

Faith communities often play a vital role in helping the most vulnerable to have access to soap, water, hygiene kits (which contain a bowl, soap, shampoo, sanitary pads and toothbrushes, among other essential items) and can mobilise the wider community to counteract the stigma of quarantine and sickness, and to support families in isolation.

In order to continue protecting and improving the lives of those in poor communities, your gifts are needed now more than ever. Your essential support will help families survive.

Please support this urgent appeal, if you can.

And keep our global family in your prayers. 

£6 can buy a hygiene package for a vulnerable family containing soap, washing powder and reusable face masks

£33 can give a religious leader information about Coronavirus, which they can share with their community.

£260 can write, edit and broadcast a 30-second radio advert sharing news about Coronavirus with isolated communities.

Click below to see the latest DEC Coronavirus appeal message, featuring Mustafa, a local water expert, supported by CAFOD in Syria.

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Five ways you can join in our Coronavirus appeal

There are many ways to get involved in our Coronavirus appeal and here we’ve listed a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Share on social media

We always share our latest updates and news on all our social media channels. Make sure that you are following our social media pages: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Click to follow us here: Twitter  Facebook  and Instagram Instagram (South Wales account) so you can be the first to hear about the latest developments in our projects and programmes and keep up-to-date with what is happening locally.

  1. Organise an event for our Summer of Hope

This summer, like never before, we are called to be signs of hope for our world.

And you can get involved by getting your friends, family and community together to virtually recreate a summer event, while fundraising for our Coronavirus appeal.

Could you get family on friends together online and come up with some quiz questions for fun, and donate or organise a virtual parish pilgrimage, getting sponsored for each mile walked?

Jane Davies from St Michael & All Angels parish at Belmont Abbey in Hereford recently took up this challenge and you can visit her fundraising page here: (21 mile sponsored walk). 

Check our A-Z fundraising guide for more ideas.

  1. Ask your friends to sign our petition for overseas debt cancellation

Through his Easter Urbi et Orbi message of hope, Pope Francis called for the whole world to be united in the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Urging us all to reject indifference, he called for the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt that is “burdening the balance sheet of the poorest nations.

The spread of Coronavirus to countries with poor health systems will be devastating.  By cancelling debt payments, this money can be diverted to the health systems and infrastructure that is desperately needed.

At CAFOD we recently launched a petition asking the government to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised people are the priority in the UK’s international efforts as well as at home.

As Pope Francis reminds us, together we can speak out against a ‘globalisation of indifference’. We can use our voices to call for a fair and just political response

Make sure to sign and share our petition to help protect the world’s most vulnerable

  1. Get your parish or church group together for a virtual a Coronavirus prayer morning

We are so often told by the communities that we work alongside that prayers from communities in the UK are so powerful and meaningful to them.

Your prayers help to connect us as a global family and shows great solidarity and support.

So, why not get your parish group together for a prayer meeting and together reflect on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our global brothers and sisters?

We have a selection of coronavirus prayers available for download

 

5. Donate the price of your coffee, haircut, or gym membership to the coronavirus appeal.

When lockdown meant that Jacquelyn and Alan Williams couldn’t frequent their local coffee shop, they decided to set up their own garden café and donate the price of their daily coffee to CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal.

Jacqueline said: “Before the lockdown, we never really thought anything about going a few times a week for a quick coffee and cake, but since we’ve been in lockdown, we realised how much we missed that experience. So, we decided to recreate it in our own garden – and it’s been a real treat! We wanted to do this to show everyone how easy it is to fundraise and help others.

It doesn’t have to be something big.

A small gesture really can make a big difference.”

Why not follow Jacqueline and Alan’s lead and donate the price of something you’ve saved to help families around the world?

 

Recent online talks and dates for some future ones too…

Stories of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia

 Apologies all – this was yesterday: Wednesday, 17 June 11 am-12 noon – but a recording will be available online shortly. 

Join us to hear about the inspiring work of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia with Ulrike Beck, CAFOD’s Programme manager in Colombia.

Register to join us.

Meet the Director – Geoff O’Donoghue

TODAY – Thursday, 18 June 11 am-12 noon 

Join us for to hear from Geoff O’Donoghue, CAFOD’s Director of Operations, about the amazing people he meets in his work and how it has changed his life.

Register to join us.

CAFOD’s response to the global COVID-19 crisis – an update

Tuesday, 23 June 11 am-12 noon

Join us to hear from CAFOD’s panel of experts updating us on COVID-19 globally.
Claire Dixon Head of Region Latin America & Caribbean, Janet Symes Head of Region Asia & Middle East , Fergus Conmee Head of Region of Africa, John Birchenough Head of Humanitarian Programmes Africa and Jo Kitterick Head of Fundraising will report on situation in their region.

Register to join us.

 

Marking life’s key moments

Thursday, 25 June 11 am-12 noon

Hear from three amazing supporters who make CAFOD’s work possible. Find out how they are putting their faith into action, sharing hope and joy during life’s key moments.

Register to join us.

Past online talks

Browse all past online talks

Volunteer prayer reflection & virtual coffee morning this Thursday at 11 am

After such a delightful gathering of people at last week’s Mass in celebration of Volunteers’ Week, we would like to invite you all to join us this Thursday 11 June, 11 am-12 noon, for prayer and reflection.

This will be a great opportunity to meet with other volunteers from around the country, enjoy a short reflection and prayer.

 

 

It would be lovely if you could have a candle ready to light when you join the prayer.

After the reflection, there will be time to stay on the call for a virtual coffee morning, where you will have the chance to join a wider conversation.

Register to join us.

All welcome.

Summer of Hope Assembly

The ‘Summer of Hope’ will be officially launched on 18 June with a nationwide assembly premiered on CAFOD’s YouTube channel to schools in England and Wales.

The assembly, titled ‘Hope in the Time of Coronavirus’ will inspire schools, communities, and young people to reflect on the impact of Coronavirus and act to be signs of hope for our global family.

Monica Conmee, CAFOD’s Head of Education, said:

“During the recent lockdown, communities across the UK came together to stand in solidarity to fight the coronavirus.

“Even though we had to be physically apart during this time, seeing extraordinary feats of generosity and kindness within communities helped to bring us together. Just because lock-down is lifting, there is no reason why we should lose that community spirit.”

“This summer, like never before, we are called to come together – albeit virtually – as a sign of hope and strength.

“The events that take place during the ‘Summer of Hope’ will not only provide a much-needed brightness in the local community but will also show that no family or community stands alone.”

Join the Summer of Hope at cafod.org.uk/SummerofHope

We say THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers – Celebrate together this Volunteers’ Week with Mass at 6 pm today (Thursday 4 June)

This is National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June)  – an annual celebration of the millions of people who give up their time to help their communities and country. And this year, there are more people to thank than ever before.

CAFOD’s Director, Christine Allen, said: “During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen some amazing feats of volunteering to support the Coronavirus response both here and overseas.

“Over the past few months, here at CAFOD we have seen our numbers of volunteers and the time they are willing to give increase – equating to over 100,000 extra hours volunteered to help some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Jane Davies (from St Miichael & All Angels parish, Belmont Abbey is doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Coronavirus appeal – Thank you Jane!

Volunteering in numbers

  • Across the UK, 11.9 million people formally volunteered at least once a month in 2017/18.
  • An amazing 6,305 CAFOD volunteers in England and Wales across 15 volunteering roles gave an average of 27,862 hours each month.
  • That’s the equivalent of 334,344 hours over the course of a year – a record-breaking 100,000 more hours than last year!

Join us

Every year, we hold volunteer events around the country to thank our amazing volunteers – and although our events may look a bit different this year, we’d still love for you to join us to celebrate what an amazing difference your volunteering has made.

Please join us on this evening (Thursday 4 June) at 6 pm for our Volunteers’ Week celebration online Mass.

Register to join us

 

Small steps towards sustainable living

Stella Westmacott – living simply

“I love peanut butter. It’s a staple part of my diet,” says Stella Westmacott, a retired solicitor and CAFOD volunteer. “But a lot of peanut butter contains palm oil, which is a hugely destructive industry.”

Stella and her husband, Paul, live on a remote farm in the Welsh countryside. They made the decision to live simply following retirement. They are now almost completely self-sustainable: producing their own electricity and water, recycling all waste, and growing plenty of food.

“But we can’t grow everything,” continues Stella. “So we try to make alternatives. I make peanut butter myself with a recipe that’s so simple – just peanuts, a pinch of salt and some sunflower oil. No palm oil involved!”

Stella shared with us her knowledge and top tips – the small steps you too can take towards living sustainably.

“When I retired, I went on a permaculture course and learned so much about water: how much is wasted with every flush; how grey water (the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, and washing machines, etc.) disappearing down the drain has devastating effects; how all this effects the ecosystem at large.

“Here, we are not on a mains water supply, but receive our water via a borehole directly on the property. Recently, I have noticed that rainfall is becoming more extreme in Wales – lots of rainfall, followed by drought. This has made us even more mindful about our water use.”

Stella volunteers for CAFOD because she recognises the similarities of her struggle to live sustainably with those vulnerable communities overseas.

Stella organising a Creation Celebration Mass with Fr Martin Donnelly

“We decided to install water butts to collect rainfall, as well as a compost toilet and a solar shower. We use the grey water in the garden. We make our own compost. We built a polytunnel so we can grow things all year round.”

Stella is also driven by a desire to reduce energy consumption. She is an environmentalist.

“We installed solar panels on the roofs to generate electricity for our home. This heats our water. If there is any excess electricity created, it goes straight back into the grid. We are also part of a local energy cooperative focusing on producing local renewable energy.”

But what are the challenges of living sustainably?

“One of our biggest challenges was cleaning. For most of my life, I used bleach to clean. Here, we have a septic tank system that decomposes waste. If inorganic materials like bleach are added, they kill the bacteria needed for the septic tank system to work properly. Therefore, I had to put my thinking cap on. After some research, I found alternative biodegradable products!”

Stella and Paul aim to create as little waste as possible.

“Of course, we do the usual: reduce, reuse, recycle. But the main thing we try to do is not create waste in the first place. We often try to repair things if they break, rather than buy replacements. I haven’t put a single black bag of waste out since we’ve been here. I compost food and regularly visit the recycling centre. I’m very mindful about what is going where.

“Being interested in the environment, I’ve always done my best to care for it. When I lived just outside Cardiff, I did litter picking on the beach. If you’re looking to start, you can do simple things like taking a carrier bag when you’re out and about and just picking up any litter you see.

Stella & Paul with fellow parishioners – showing solidarity with migrants and refugees – as part of CAFOD’s Share the Journey campaign

“I’ve learned that everything we do, or don’t do, has an impact. It’s all about being aware of this, and doing our best to make sure that impact is not a negative one.”

This commitment to sustainability means Stella and Paul eat heartily.

“We grow artichokes, kale, beans and root vegetables, including carrots, onions and potatoes. In our polytunnel, we grow salad leaves, peppers, cucumbers, basil and coriander. We also grow lots of beetroots to make pickles, roasts and dips. We have apple trees, pear trees and strawberry beds. We inherited some asparagus beds, too.”

Inspired by her experiences, Stella thinks that everyone should have a go at growing something for themselves.

“If you have a garden and you don’t know where to start, just observe the garden for a while. Look to see where the sun is at different times of day. Think about the best places for plants to get sunlight. Begin by experimenting and trying different things.

“If you only have a little bit of space, you can easily create a wildflower meadow to attract wildlife and insects to your garden.

“I know not everyone has a garden, but you can even grow things on the windowsill, like lettuce, tomatoes and herbs. You can also grow things in pots.

“Growing things provides a deeper connection to nature, which has huge benefits for overall well-being.

“Most of the changes we have made are simple. Almost anyone can make the smaller changes in their own lives. It really takes no great skill or expertise – just an idea and a willingness to experiment.”

Find out more about CAFOD’s environmental work at cafod.org.uk/climate

The livesimply award is an opportunity for Catholic communities – parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies – to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.

It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living:

• simply

• in solidarity with people in poverty

• sustainably with creation.

Find out more about CAFOD’s liveSimply award

Take a look at our 100 liveSimply ideas

Stella’s commitment to a sustainable lifestyle with Paul is featured in the Catholic Universe this week.

Pray as one global family

During Laudato Si’ Week, tens of thousands of people have united to learn and prepare for a better tomorrow. Thank you for participating!

But Sunday is our day to slow down.

At noon local time, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, we’re going to stop and pray as one global Catholic family all over the world.

A wave of prayer for creation will start as the sun reaches its peak in the Pacific, then roll on through Africa and Europe before reaching the Americas.

The global day of prayer will envelope the entire world. That’s the power of this prayerful movement. We face a crisis in love and solidarity because we know that truly, “everything is connected.” Click here to view and download Sunday’s prayer card.

You’re encouraged to connect with others about your time of prayer by using #LaudatoSi5 on social media. You’re also warmly welcomed to join a special online Laudato Si’ Mass to celebrate the day of prayer. Please join us to share this gift of the Spirit.

 Date: Sunday 24 May – 2 pm local (UK) time.

Join here: Register on Zoom here

 Fill your home with God’s love: Pray with us.

P.S. Download Sunday’s prayer card here to join a global wave of prayer, and connect with others by sharing #LaudatoSi5 on social media!

COVID-19 and the impact on International Debt – join us online tomorrow (Thursday 14 May)

Coronavirus Appeal – cash distribution for basic essentials in Bangladesh by CAFOD partner, Caritas Bangladesh

We are currently living through the biggest public health crisis in a century. Right across the UK, coronavirus is having a devastating impact on all of our daily lives, and many people have lost precious loved ones.

But in many developing countries where poverty is widespread and healthcare systems are much more fragile, the effects are likely to be disastrous.

Join us on Thursday 14 May, 11 am-12 pm, for a talk about the impact that COVID-19 is having in developing countries and their International Debt.

CAFOD’s Lead Analyst, Dario Kenner, and Campaign Manager, Maria Elena Arana, will be speaking about how CAFOD advocacy program is responding to this financial crisis.

People wait to receive information re Covid-19 and food in Zimbabwe

And, how we at CAFOD are calling on the UK government to ensure that the most vulnerable people are the priority in the UK’s international efforts as well as at home.

Make sure to sign up now!