Young Volunteers: Experiences as a Parish Contact


Jack with CAFOD’s Sheku Mark from Sierra Leone

Jack Emsley, 19, from the Northampton Dioceses has been volunteering for two years and he shares his experiences of being a parish contact.

“I’m currently a Parish contact, which involves coordinating fundraising efforts across two parishes in Bedford, as well as raising awareness of CAFODs work among local congregations, and attending supporter’s days.

Learn more about volunteering for young people 

“Undoubtedly, I have been inspired by hearing the individual stories of people who CAFOD have helped over the past years has been a major inspiration factor for me. The engagement that stories such as Proscovia’s brings in the Parishes I work with is hugely motivating, as it encourages a level of involvement and interest that goes deeper than simply donating without understanding what your money actually goes towards.


Speaking up for CAFOD

“I think being able to inspire people to help others in the world’s most impoverished areas is in and of itself an inspiration to me as a volunteer!

I think the knowledge that what I’m doing is helping those most in need is a hugely positive aspect of volunteering, but perhaps the most positive aspect is helping others to engage with the work that our charity does.

“Volunteering with CAFOD is about more than just fundraising; it’s about raising awareness of those in the direst need of help across the globe, and helping people to understand and empathise with the struggles of the most impoverished areas.

Sixth Form Students at St Thomas More

Jack with fellow pupils who raised money for the Nepal earthquake appeal

“You can’t affect real change until people understand the problem, so I like to think the most positive aspect of volunteering with CAFOD is making that difference, ensuring that understanding, and creating that real, long lasting change!

“Last year I was lucky enough to meet with Sheku Mark from Sierra Leone, who had worked with those affected by the Ebola crisis in West Africa. We spoke about the work that he was doing “on the ground” with CAFOD, and how the fundraising efforts of volunteers such as myself here in Britain make a huge difference to the work being done by the charity overseas.

“It was a real privilege to get to understand exactly how the money we’re raising here is being used to help those most in need across the globe, and through Sheku I was able to see the manifestation of our efforts in fundraising. Of course there have been so many great moments at fundraisers and supporters day, but it’s so rewarding being able to hear first-hand the good work that comes out of all that we as volunteers do!”

If Jack’s story has inspired you to volunteer and you can read about the different volunteering roles. 

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