Celebrating 25 years of “quiet” volunteering

To help tackle poverty and injustice in our world, CAFOD relies on volunteers in England and Wales who, inspired by their faith, put it into action and pray, fundraise and campaign to bring about change.

Maggie Osgathorpe with her Papal Blessing

One such volunteer is Maggie Osgathorp from All Saints parish in Bletchley who has been a parish volunteer with CAFOD for 25 years!  Congratulations Maggie!

In all that time, Maggie has been involved with many CAFOD campaigns and fundraising events.  Apart from the two fast days, Maggie organises other fundraising events in the parish.

Maggie and her “one pound shop” – CAFOD fundraiser

Together with a team she holds monthly coffee mornings in the parish after mass and has a “one pound shop” when she has accumulated enough of “unwanted” items from parishioners to sell.  These have raised amazing amounts for CAFOD.  The latest “one pound shop” brought in over £80!  She also organises quiz nights which raises a lot of money for CAFOD and which is enjoyed by all who attend.

When asked what kind of person Maggie is, most would say she is “so quiet and gentle, not liking to be in the limelight.  She is always seen doing something in the parish to raise awareness”.

Maggie not quite taking in that she was being thanked

Fr Chris presents Maggie with the Papal Blessing

So, when unbeknown to Maggie, Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Chris (parish priest), presented Maggie with a Papal blessing of thanks at the end of Sunday mass, she was so surprised and overcome.  The big applaud which followed left Maggie speechless!

Debbie and Fr Chris presenting Maggie with a Papal Blessing for 25 years of volunteering for CAFOD

Fr Chris said, “you have put on so many coffee mornings and today, you can enjoy others putting it on.”  Many parishioners came forward to congratulate Maggie as well, to show how much they valued what she had done.

The following day Maggie was still taking it all in and said, “Thank you all so much for the Papal Blessing..  I am still so overwhelmed”.

Thank you so much Maggie for your years of support.  In your gentle and quiet way, you have been a massive inspiration to all around you and a wonderful sign of how to put faith into action!  You have helped transform the lives of many!

If you would like to be a parish volunteer or get involved in CAFOD’s work, do get in touch Northampton@cafod.org.uk or call 01844 274 723.


Stop the Mauà Community eviction – Help us reach 2,000 signatures

Over 200 families face eviction from their home in São Paulo. Children and vulnerable residents, who have lived in the Mauà building for 10 years, are in danger of being left homeless on the streets.

They need our help again in their struggle for safe housing.

Please add your name to our petition asking the Brazilian authorities to suspend the eviction and to negotiate a just, permanent solution.

We have got over 1,800 signatures.  Help us reach 2,000.



Supporters show their discontent with Sainsbury’s ‘Fairly Traded’ tea

A few supporters met up on Saturday outside the Sainsbury’s Dunstable store to voice their discontent about Sainsbury’s decision.  Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK.  They’ve decided to abandon Fairtrade certification on some of their own-brand tea products and pilot their own scheme instead, known as ‘Fairly Traded’.

Supporters petitioning Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fairtrade tea

Tea farmers in Africa (where Sainsbury’s tea comes from) have publicly opposed the move away from the Fairtrade Mark as it takes away their power to decide where to invest the Fairtrade Premium in their communities. We are concerned that this new ‘Fairly Traded’ tea, and any products that follow it, could mean an unfair deal for poor farmers.

>> Find out more about Sainsbury’s move away from Fairtrade

Signed Letter to Sainsbury’s store manager

Some supporters of Fairtrade in Dunstable and Luton were keen to do their part in letting Sainsbury’s know that they were not happy about this. They signed a letter to the store manager to ask that Sainsbury revert to supplying Fairtrade tea instead of their “Fairly Traded” tea which was also very confusing for customers.


Maureen Borbone, one of our long-standing volunteers, who is a very keen Fairtrade supporter was unable to be attend the event when the letter was handed in to the store due to ill health.  She was however still keen to play her part.

Maureen keen to get all to support Fairtrade

She wrote a short and succinct statement to Sainsbury’s on a sheet of paper and got everyone who paid her a visit to sign it.  With the numerous signatures she obtained, she handed this over to Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator – Northampton) to take along to be handed in to the store manager.


Agnes Milne, a keen CAFOD campaigner, explained to other customers about what we were doing and one customer responded, “If Sainsbury’s continues to sell their ‘Fairly Traded’ tea, I will stop shopping at Sainsbury’s!”

Supporters want Sainsbury’s to ditch its ‘Fairly traded’ tea

Debbie Purfield said, “We wanted to have a bigger impact, so we purchased their ‘Fairly Traded’ tea and then returned it asking to speak to the store manager. We then explained to him our unhappiness at Sainsbury’s decision and handed him the signed letters.  The store manager said he understood our concerns and asked us to take it up further but said he would pass on the letters.”

Well done everyone who attended the event and all those who signed the petition! We are all part of the global food system and choosing Fairtrade products is one way we can help tackle poverty!  Thank you for standing in solidarity and speaking out for justice with the world’s poorest communities.

>> Tell Sainsbury’s: Don’t Ditch Fairtrade