Our new Campaign coordinator – Ged Nolan

Ged Nolan is one of our amazing volunteers who has been a wonderful example of how to put one’s faith into action. Seeking a new purpose after retirement, Ged was inspired by CAFOD’s commitment to work with people who devote their lives to defending the rights of the poorest and most marginalised around the world.

Ged Nolan – a Volunteer with many hats!

Ged felt that his experienced in working with and providing aid to many people in Africa and Asia would come in handy.

Ged with other School volunteers at a training day

Ged came forward to volunteer for CAFOD as an Educational Volunteer in April 2015 when he saw it advertised in the parish newsletter.  He now visits local catholic schools, where he carries out assemblies and workshops. He has promoted CAFOD’s campaigns, such as ‘Power To Be‘, ‘Speak up for CAFOD‘ and the ‘Lampedusa Cross pilgrimage‘.

For Ged, the inclusion of young people into CAFOD’s work is vital to ensure that CAFOD’s mission and values carry on.

Ged in is office volunteer role

In late 2015, Ged offered to work in the volunteer centre as an office volunteer wanting to give more time to the cause he believed in so much.

Then in 2016, Ged agreed to be the Parish contact at his parish of St Joseph’s (Gerrads Cross).  Through this and his other roles, Ged was starting to get more familiar with CAFOD’s work and enjoyed liaising with other volunteers so stepping into the role of Area coordinator for the SE Bucks Pastoral area was an easy transition.

Ged having coordinator training from the campaigns team

In May 2017 he took on the role and hit the ground running.  He also signed up to be an MP correspondent! In July 2017 Ged allowed his arm to be twisted to take on the role of Campaign Coordinator for the Northampton Diocese as he was already doing that role to a small extent.

>> Find out about volunteering for CAFOD

 

Ged said he accepted this role because:

Ged supporting CAFOD campaign Power to Be

 

“ I am passionate about having the opportunity to stimulate, grow and help the existing and potential Campaign Volunteers.  Volunteers play a vital role in helping to change the root causes of injustice which keep our brothers and sisters living in poverty.  With their support we can help fight inequality and injustice”.

 

 

In his new role, Ged will be working closely with current campaign volunteers as well as those keen to support CAFOD campaigns in other ways. He will also network with parishes and other organisations to help maximise the impact of CAFOD campaigns.

Ged gives a talk about CAFOD’s work

Energising and training current volunteers, as well as enthusing people to join our campaigns will be another major aspect of Ged’s new role.

It is clear that Ged is motivated from the heart to help others. Once you have met Ged, it is impossible not to be moved by his compassion towards those around him, as well as his tremendous generosity in terms of time and effort.  He is always ready to lend a hand and has warmed himself to those whom he works with by his gentleness and good sense of humour.

Thank you Ged for all you do. You are a great example of the true spirit of CAFOD’s volunteers!

>> Fine out how you can volunteer for CAFOD

 

Speak up week of action at St Edwards Milton Keynes

The parishioners of St Edward the Confessor (Milton Keynes) invited their local MP, Iain Stewart (MP – Milton Keynes South), to join them for an Informal “meet the parishioners” over a bacon butty and cuppa after mass on 2 July. This was part of the Speak up week of action supported by the Climate Coalition of which CAFOD is a member.   A wonderful opportunity to make sure that the concerns of the world’s poorest people are one of the first things on their MP’s agenda, just a few weeks after he was re-elected.

The culmination of which was the involvement in CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign which seeks to help families around the world to lift themselves out of poverty through safe, renewable energy.  Parish Volunteer Marc Auckland writes :

Parishioners of St Edward the Confessor ( Milton Keynes) with their MP Iain Stewart

Parishioners were keen to ask for progress on tackling climate change and thus poverty, both locally nationally and internationally.

Iain Stewart met many parishioners to discuss this crucial global issue, as well as discussions ranging from NHS funding, local transport links, diesel emissions and hybrid cars through to third world poverty.

Iain specifically praised CAFOD saying, “a global charity that is light on overhead costs, focuses funding on impacting practical projects that have a lasting benefit to the communities they seek to help”.  He spoke about critical issues such as clean energy and water, health issues such as immunisation and helping the communities help themselves thus becoming self-sustaining.  He supported this country’s commitment to the 0.7% GDP for overseas development.  The UK is one of the few countries signed up to the UN pledge that is hitting the target.  Iain agreed to table a parliamentary question to Priti Patel, the Overseas Development Minister, to ensure continued funding and support of practical focused charities such as CAFOD.

Jason and Serena get involved campaigning

Young Parishioner Jared asked Iain why the Conservatives were not canvassing and speaking to the youth of the country more. Iain assured Jared that they were.  He explained that there was a Youth cabinet to represent and promote Youth points of view and issues.  Iain said he had visited many primary and secondary schools in the area to ensure he understood the younger peoples’ points of view.  He offered to host Jared and up to 6 young parishioners to a visit to the Houses of parliament as his guest and an opportunity to discuss further the needs of the youth of the country.

Parishioners raise their concerns to MP Iain Stewart

Other parishioner raised concerns over the sustainable, energy efficient new housing building programmes for over 1000 new builds in Milton Keynes. Iain shared these concerns and reassured parishioners that was personally involved in it and was keen to ensure the proper building standards were enforced.

Ian stayed for an hour and was delighted with the informal approach which allowed him to get to know many of his constituents personally and understand the strength of concerns they had around climate change. Iain has offered to come to future coffee mornings to keep abreast of local concerns and needs. A relaxed sharing of information was enjoyed by all. “

>> Sign the Power to Be petition

Harvest Supporters’ day – 17 September 2016, Beaconsfield

Supporters Day - Beaconsfield

Supporters Day – Beaconsfield

 

Over 40 CAFOD supporters and volunteers from 16 parishes across mostly the southern part of the diocese attended the Supporters’ briefing on Saturday at St  Teresa’s, Beaconsfield. Thank you to all who joined us. It was fantastic to see so many of you there!  Go CAFOD Northampton!

It was wonderful to see people mingle and chat before the day started

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Fr Henry share his experience of a CAOD project

Fr Henry shares his experience of a CAFOD project

We had great input from Fr Henry Sanni who spoke of his personal experience of a CAFOD project in Nigeria.  He talked of how empowering people was key to tackling poverty.  Fr Henry later commented, ” It was a very organised and awareness enriching day.  I am happy to be part of it.”

 This was followed by a talk of CAFOD’s work in Bolivia, (our focus country this Harvest).

Damian Conlin talks about Hands On

Damian Conlin talks about Hands On

 

Damian Conlin (Head of Supporter Development) gave an update on donations received over the past year and how these funds have helped the world’s poorest to improve their lives. He also introduced the individual regular giving project called  Hands On Altiplano which gives supporters an opportunity to journey with the community in Bolivia and be part of a project that helps transform their lives.

We went through the Harvest resources and were given suggestions of how to reach out and promote fast days in our parishes as well as to encourage more people to volunteer.  Many of those present were surprised to hear that there was a variety of  volunteering roles in CAFOD to suite various lifestyles and skills even within the parish.

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Santi presenting

Santi presenting

We had a talk from Santi Trillo (CAFOD volunteer) who shared tips on how to give an effective talk when speaking at mass for CAFOD especially if it isn’t in one’s own parish.

We had time to share in groups  on how to promote Gift Aid in parishes (CAFOD has raised over £42million in the past 25 years!), how to get others from the parish involved and how to go about organising campaign, fundraising and prayer events. There were great suggestions and it was really inspiring to hear what people have been up to in their parishes.  Many found the group session very helpful and encouraging.  Bruce from Guardian Angels Aylesbury said, “This is my first time attending such an event.  It was really helpful and has inspired me to do more.  Now I know what others are doing, I would like to plan some events in my parish as well as link with other volunteers in my pastoral area.”

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We concluded the meeting with updates. We heard about the Speak Up Week of Action and parishes which had not yet taken up the opportunity to borrow the Lampedusa cross from the cathedral were encouraged to do so and to write messages of hope to refugees.  All messages returned to CAFOD will be sent to refugees.

Most people left with a commitment of what they would do personally as a result of attending the meeting.  Some said they would look at LiveSimply in 2017, others said they felt inspired to look at ideas with their local group and will want to highlight Gift Aid in their parish and still others felt motivated to get new people involved.  A fantastic response!

If you couldn’t join us this at Beaconsfield, you can still join us at Ss Francis & Therese, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NORTHAMPTON NN4 0RZ on the 24 Sept from 10am – 1:30pm.  If you can’t make any of our harvest briefings, do watch this video to see what a difference your regular giving can make.

Please also take a moment to download a special Harvest briefing to help you prepare for Harvest Fast Day (7 October).  The main weekend of action for giving out the Fast Day envelopes and giving the short talk is usually the weekend before (so 1st and 2nd October) – but do check all this with Father first of course.

And don’t forget to join us online on Fast Day itself and hear from Nikki Evans, Programme Officer for Bolivia. There is a webinar at lunchtime : webinar at 1pm – 2pm:

Thanks St Teresa for hosting the event and well done to all who have promoted CAFOD’s work in their parishes. We could not do our great work without you!  Thank you so much!