In support of refugees at home & overseas

On Monday 8 May Brentwood Cathedral Justice & Peace group organised a talk and discussion on how we can support refugees in our own communities and overseas. To provide an international development perspective, CAFOD’s World News Officer, Laura Ouseley, spoke about our work with refugees in Greece, Lebanon and Jordan.

Over 50 people from across the Brentwood Diocese attended to explore ways in which our parish and local communities can help make a difference to the lives of refugees.

Among the items discussed were suggestions for ways in which we can befriend refugees, offering temporary accommodation, how to support CAFOD’s refugee work and that of other charities in the UK, and the idea of sponsoring a family to live in the UK as part of the UK Government Community Sponsorship Scheme. More details on these ideas can be found here

It is hoped that the meeting is a catalyst for action. If you are interested in being part of a working group to take this initiative forward, or if you have any other ideas on how we can help refugees please contact Brenda Underwood from the Brentwood Cathedral Justice & Peace group at brendaund@gmail.com

Congratulations to our young leaders!

Congratulations to all our young leaders who have now completed our Young Leadership programme this year.  Year 12 students from across the diocese travelled to CAFOD Head Office in London for their last session, to explore our campaigns work and celebrate everything they’ve achieved.  Thank you so much to all the students from our diocese including the Brentwood Ursuline, Holy Family Sixth Form in Walthamstow and Chelmsford Sixth Form College.

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Young leaders from Brentwood, Southwark and Portsmouth dioceses together at a day of celebration at Romero House in April

During the last six months, six young people from our diocese have learnt about CAFOD’s vision, mission and values, explored different issues of social justice and received leadership training in communication skills, planning and project management.

In between the training sessions they’ve been putting their knowledge and skills into practice by organising fundraising activities, taking campaigning actions, delivering assemblies and encouraging others to learn more about CAFOD’s work.

The leaders have collectively reached out to thousands of people through their volunteering since the programme began.  Thank you all!

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Brentwood’s young leaders promoting our campaign ‘Power to Be’ outside Southwark Cathedral

Here at CAFOD Brentwood, we try to log everything the young leaders do and they’ve carried out some great activities this year including fundraising by selling hotdogs, organising the signing of messages of hope for refugees and giving assemblies at school raising awareness of the refugee crisis.

Some of the young leaders have created their own Instagram page to raise awareness of CAFOD’s work. They have helped their schools raise thousands of pounds for the refugee crisis and our Lent Fast Day appeal.

Students had also volunteered at Flame, visited the Houses of Parliament and met their MPs, written articles for magazines and messages of hope to refugees.

As well as reflecting on their volunteering experience, the leaders explored CAFOD’s advocacy work and our new ‘Power to be’ campaign on the importance of local, renewable energy.

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Brentwood young leaders with a ‘Power to Be’ sun, with messages urging the world’s powers to do more for people in developing who lack access to renewable energy. 

They also looked at ways they can stay involved after their ‘graduation’, and how they can continue to make an impact in their communities, in solidarity with the communities we work with around the world.

It was a great day of celebration of all that the young leaders have achieved and all the time, energy and effort they’ve given to support CAFOD’s work.

Thank you so much to all the young people who’ve journeyed with us this year and our special thanks to all their teachers and staff who have supported them. We really appreciate all your help.  Already looking forward to next year!

Get inspiration and tools to help you take the lead in fighting for justice around the world.

Local Wickford student travels to parliament to ask MPs important questions before the general election

 

CAFOD supporter Kiera Harman, 17, travelled from Wickford to Westminster to speak with MPs in Parliament to ensure the interests of the world’s poorest people will be kept in mind during the upcoming general election.

On Monday 24 April, sixty supporters of CAFOD travelled from across the country to meet with MPs from different political parties at Speaker’s House in Parliament. Kiera Harman met with the politicians to speak about maintaining commitments to supporting people living in poverty through UK aid and action to tackle climate change.

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Young Leaders at Parliament showing their support for CAFOD’s new campaign

Speaking at the event, Kiera said: “It’s important to be here to talk to MPs so we can get them to understand the things that matter to us. I study government and politics at A-level and I’m really interested in politics, so this is a good opportunity to get more connected. I also want to ask my MP what he is doing about climate change. CAFOD is doing a lot of work in this area but I want to know what my MP’s party is doing.”

Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP told the reception:

“For my part, I always think the greatest moral challenge of our times is to try to do something about the gross crisis and disfiguring scar of global poverty. The fact that 1,000 million people around the world exist on less than a dollar a day and very large numbers of people besides exist on only moderately more than that is, frankly, a source not only of anxiety but of real shame to us all.”

Kiera is part of CAFOD’s Young Leadership programme, which offers training to help young campaigners become leaders in their local and global communities. Also at the Parliamentary reception were CAFOD ‘MP Correspondents’, supporters who write to MPs on international development issues such as the impact of climate change and trade practices.

CAFOD is encouraging Catholics to ask election candidates to support UK commitments on tackling poverty overseas and climate change, as well as working to ensure that Britain remains an outward-looking and welcoming nation.

Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, said:

“It is so great to see local constituents raising their voices before the general election and making their local political representatives aware of issues that are important to them.

“Pope Francis himself warns that people living in poverty can often be an ‘afterthought’ in political discussions and that’s why it’s so important that we remind candidates of the need to remain an outward-looking nation – one that cares for the interests of people in the world’s poorest communities.

“This is why the commitment to maintaining UK support for overseas aid is crucial for saving lives and pulling people out of poverty.”

Kiera added she feels it’s important people get to grips with the details of what their parliamentary candidates are proposing. “I would encourage other people to make sure they read party manifestos, so they’re aware of the issues that will affect them,” she said.