St Thomas of Canterbury, Grays – recycling phones for CAFOD

Parish Volunteer, Patrick, centre with Fr Brian

Patrick Meshe became parish volunteer for St Thomas of Canterbury parish in Grays during summer 2009, and wasted no time in raising the profile of CAFOD in his parish. Patrick has relished embracing new initiatives, attended the Understanding CAFOD day in Billericay and spoke at Mass for Harvest Fast Day.

We asked Patrick about the latest initiative he has organised in the parish – phone recycling envelopes.

Patrick writes:

“My approach towards raising the awareness and support of the St Thomas of Canterbury parishioners towards CAFOD’s fund raising recycling project was as follows: –

• Back in September 2009, I contacted the CAFOD Brentwood office for “collection boxes” and envelopes. This was to ensure that the parish supported this laudable CAFOD initiative. A few days later, two large green collection boxes along with about 250 recycle envelopes were delivered.

• A notice was provided to the Parish Office for inclusion in the next two Parish newsletters. The aim was to inform and remind parishioners about the need to support CAFOD’s appeal by donating their old mobile phones and used printer cartridges.

• I met with our Parish Priest (Father Brian O’Shea) and requested him to say a few words about the values and benefits of the initiative after he had read out the notices at the end of all masses that week. Father Brian gratefully obliged and even told the Parishioners where the collection box had been located within the Church.

• Arranged with the wardens to place the recycling envelopes along with the newsletters into the hymn books given to the Parishioners as they came into the church. Also, went round at the end of mass to pick up any of the envelopes that had been left behind.

• Put up a poster on the notice board reminding parishioners that CAFOD needed their old phones & used printer cartridges.

So far, the response has been very positive, especially from amongst the younger parishioners who tend to change/upgrade their phones more frequently. The green collection box is now almost full and I will soon be arranging for its collection. The next objective is to fill the second box, so the awareness drive continues.

My sincere thanks to Father Brian O’Shea and the Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Grays parishioners for their continuous support and generosity towards CAFOD’s recycling fund raising project.”


Not only is the phone recycling initiative a good way to raise funds for CAFOD, it is also good for the environment. Phones are recycled (conserving resources) and avoid being sent to landfill (conserving the environment). Mobile phones are likely to be top of some people’s Christmas list – why not do as Patrick did – request a box and envelopes from the Brentwood office and start collecting in your parish!

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