In April, two students from St Joseph’s College in Reading made their way down to London for our special Parliamentary Reception. Here they share their thoughts and experiences from the whole day – which started off at CAFOD HQ!
“On Wednesday 27th April we made our way to London for an afternoon of training at Amigo Hall, close to CAFOD HQ followed by the CAFOD Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons. The afternoon began with a shared lunch, giving us the opportunity to network with CAFOD campaigners and young leaders like ourselves.
“First of all we listened to a speech from a CAFOD campaigner which focussed on CAFOD’s work involving climate change and the importance in using renewable energy. This led to table debates about this growing worldwide issue where we had the chance to talk to people who have been campaigning for CAFOD for many years and had a great depth of knowledge and experience.
“Next up we learnt the do’s and don’ts in lobbying your MP and how you can use your voice to make a difference. We then listened to a talk about ending energy poverty which is severely affecting developing countries.
“One of the most relatable parts of the training was hearing how communications such as websites, social media sites and blogs can boost the awareness of campaigning work. This was delivered by CAFOD’s UK news officer and he gave us great advice on how to use technology effectively.
“After a final speech from a current MP and another table discussion, we then walked as a group to Parliament for the CAFOD Parliamentary Reception which we were very much looking forward too.
“The evening began after walking down a very intriguing underground tunnel that lead us underneath Big Ben and into the House of Commons, an extremely grand room.
“We really enjoyed chatting with MPs such as Catherine McKinnell MP who gave us positive feed back towards our CAFOD campaigning. The speeches included ones lead by John Bercow MP (Speaker of the House of Commons) Lord Deben and Nick Hurd MP, a minister at the Department for International Development.
“One speech which stood out for me was delivered by an ex CAFOD young leader (Molly-Kate McCaffrey) who spoke of her young leadership story, one which started very similar to how mine did.
“In general, I learnt the importance in never neglecting your own personal ability to make a difference. As one speaker said, “we can all make a difference in our everyday lives.” As well as this, Nick Hurd stressed the importance in saying thank you as ‘we don’t say thank you enough’. Each of the speakers delivered their speeches very well and all had very inspiring messages to put across.
“Our trip to London was a very valuable one and we were able to take a lot out of the day. We met a large number of different people, each with different stories and experiences that we felt inspired by.”