Step into the Gap volunteer Isabel Marsh reflects on her visit to El Salvador.

Isabel Marsh Step into the Gap volunteer

Isabel Marsh Step into the Gap volunteer

Isabel Marsh is our diocesan Step into the Gap volunteer. She is working at St Cassian’s retreat center in Kintbury and in February she visited CAFOD’s  Partners in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Here is her reflection on her visit..

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Primary Pupils in the Isle of Wight have the “Power” to Speak Up.

The winners of the Speaking competition.

The winners of the Speaking competition.

Many thanks to Rosemary Peacock and Liz Burden our CAFOD school volunteers for organising  the fifth CAFOD  Public Speaking Competition for Year Six pupils in the Isle of Wight.  Also thanks to the pupils, staff and parents of St Blasius C of E Primary Academy, Shanklin; Holy Cross R.C.Primary School, East Cowes; St Saviour’s R.C. Primary School, Totland;  St Thomas of Canterbury’s R.C. Primary School, Carisbrooke for supporting the event.

Rosemary told me about the competition- “The theme for the talks this year was, “Power to Be”, looking at provision of solar power for those who have no electricity.  This helps improve education, health (fridges for storing vaccines, etc; enabling clinics to work after dark if required) and general living conditions for many.  The local CAFOD education volunteers provide an identical preparatory session for Yr 6’s taking part in the competition, then the pupils are left to research the topic and write short talks about it.  Each school then selects 2 speakers and a reserve to represent their school at the final of the competition which was held on the 27th February at Christ the King College.

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Our judges this year were Mrs Pat Goodhead, Principal of Christ the King College, Carisbrooke; Fr Emmanuel Oedemone, R.C. Parish Priest of Carisbrooke; Mr Andrew Munn, a representative of the Island’s Catenian Society which has kindly provided the trophy for the winning school which was St Blasius C of E Primary Academy.  They found the standard of the talks and their presentations to be extremely good.”

So well done to everyone who took part and a HUGE THANK YOU to the organisers.



Abingdon parishioners are “living simply so that others can simply live”

Geoff O' Donoghue presenting the livesimply award

Geoff O’ Donoghue presenting the livesimply award

On Sunday 21st January Geoff O’ Donoghue Director of Operations for CAFOD presented the parish of Our Lady and St Edmund of Abingdon with the livesimply award. In December 2016 we featured the parish on our blog as they set off on their livesimply journey and last month we wrote about how much they had achieved over that year. The livesimply steering group of Anne, Angela, Steve and Jadiza organised a different activity each month ;- recycling, waste reduction, sale of garden produce and fund-raising for various charities ending with raising £1268 for CAFOD World Gifts including water for a family.

Fr Jamie receiving the award


At the presentation at the end of the 10:15 mass Geoff spoke about the variety of different activities the parish had been involved in and how each small act such as going into your local supermarket and choosing to buy a fairtrade product or recycling your waste can change the world. These actions may seem insignificant but multiply them by the  675 parishioners in Abingdon  who continue to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor and that is an amazing amount. Just imagine if all the parishes in the Portsmouth diocese had achieved the livesimply  award that would be over 35,000 people taking small actions to change the world.

So please consider signing up your parish to take part in the livesimply award and let’s change the world together. 

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