Busy busy busy…..

Neal, on the Step into the Gap programme in Blackpool, outlines where this term has taken him….

This school term has been very busy for me.

I travelled up to Blackpool for three days at the beginning of term for a small send off and to finish a lesson plan on poverty I started before Christmas. After a packed 3 days I journeyed back to London to prepare for my trip to Sierra Leone.

Back at St Mary's in Blackpool

Back at St Mary’s in Blackpool

I packed and unpacked and packed again to make sure I had absolutely everything I needed. The pharmacy of medication and footballs took up a lot of space in my bag but I still over packed shoes and clothes (even a raincoat) which I would never wear. The trip was amazing and a month in Sierra Leone was nowhere near enough time, but we had to get back to share our stories.



After 2 weeks rest and post-trip blues it was back up to Blackpool again to start sharing my experience with as many people as possible and I was thrown straight in at the deep end. Our first day back was an INSET day for all the Catholic teachers in Blackpool and I had to give a presentation to a group of staff about how CAFOD works with partners overseas but also what I learnt from my trip.

Neal shared his story with young people from at St John Vianney's Parish in Blackpool

Neal shared his story with young people from at St John Vianney’s Parish in Blackpool

This talk prepared me and gave me the confidence to talk in front of lots of people, something I managed to get out of before Christmas. I was invited into loads of classes in 3 local primary schools and St. Mary’s to give presentations and share my journey. The most scary task of all was to give 3 assemblies starting with sixth form.  I was very nervous to speak in front of over 220 students in each assembly but learnt from each one.

Bishop Michael Campbell OSA

Bishop Michael Campbell OSA

This half term has been manic. I have since spoken at 3 parishes multiple times through Lent about CAFOD’s work in Sierra Leone and even travelled up to Lancaster to see Bishop Michael Campbell which was exciting. I told stories of Sierra Leone and he shared memories of spending 4 years in Nigeria which was nice.


This last term has been extremely long and packed with talks and presentations. I even managed to publish an article about my trip in the Blackpool Gazette. I have been lucky enough to experience the great work of CAFOD overseas and be able to travel to Sierra Leone but I am looking forward to my Easter break.

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