Cardinal Newman cake sale buys cow for overseas community

Students from Cardinal Newman college in Preston have raised over £100 to spend on CAFOD World Gifts by holding a cake sale during Interfaith Week.

The group were inspired to raise money after they learned about the impact livelihoods can have on  overseas communities. They set their initial target at £100, enough to buy a ‘Marvellous moo cow’ gift from CAFOD’s World Gifts catalogue.

World Gifts are alternative charity gifts that would help transform lives and communities and will make great presents for friends, family and teachers this Christmas time.

The gift of a cow is four gifts in one for a struggling family: manure to help grow crops, milk to supplement a family’s diet, calves to pass on to other families and extra milk to be sold at the market.  The £100 raised by the cake sale at Cardinal Newman has paid for a locally-sourced cow, its jabs and training for the family so that they can look after it correctly.

Susie Stretch, who helps to run the group, said: “The CAFOD group are doing really well so far this year.  The students are motivated, focused and enthusiastic. 

“We meet every other week share to  information and news, look at CAFOD campaigns and plan events.  CAFOD volunteer Christine Dewhurst comes into college to support the group and keeps us up to date with current campaigns.

“The group started to plan their first fundraiser after we were asked if we would like to take part in the college’s celebration of interfaith week. During the week guests are invited to give talks and demonstrations, answer questions and take part in panel discussions based on religious and ethical themes. 

“The students were really positive about the idea and were especially keen on raising enough money to buy a cow.  We were able to raise £100 on the day which was particularly nice as it meant that we reached our goal of being able to buy a cow. Our next challenge is a Christmas Jumper day!”

Patrick Gardner, CAFOD’s local representative in Preston, said: “We’re so impressed by the students in the CAFOD group at Cardinal Newman. The money they have raised in their first fundraiser really will transform a family’s life.

“Their motivation and passion is inspiring! Thank you!”

Find out more about World Gifts

Fairtrade tuck shop of treats raises over £400 for CAFOD

Pupils from Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Warton, have raised over £400 for the aid agency CAFOD through a tuck shop of Fairtrade treats.

The school invited CAFOD volunteer, Hayley Benyon, into their assembly to collect the cheque.

With plenty of tasty treats to enjoy, the children have been buying from the Fairtrade tuck shop every Thursday morning for the last 18 months, whilst learning about CAFOD’s work and the benefits of buying Fairtrade on farmers across the world.

One pupil at the school told Hayley of how their stall was a ‘win-win situation’: “We get to eat, and CAFOD get money for food for children overseas.”

CAFOD volunteer, Hayley Benyon, said: “Holy Family are a small school, but they have a big heart!  What a pleasure to be invited to their assembly to receive their donation.

“The Holliday family in our Holy Family parish are part of my CAFOD parish team, and their children attend this school which links the parish and school beautifully – that’s three generations of CAFOD supporters!”

Holy Family’s Headteacher, Mr Manfredi, said: “As one of our pupils said during assembly, it’s a ‘win win’ situation. The only thing to add to that is that there is now another ‘win’ because the parents and children have raised £400 profit during the year from the tuck shop!

“I am obviously proud of the children who give up their break time to run the tuck shop every week with the help of one of our members of staff and feel that it is another example of how we try to live out our mission of doing our best to ‘Love and Care for Others.'”

CAFOD’s representative in Lancaster, Patrick Gardner, added: “What a creative way to raise money for CAFOD! Thank you so much to the children and staff at Holy Family, Warton, for everything they have done to help raise money to help children overseas.”

Find out more about CAFOD and Fairtrade 


James finishes his CAFOD Gap year placement

James Ronan, 24, has written a reflective piece about finishing Step into the Gap, sharing stories of Cambodia, his highlights and what his hopes are for a future career.

So the time has come to say goodbye to Blackpool and St Mary’s Catholic Academy. It has been incredible year, moving all the way up from Devon to live in Blackpool to volunteer for CAFOD. It has probably been the biggest step in my life so far. Literally Stepping into the Gap in Blackpool: moving to a new area, not knowing anybody and starting a new life for a year. It has all worked out and I have had so many amazing experiences, made new friends and have met so many inspiring people, most notably in Cambodia with my fellow CAFOD gappers.

It has been great to play my small part in being able to share CAFOD’s work this year working in the Diocese of Lancaster and living within the parish at St John Vianney Presbytery. Working at St Mary’s as part of the chaplaincy team has been an absolute joy and I will have very fond memories of the team and the work we have achieved this year. My highlights include co-organising the 6th form Climate debate for CAFOD’s Speak Up campaign with guest MPs Paul Maynard and Gordon Marsden in October 2016. Leading sessions with Year 7s during form time about the Refugee crisis and the Lampedusa cross, and presenting assemblies to all college forms with the chaplaincy team on Justice January and CAFOD’s renewable energy campaign Power to Be.

The Cambodia visit in January was so inspiring and affirming for me of CAFOD’s work overseas. Previously in Devon I had fundraised a lot for CAFOD (over £7,000) never really knowing the impact such fundraising was having. Seeing first-hand the difference my parish fundraising had made over the years as well as all the collective impact of the Catholic communities’ support in England and Wales on the other side of the world in Cambodia was elevating.

Photo 1 CAFOD Gappers with Singha

CAFOD Gappers alongside their interpreter for their first week, Singha, former director of CAFOD Partner Village Support Group.

It’s an experience I will never forget. I have very fond memories of the Cambodian people we visited during our time in Battambang and Siem Reap who were so welcoming and CAFOD’s partners Village Support Group and Srer Khmer who we spent time with. On my return to the UK, the last few months of my placement have been about sharing CAFOD campaigns, fundraising and sharing the inspirational stories of the people I met and spent time with in Cambodia. In May I visited the CAFOD Plymouth Schools Volunteers to share about my Cambodia experiences and I also shared with parishioners after Mass at my old parish church in Tavistock.

As well as sharing my CAFOD Step into the Gap experiences this year with students, parishioners and CAFOD volunteers, I have also been able to share my gap year work with British and American Actors. In May I managed to share about my CAFOD gap year work with actress Hannah Spearritt (S Club 7) and actor Andrew-Lee Potts (from ITVs Primeval) at a comic convention in Huddersfield. In June I also shared with British actor Paul Blackthorne (TV show Arrow) and American actress Danielle Panabaker (TV show The Flash) at a convention in Blackpool. It has been a fantastic year of sharing CAFOD’s work with others, the important stories of the Cambodian people I met and my work as a CAFOD Gapper working at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool.

More recently from the 7th to the 9th of July in Oxford the CAFOD gappers had a final weekend get together, for our final evaluation and celebration. The weekend was fantastic. Myself and the other gappers went out for a meal on the Friday evening which was an opportunity to catch up about our CAFOD work and the things we had been doing. On the Saturday we were joined by CAFOD staff Catherine Jones and Lucy Jardine who run the Step into the Gap programme as well as Sister Ann who is a part of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus who are one of the partners of the Step into the Gap programme.


Photo 2 Footprints of CAFOD Sharing

Prayers and representations of our CAFOD sharing across this year.


We began the Saturday morning with prayer and reflection, writing on cut-out hands the people who have made a difference to our lives this year. We also used cut-out footprints to represent the people we had shared CAFOD’s work with this year, thinking about the impact of our CAFOD sharing. On the Saturday evening we all went out for a final meal with Catherine, Lucy and Sister Ann to celebrate our accomplishments this year completing the Step into the GAP programme.

There are so many people I would like to ‘Thank’ this year so I will only mention a few. I would like to ‘Thank’ everyone at St Mary’s and the parish of St John Vianney as well as everyone involved with the Step into the Gap programme, especially Bishop Michael Campbell and CAFOD staff Catherine Jones, Lucy Jardine and Patrick Gardner. I would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to Fr Peter Sharrock and Sister Ann for their support this year in Blackpool and I would also like to ‘Thank’ this year’s CAFOD Gappers: Rod, Charlotte, Sophie, Bridgid, Lizzie, Sophie and Hannah for making this year so memorable and amazing.

Photo 3 Gappers Together

CAFOD Gappers for 2016-2017 in Oxford

In terms of my future I am moving down to Somerset for the time being. I have gained so many skills and have had so many new experiences this year that I hope to be able to use these to eventually develop a career in a Catholic Diocese somewhere or to work for a charity in the development sector. I hope to be able to continue to put my Catholic faith into action building on everything I have achieved so far and I am excited about what the future holds for me.

Find out more about Step into the Gap.