Meet a Schools volunteer: Helen Savelli

Helen has kept our presence in the primary schools around Norwich almost single-handedly, while working part time and looking after her family. She is one of those rare people who are close enough to God that the light of Christ shines through. Yet with humour and humility she apologises that she can’t do more for CAFOD.


Helen with her family

She led summer camp workshops for a wide age-range of young people at the cathedral, introducing them to Laudato Si’, and has taken year-6 students on the refugee pilgrimage – responding at short notice when the Lampedusa Cross arrived – an activity she describes as: “very powerful – the whole afternoon served as a great reminder to me why I do all this!”.

Helen eloquently described why she volunteers for CAFOD – something she’s now been doing for eight years!

“For me CAFOD brings back so many memories, its very nostalgic; Lent Fast Days and the Harvest period was always a huge part of growing up, and for my family. I have always been passionate about global justice and wanted to do a small part to assist the alleviation and suffering of poverty. Continue reading

Meet a Campaign Volunteer: Bernard Shaw

Bernard would be totally surprised to hear that he has been profiled in recognition of his work as a Campaign Volunteer.

Bernard Shaw

Looking back over the last 25 years of being a CAFOD volunteer, in both his parish and across the diocese, we see he has been spreading the word, encouraging people, and persuading them to support CAFOD’s campaigns.

When he doesn’t think it is possible, he persuades his parish priest and parishioners to sign petitions and postcards to their MP, and as a parish volunteer he keeps things going when it is most difficult.

He has brought people together across Cambridge for prayer vigils and pilgrimages, turning up to support them even when he cannot walk. His tireless and quietly generous approach enables others to join in and he uses his justice and peace links across the diocese to involve other people too.

His interests range much broader than one organisation, but it is always CAFOD’s activities that are top of any agenda that he puts together, always promoting the next opportunity for people to raise their voices alongside those of our partners and their communities throughout the world.

Thank you so much for all that you’ve done for CAFOD, Bernard; it is greatly appreciated.

Meet a Parish Volunteer: Ann Bates

Ann became CAFOD’s Parish Volunteer for St John Payne’s parish in Colchester after Lent Fast Day and has been a wonderful member of CAFOD East Anglia ever since.

After she had decided to become a Parish Volunteer, I visited Ann, a former teacher, introducing several members of the congregation who she had encouraged to come to Mass with us. Hearing our preference for having two parish volunteers, she persuaded Sr. Gabriel to join her, and invited Father Jon to share lunch with us. The parish immediately donated £400 to the Ethiopian Food Crisis Appeal.

It seems that CAFOD has been in the parish newsletter ever since.Ann Bates

Ann visited many groups in the parish, speaking to them about the work that CAFOD does.  She has encouraged many willing people to host breakfasts, prayers for creation, Laudato Si’ liturgies and deanery harvest briefings, also helping to recruit volunteer in a parish down the road. On top of fundraising around the parish, they have doubled their donations from last harvest.  Most recently, St. John Payne raised £140 for the Lenten appeal with a soup lunch organised by Ann.

Looking back, the amount of work that Ann has done seems intimidating, but this comes of doing a little bit at a time with an infectious enthusiasm. She says “it is wonderful to raise money for this cause”.