Step Into the Gap

Are you aged 18 – 30 and thinking about taking a gap year? Passionate about global justice? Want to put your faith into action volunteering for a charity?

stig-poster-picStep into the Gap, CAFOD’s gap year programme, is an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit an international CAFOD partner

The deadline for applications to CAFOD’s gap year programme is fast approaching. For anyone aged 18 – 30: an opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners overseas.

The deadline is 13th March. For all information and how to apply visit

For more information, please contact Catherine Jones or Lucy Jardine on 0207 095 5308

CAFOD volunteers give 4 key tips for successful volunteering

To celebrate National Volunteer’s Week, we asked volunteers from across the North East for their key tips and tricks that they could give to others. Here they chat to media coordinator Katie Binns about what they have learnt and what mistakes not to make:  

  1. “Use familiar objects to help children understand your message or appeal” 
Jo woodhead

Jo giver her tip to help Schools volunteers

Jo Woodhead,  schools volunteer for the Leeds diocese, explains why using familiar objects works so well with children: “When I was giving a schools workshop on a famine campaign last year, I split the children into groups to represent continents and gave them each different amounts of bread rolls. I shared it out unequally to get the message across that many communities in Africa have very little to eat compared to us here in the UK. They understood almost instantly and started a discussion on what we could do to help. Remember though to explain what the bread is for before handing it out otherwise the students will have eaten it all before you have begun your workshop!”

2. “Always write down and reflect on what you did that worked well”

Danielle Storey 2

Danielle suggests how to talk to the CAFOD community

Danielle Story, Step into the Gap volunteer from the Hexham and Newcastle diocese, shares her tip on talking to members of the CAFOD community: “Always do a fun but short icebreaker with any group you meet, you can use it to introduce the theme you are there to talk about. Also write down everything you’ve done after the talk or event so you can go back to it if you ever need to do something similar in another parish or to get more ideas and inspiration – I always forget what I’ve done otherwise and wouldn’t be able to improve as a volunteer!”

3. “Keep yourself up to date with CAFOD’s latest campaigns and appeals”

Liam Finn

Liam explains why doing your research is key

Liam Finn, UK News Officer and previous office volunteer for the Middlesbrough diocese, explains why researching before any event is key: “I’ve worked with CAFOD supporters across the country who have run races, walked on marches, or prayed on pilgrimages to support our appeals and campaigns – finding out their stories and telling them to a wider audience in newspapers, on radio and television, and in blogs and tweets. I would definitely say find out as much as you can about the different things that are going on in CAFOD – what we’re campaigning on or fundraising for. That way you know what to look for or talk about at every event.”

4. “Try to look at the story from a different angle”

Jo Hendrick

Joanne working in the Nottingham volunteer centre

Communications volunteer Joanne Hendrick, from the Nottingham diocese, explains how to write an engaging CAFOD piece: “I guess something I’ve always used from working in Communications, is not to just document an event for article verbatim, but make notes on the atmosphere too-it’s always helped me to make a piece of writing come alive!”

Find out how you can become a CAFOD volunteer

Volunteering for CAFOD: one charity, many opportunities

There are so many ways to get involved with CAFOD – from volunteering on your Gap Year, to speaking at Mass; from working in our offices, to starting your own parish group. Whatever your interests, whatever your talents, whatever your time: volunteer with CAFOD and you’ll truly be joining the dream team!

10 year-old Florence, from Sheffield, is CAFOD’s youngest parish volunteer. She describes how working as a parish volunteer has given her a new lease of life:


Florence with her CAFOD parish group

“I thought being a parish volunteer was an awesome idea. I really wanted to help people who didn’t have what I have. The older people in the CAFOD parish group were so pleased that I wanted to join as not many children take interest in this sort of thing. They let me speak at my parish twice about the CAFOD Lenten appeal this month as I thought the parish would listen to someone younger like me. It is totally different to what most of my friends do at the weekend and is a great chance for me to help those in poverty.”

Read more about becoming a parish volunteer

Danielle Story from Culleroats, 21, is a volunteer on CAFOD’s gap year programme, Step into The Gap, with the Youth Ministry Trust in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle:

Danielle Story

Danielle speaking about her Gap Year

“It wasn’t until my final year studying at Newcastle University that I thought about doing a gap year.  I wanted my gap year to be rooted in faith, so CAFOD along with other Christian charities came to mind and I began searching. It was then I found out that CAFOD offer a gap year programme, and when I realised one of the placements they offer is at the Youth Ministry Trust I knew I was meant to do it. ”

Be a part of Step into the Gap on your gap year

Liam Finn worked as a Communications volunteer for CAFOD in Middlesbrough and is now CAFOD’s UK News Officer. He talks about how the opportunities gained as a volunteer led him to a start working with CAFOD full-time:


Liam interviewing CAFOD runner Emma at the London Marathon

“I’d been a CAFOD supporter since I was in primary school, so it was great to be directly involved in our work. I decided a few years ago that I wanted to work in the media as I believe that providing information and telling stories is the best way I can help to bring about change in the world. This is why I’ll gladly admit that a big motivation for volunteering was so that I could gain that experience.”

Read more about Liam’s story here

Jo Woodhead first became a school volunteer with CAFOD after retiring from a teaching position in Leeds four years ago:


Jo volunteering in Hebden Bridge

“I noticed that CAFOD were advertising for volunteers at the back of my church bulletin. As I had recently retired from teaching and had some spare time, I thought “Hmm, I could do that.” And I was right! From teaching, I learnt that with school children, you always need to expect the unexpected. That excitement is what motivated me to volunteer and what keeps me going every year.”

Ready to join the volunteer team?  Sign up today!