Madeline looks back on her Gap year with CAFOD

We’re now in the last month of my year on CAFOD’s Step into the Gap Programme, and what a year it’s been! From school visits to vegetable quizzes, prayer breakfasts in Leeds to sitting around a fire in Moroto, Uganda, not many can claim that their last year has been so varied!

Madeline Woods with Nicole, Clementina in Uganda

Nicole, Clementina and myself. Clementina is a midwife in a health centre which is supported by CAFOD in Moroto, Uganda. She gives everything she can to her community without a second thought, including ripping up her own bedsheets to make baby blankets!

I have had so many opportunities this year that I never would have had otherwise. My trip to Uganda is the obvious big one, and the things I saw, experienced and learned on that trip will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life. I have been on BBC Radio Leeds 3 times, something which this time last year would have been unimaginable. I have stood in front of a room of 180 Year 7s and spoken about CAFOD without so much as a quiver in my voice, which again, a year ago, would have had me a nervous wreck. I’ve met so many incredible people through CAFOD and through my placement at Leeds Trinity University, and am certain that I have made friends for life. My office at my placement is right next to a beautiful Chapel, too, meaning that whenever I fancy, I can pop in and take some time to sit in the quiet. My faith has developed so much from this, from having conversations with the Chaplaincy team and experiencing retreat opportunities like Youth 2000, and I am going to be leaving this role a more well-rounded and confident person.

Madeline Woods with LTU hannah and Sisters thumbs up and recycle coffee cups

Myself, Hannah (the Chaplain at Leeds Trinity), Sister Catherine Mary and Sister Thérèse at Tea on the Landing, celebrating the launch of our recyclable cups and adding our thumbs-ups to the banner for the Climate Change Lobby on June 26th.

I would like to think that I’m not the only person who has benefitted from my year as a CAFOD Gapper, as I have spoken to many people about the work that CAFOD do and what they can do to make their world a better place – with a month left to go, the official number of people I have spoken to about CAFOD is at over 1,000!


I’ll take this opportunity to thank everyone I have met throughout the last year. Leeds Trinity University Chaplaincy, everyone at Trinity, my fellow gappers, CAFOD Leeds, broader CAFOD staff and volunteers… the list goes on!


On to the next adventure…

Click the link if you would like to know more about CAFOD’s gap year programme Step into the Gap or call (0113) 275 9302 to speak to Bronagh.

New Year Resolutions – Volunteer for CAFOD

It’s not too late to make your new year resolutions and if you are looking for ways to put your faith into action then look no further.

CAFOD Leeds are offering a range of volunteering opportunities that are flexible around your schedule which will help us to support our brothers and sisters living in poverty around the world.

As a volunteer you can expect any necessary training and you will receive support from Ben and Joanne in the diocesan office.

Parish Volunteers
We are currently looking for volunteers to support our Lent 2015 appeal in their parish. If you are able to spare a few hours between now and Easter we’d love to hear from you.

To find out more or to book a place on our next “Understanding CAFOD” day please call CAFOD Leeds on 0113 275 9302 or email


Make a difference with World Gifts this Christmas

Meet Hector…

Eleven-year-old Hector lives in Peru, and goes to an after-school club. Hector’s mum works long hours and isn’t there when Hector gets home from school. So Hector loves going to the club, where volunteers help him with his reading and homework, and provide a safe space for him to study and play. Through World Gifts you can help many other children, like Hector, to learn to read.

 A special gift: Teach someone to read

Meet Hector

Meet Hector from Peru

For children in developing countries, being able to read not only opens their minds to new stories and adventures, but it gives them a better education and a better chance of getting a job when they leave school. And it’s never too late to learn. Teaching an adult to read can help them to support their family and even to set up their own business. It is a fantastic skill that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Our new World Gifts range is available now, and we want to help 5,000 people learn to read this Christmas. Will you help us reach this ambitious target?

We can’t reach our target without you, so get together as a class or group and see how many people you can teach to read. Fundraising together is a fun and creative way of learning about developing countries and the importance of putting our faith into action. And Christmas is the perfect time to share the joy of reading with our sisters and brothers all over the world.

Here are some great ways to fundraise within your parish or school to raise money to Teach someone to read; 

  • Hold a second-hand book sale
  • Dress up as a character from your favourite story
  • Run a sponsored spelling bee!
  • Hold a short story competition


If you are holding fundraising event for World Gifts then please contact the CAFOD Leeds office to assist in publicising the event by emailing