Sophie Aulton has recently graduated from Keele University. She decided to volunteer for CAFOD over the summer before beginning her Masters in Global Development at Leeds University. This is her experience of working with CAFOD Salford.
Having recently graduated from university, I found myself sitting around for hours at a time wondering what to do with the long summer ahead of me. With little money to go on exciting adventures and many friends away on holiday, there were few options for filling up the first truly free summer that I have had in years.
When doing work in my local parish I was talking to a friend who asked me about my future career prospects. Of course this is the question that all young people dread. I had just spent three years studying Philosophy and International Relations. I am applying to go on to further study and yet I still had no clue what I plan to do with my life. He suggested to me that I should get in touch with CAFOD to see if I could help out there whilst waiting for my new course to start. I had long been interested in volunteer work and thoroughly enjoyed volunteering whist being a student, therefore decided that this long summer would be best filled with giving something back by helping out at CAFOD Salford.
It was simple to arrange a meeting with Ann Wilson from CAFOD Salford. She was very warm and welcoming and understanding of the potential difficulty to arrange fixed days to volunteer. With one commitment or another it is hard for me to decide which days I would be free to do for the following months. She was very grateful for my interest, and we came to an arrangement that each week I would decide which days I would be available to do the following week. This suited me perfectly as I was able to commit without being afraid of missing out on summer activities that may take precedence at a later date.
Working within the CAFOD office has given me immense satisfaction. My tasks have ranged from aiding with displays (a delightful task that satisfies my need to do craft!), to creating booklets and helping with administrative duties, in addition to being involved in long running projects such as the Lampedusa Cross. It has also enabled me to find out more about what CAFOD does, and how I can get involved more with activities both in the local and global community. By working within CAFOD I have gained experience working in an office environment. It has also given me the opportunity to see how charities work from the administrative and organisational perspective. In addition to this more practical element it is extremely gratifying to know that you are helping a genuinely wonderful group of people that have a great passion for helping others.
From here I plan to look up the CAFOD office in Leeds to look for casual volunteer work that I can do whilst studying. I also hope to come back at Christmas and Easter to continue volunteering at CAFOD Salford.