Step into the Gap

Aged 18 – 30? Passionate about global justice? Want to put your faith into action?

Step into the Gap is a unique opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners overseas.

As a Step into the Gap participant you will live and work in one of our UK placements for a year, learning more about yourself, your faith and the world we live in and you’ll inspire others to make a difference.

The application process for 2017-2018 will open in the autumn. Watch this space!

Meet the 2016-17 team


Charlotte Bray

Charlotte is from Herefordshire, and is based at Newman university. She studied Theology at university, has lots of experience working with young people and young adults in a faith-based context, and is excited to be raising awareness of global justice issues with students at Newman. She also has a twin sister on Step into the Gap!


Sophie is a CAFOD gap year volunteer working at The Briars residential centre in Nottingham.
Sophie Bray

Sophie is from Herefordshire and is Charlotte’s twin sister! She has a degree in English Literature and Drama and has lots of experience working with young people. She is looking forward to creating an exciting programme of activities at The Briars in Nottinghamshire, using her faith to develop a better world for the poor and marginalised.


Bridgid is a Step into the Gap volunteer working at YMT in Hexham and Newcastle.
Bridgid Duffy

Bridgid is from Newcastle, has a degree in Psychology and has already spent a year at YMT retreat and outreach centre in County Durham, where she is based this year. She has lots of youth ministry experience, and is looking forward putting her faith into action to address social issues. She loves football, and was captain of her university football team!


Lizzie is a Step into the Gap volunteer working at Just Youth in Salford.
Lizzie Haydon

Lizzie is from Blackpool, and is based at the Just Youth outreach centre in Salford. She studied Geography and International Development at university, and her main passion in development is education for girls. She enjoys making newcomers welcome at her church in Chester and is looking forward to being taken out of her comfort zone this year!


Hannah is a CAFOD gap year volunteer working at St Mary's Academy in Blackpool.

Hannah Henley

Hannah is from Tyne and Wear, and recently finished her A levels. She is based at St Mary’s Academy in Blackpool. She’s always had links with CAFOD and is looking forward to spending the year volunteering before she goes to university. She is a member of her Diocesan Youth Council, enjoys teaching dance workshops and singing in a worship band. 


Rod is a Step into the Gap volunteer working at The Briars residential centre in Nottingham.
Rod Howlett

Rod is from Nottinghamshire, has a degree in Theology, and is spending this year at The Briars with Sophie Bray. He enjoys coaching young people and adults in crickets and fencing, and is looking forward to interacting with other people, learning from their insights as affected by their life experience, and to promoting social justice.


Sophie is a Step into the Gap volunteer working at Just Youth in Salford.
Sophie Hull

Sophie is from Blackpool is spending her year volunteering at Just Youth with Lizzie. She has just finished her A levels at St Mary’s, where she’s been inspired by previous Step into the Gap volunteers. She has led workshops with young people on acting and singing, and is keen to inspire others to grow in their faith and raise awareness of social justice.


James is a Step into the Gap volunteer working at St Mary's Academy in Blackpool.
James Ronan

James is from Devon, has just finished his degree in Geography and is volunteering at St Mary’s, Blackpool, along with Hannah. Being engaged in social action is central to his faith, and he is excited to be getting involved in youth ministry, building on his past experience and learning from those he will be working with.



Volunteer stories

Watch Jason's film about water projects in Zimbabwe:


Step into the Gap FAQs

Will I get paid and will I have to pay for anything?

You won’t be paid a salary. You will receive regular money for your basic living expenses.The amount depends upon the placement you choose. Training, accommodation, travel (related to work), vaccinations and visas will be paid for. Food, accommodation, equipment and insurance for your overseas travel will also be provided. You may wish to purchase your own contents insurance for your UK accommodation. Fundraising for CAFOD will be part of the work in your UK placement team.

How are volunteers selected?

The first stage is the application form. For those who are shortlisted, there is a recruitment day which will include an individual interview, a group exercise and the opportunity to meet members of staff at your chosen placement.

Do I have to be Catholic?

You will be working in a Catholic environment and must be comfortable engaging with people around faith issues. You don’t necessarily have to be Catholic but you should be able to demonstrate your understanding of the Catholic Church or be open to learning more about it.

How long is the programme and when does it start?

The programme lasts for an academic year (usually September to July). You will normally work to the academic timetable with holidays at half term, Christmas and Easter.

Can I volunteer for just part of the year?

No, the programme is designed as a year long process.

Will I be able to get a job with CAFOD or my placement team when I finish?

There is no guarantee of employment at the end of the year, but you will certainly have gained a lot of relevant skills and experience.

What will I be doing in the UK and where will I stay?

This depends on the placement that you choose. Please read the placement information carefully and look at the placement websites to help you decide which placement would suit you best.

What support will I get during the year?

On a day to day basis you will be supported by the staff and team at your placement. You will also meet regularly with a local member of staff from CAFOD and be offered support from specialist CAFOD staff in Head Office.

What if I start but find that I don’t enjoy it?

We will work together to try to sort out any problems. If you find that it’s just not right for you then we’ll support you as you decide what to do next. If you leave straight after the overseas trip you may be asked to repay some of the costs.

If I love it, can I do it for a second year?

No, Step into the Gap is for one year only, so that as many people as possible can have the opportunity to experience it.

International visit - what’s it all about?

Visiting our partners and their communities in another country is an opportunity to experience some of the opportunities and challenges that they live with. You will get to share your stories and listen to theirs, work alongside our partners, eat with local communities and worship in a unique way. When you come home you will then use your experiences to inspire others to act for positive change and make a difference in the world. We’re pretty sure you’ll make some great friends along the way too.

What country will I visit and do I get to choose where I go?

No. The country that you visit will depend on many different things such as what type of work our partners are currently doing and which countries are safe to visit.

Will I get training and will I have to pay any training costs?

We will make sure you’re well prepared for your trip, helping you with everything from mosquito nets to media training, water to work plans and everything in between. All of your training will be provided by and paid for by CAFOD.

What will I be doing overseas?

This very much depends upon the country you visit, the partners you’re working with and your skills and interests. You could find yourself singing nursery rhymes with toddlers, sharing ideas about young leadership, visiting water projects or healthcare clinics.

Will it be safe?

At CAFOD we take our responsibility for your health and safety very seriously. We provide you with training before you go and support while you’re overseas. A member of CAFOD staff will travel overseas with your group and will take overall responsibility for safety and security whilst you’re away.

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