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A Year of Encounter: Call for action with your parish at the general election

With a UK general election due in 2024, politicians will be looking for our votes.

We have a responsibility as Catholics to make sure political parties commit to taking action to tackle poverty and injustice. Raising our voices and contacting parliamentary candidates as a parish community will send a strong signal to those standing for election in our local constituencies.

As Christians, we have a long tradition of being actively involved in the big issues of our time. From Catherine of Siena to Oscar Romero, the lives of many saints show us that the greater their devotion to the Lord, the deeper their commitment to addressing the social problems of their time.

That's why we must make 2024 a 'Year of Encounter' where we use the general election as a special opportunity to speak with those running for election about the key issues that matter to us as people of faith.

Using our Catholic voice: Tell us what your parish is doing

Let us know how you and your parish are engaging with election candidates in your area by completing either of these two short forms.

Call for action with your parish at the general election

We at CAFOD are working with our friends at the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) to equip parishes with training and resources to contact candidates on the issues we care most about.

The greater the number of parishes contacting local candidates, the stronger the Catholic voice will be in your area.

We can do this in three ways in particular:

1. Contact election candidates with your parish

Speak to people in your parish about why it's important to raise our voices when an election is called and organise a group of people who'd be willing to contact candidates standing in your constituency as a parish group.

Discuss in your group what are the main issues you would like to raise with your candidates. These might include the issues that affect people living in poverty in the UK and overseas, such as the climate crisis and our broken food system.

In the run-up to the general election, we'll be sharing a simple tool where you can send an email as a group of parishioners to all the candidates who are standing for election in your parliamentary constituency.

2. Take part in hustings in your local area

Going along to events held locally where candidates are asked questions - known as 'hustings' - is a great way of drawing attention to the issues that matter most to your parish.

These events are often held in local churches or community centres, and details are advertised online.

Find out where hustings might be taking place in your constituency. Encourage people from your parish to take part and ask questions about the issues that we as Catholics want to see candidates commit to tackle after the general election.

3. Be ready to speak to candidates on your doorstep

During a general election campaign, candidates and campaigners might knock on your door to ask for your vote - known as 'canvassing'.

This is another great opportunity to draw attention to the issues that matter most to you and your parish. Discuss in your group what issues you could raise with candidates if you get the chance to speak to them on the doorstep. The more people in the area calling for action on the same issues, the stronger the message sent to candidates!

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Resources to help you reach out to candidates

You can order a selection of resources from the CAFOD Shop to help your parish reach out to candidates and draw attention to some of the issues that matter to us as Catholics.

Resources include:

  • booklet to prepare for the general election

  • poster to invite parishioners to attend a hustings together

  • leader’s notes

  • supporter briefings.